Pirates get minor leaguer Eliecer Cardenas from Braves to complete Matt Diaz trade

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Three weeks ago the Braves re-acquired outfielder Matt Diaz from the Pirates for a player to be named later and today Pittsburgh chose minor-league reliever Eliecer Cardenas to complete the deal.

Cardenas was in the Twins’ farm system until this year, when the Braves picked him in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 draft.

He had an amazing season, throwing 57 innings with a 0.75 ERA and 75 strikeouts, but he was also a 23-year-old facing Single-A hitters and has a modest track record. And he got rocked after moving up to Double-A late in the season.

He’s certainly a fair return for Diaz, whom the Pirates were happy to remove from the payroll after signing him to a two-year, $4.25 million deal this offseason. Diaz didn’t hit in Pittsburgh and has gotten a total of just 28 plate appearances in 21 days with Atlanta.

Video: Braden Halladay pays homage to Roy Halladay in spring game

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While newly-acquired talent Danny Espinosa was off collecting hits for the Blue Jays against the Orioles, Marcus Stroman led a youth-filled roster against the Canadian Junior National Team in a split-squad game on Saturday. In the eighth inning, 17-year-old Canadian pitcher Braden Halladay took the mound to honor his late father’s memory against his former team.

Halladay accomplished just that, wielding a fastball that topped out in the low-80s and setting down a perfect 1-2-3 inning against the top of the lineup. No one batter saw more than a single pitch from the right-hander: Mc Gregory Contreras and Mattingly Romanin flew out to the outfield corners and Bo Bichette laid down a ground ball for an easy third out.

MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm has a fantastic profile of the high school junior, including his approach to the game and his attempt to do Roy Halladay proud while carving out his own path to the majors. “From a pitching standpoint, it was everything I could have asked for and more,” Halladay told reporters. “Especially now, every time I make mistakes, I still hear him drilling me about them in my head, just because he’s done it so many times before. From a mind-set standpoint, I don’t think with any bias that I could have had a better teacher.”