Juan Nicasio officially slotted into Pirates’ starting rotation

AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In case you didn’t check out our 2016 preview of the Pirates, Juan Nicasio has officially been added to the Pirates’ starting rotation, MLB.com’s Adam Berry reports. Nicasio’s competition, Ryan Vogelsong, will contribute out of the bullpen as a result.

Nicasio inked a one-year, $3 million deal with the Pirates in December, making him the latest project for pitching coach Ray Searage. Nicasio found success last season as a reliever with the Dodgers, finishing with a 3.86 ERA, but had previously struggled as a starter with the Rockies. While pitching at Coors Field certainly didn’t help, he had poor results away from the hitter-friendly confines as well.

Nicasio put together an outstanding spring training performance, as he did not yield a single run — earned or otherwise — on 10 hits and five walks with 24 strikeouts in 15 innings. Considering what Searage has done with his other reclamation projects like J.A. Happ and Francisco Liriano, Nicasio breaking out with a solid 2016 campaign would not raise many eyebrows.