Huntington: Debating Juan Nicasio vs. Ryan Vogelsong “was the most intense conversation we’ve had.”

AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

On Wednesday, the Pirates made it official that Juan Nicasio, not Ryan Vogelsong, would pitch out of the fifth and final spot in the club’s starting rotation. Nicasio had an outstanding spring, hurling 15 scoreless innings on 10 hits and five walks with 24 strikeouts. Vogelsong, meanwhile, struggled to a 6.14 ERA with a 4/6 K/BB ratio in 14 2/3 spring frames.

Still, picking between the two was difficult for the Pirates’ front office, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. GM Neal Huntington said the internal discussion concerning the two pitchers “was the most intense conversation we’ve had.” He added, “There were strong convictions on both sides.”

Vogelsong, 38, resurrected his career in 2011 and ’12 with the Giants, but struggled in each of the last three seasons, compiling an aggregate 4.63 ERA over 73 starts and 11 relief appearances. Nicasio was a reliever last year with the Dodgers, but the Pirates are hoping his work with pitching coach Ray Searage leads to some surplus value.

Tyler Glasnow scheduled to rejoin Rays’ rotation

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Tyler Glasnow is scheduled to rejoin the rotation at Cleveland after missing nearly 14 months because of Tommy John surgery.

The Rays’ Opening Day starter last year hasn’t pitched this season after undergoing the procedure on Aug. 4, 2021.

“I think we’re pretty confident he’ll be starting for us,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said before the game with Toronto. “This is the first time he’s thrown pain-free in quite some time, so he’s encouraged by it.”

The 6-foot-8 right-hander went 5-2 with a 2.66 ERA in 14 starts last year and is a key addition as the Rays near a wild-card spot.

“Compared to the past, like, three years it feels way better as far as postday and the week leading into starts and stuff,” Glasnow said. “It’s good to have an UCL, you know.”

Cash said Glasnow will throw around 45 pitches in his initial outing, which should allow him to go two or three innings.

“Two innings of Glasnow is still a huge plus for our team,” Cash said. “Like to get three innings. If we do, great. If we don’t, that’s fine, too.”

Glasnow allowed one run, one hit, four walks and had 14 strikeouts over seven innings in four starts with Triple-A Durham.

“I’m really excited,” Glasnow said. “I’m approaching it like normal, staying on routine. Feels normal.”

Glasnow signed a two-year, $30.35 million contract that will delay the start of his free agency by one year last month. He’s making $5.1 million this year and will get $5.35 million next season and $25 million in 2024, which is the first year he would have been eligible for free agency.