Pirates notebook: Team extends Ray Searage, rest of coaching staff through 2019
The Pirates on Thursday extended the contracts of manager Clint Hurdle's entire coaching staff through the 2019 season.
The longest-tenured member of the staff is Ray Searage, who this year completed his seventh season as pitching coach. Searage has worked 40 years in pro ball, including 15 with the Pirates.
Euclides Rojas has been with the Pirates for 14 seasons and has been bullpen coach since 2011.
Jeff Branson has worked 15 years with the organization, including the past four as hitting coach.
Jeff Livesey (15 years with the Pirates) will return for his second season as assistant hitting coach.
Also extended were first-base coach Kimera Bartee, third-base coach Joey Cora, bench coach Tom Prince and major league coach Dave Jauss.
Bullpen catchers Humberto Andrade (15 seasons) and Jordan Comadena (two) also were extended two years.
Utilityman John Jaso and reliever Joaquin Benoit became free agents.
Jaso, 34, said after the final regular-season game he likely will retire. A former catcher, he appeared in 258 games at first base and in right field over the past two seasons and batted .245 with a .751 OPS.
“When I had the concussions (in 2013 and 2014), I thought my career was over,” Jaso said. “The defensive aspect of the game the past two years has been fun, new challenges and everything. It kept the game on the fresher side for me.”
Kingham gets an option
MLB granted Nick Kingham a fourth minor league option, which means the right-hander could open the 2018 season with Triple-A Indianapolis without having to first pass through waivers.
Kingham had Tommy John surgery in 2016 and last year went 9-6 with a 4.13 ERA in 20 starts for Indy.
Marte plays winter ball
Outfielder Starling Marte on Wednesday made his season debut with Leones del Escogido of the Dominican Winter League. Marte started in left field and went 0 for 4.
Marte chose to play winter ball in part to make up for the at-bats he missed while serving an 80-game suspension this past season. Marte was penalized after testing positive for steroid use.
This is the sixth DWL season for Marte, who lives in Santo Domingo, D.R. He was with Aguilas Cibaenas in 2009-10 and 2010-11. Marte played for Escogido in 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14.