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Pirates

Pirates express interest in free agent pitcher Xavier Cedeno

| Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, 4:51 p.m.
Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Xavier Cedeno during a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays Friday, April 7, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Xavier Cedeno during a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays Friday, April 7, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Seeking a left-hander for late-inning relief outings, the Pirates have expressed interest in free agent Xavier Cedeno.

Cedeno, 31, in his second year of arbitration eligibility, was nontendered last week by the Tampa Bay Rays. He made $1.3 million this season.

On Monday, baseball agent Melvin Roman confirmed the Pirates are among the clubs who inquired about Cedeno.

A forearm injury he suffered in April limited Cedeno to just nine games (three innings) last season. However, he was very effective in 2015 and 2016 — making 120 appearances and putting up a 2.88 ERA and a 51 percent ground-ball rate. He averaged 9.18 strikeouts per nine innings in that span.

The Pirates had four lefty relievers on their opening day roster last season, but only closer Felipe Rivero is still with the big league club. Tony Watson was traded. Antonio Bastardo was released, and Wade LeBlanc was dropped from the 40-man roster.

The Pirates have two left-handed relievers — Jack Leathersich and Nik Turney — on their roster. Last week, left-hander Sam Moll was claimed off waivers by the Seattle Mariners three days after the Pirates claimed him from Oakland.

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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