Pirates make pair of waiver claims

The Pirates claimed catcher Brian Jeroloman (Blue Jays) and right-hander Jeremy Hefner (Padres) off waivers on Friday in moves designed to improve the club’s depth at both positions. The club also announced that catcher Matt Pagnozzi has been removed from the 40-man roster and outrighted to the Minors.

Jeroloman, 26, spent the rest of 2011 catching for Triple-A Las Vegas. In 79 games, he hit .240 with nine doubles, two homers and 26 RBIs. While his .245 career Minor League average is rather pedestrian, Jeroloman’s .378 on-base percentage is a reflection of his excellent plate discipline. Known more for his strength on defense, Jeroloman is likely to begin the 2012 season in Triple-A.

In his first full season at Triple-A, Hefner went 9-7 with a 4.98 ERA in 28 starts in 2011. He struck out 120 and walked 61 in 157 1/3 innings, though Hefner was passed by other pitching prospects in the Padres’ system last year. Hefner, too, will be a longshot to crack the Pirates’ Opening Day roster.

Pagnozzi, who was a late season waiver claim by the Pirates, now has the ability to declare for Minor League free agency. The Pirates have made him an offer to return under a Minor League contract, though Pagnozzi will likely first see what other offers are available before accepting.

Jenifer Langosch

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