The Pittsburgh Pirates are no longer pursuing free-agent infielder Wilson Betemit, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The news comes following the signing of free-agent starting pitcher Erik Bedard, whom agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million contract earlier this afternoon.
The team viewed Betemit as a backup infielder, and perhaps the bidding went out of the Pirates' range. They wanted to find insurance at third, in case top prospect Pedro Alvarez continues to falter.
In other news, the Pirates designated Pedro Ciriaco for assignment to open a 40-man roster spot for outfielder Nate McLouth. McLouth, 30, signed a one-year deal worth $1.75 million yesterday to rejoin the Pirates following his disappointing stint with the Atlanta Braves.
Ciriaco, 26, hit .303/.324/.424 in 34 plate appearances with the Pittsburgh Pirates major-league team last season. The 26-year-old spent most of the season with the Pirates' Class Triple-A affiliate, though, where he hit a poor .231/.243/.300 with a horrible 49:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 289 plate appearances.