Hinske dealt for two Minor Leaguers
Bucs acquire Fryer, Erickson from Yanks; Jones called up
PITTSBURGH -- It became somewhat secondary news by the end of the afternoon, but before the Pirates made a significant swap with the Nationals, they traded infielder/outfielder Eric Hinske to the Yankees for Minor League outfielder/catcher Eric Fryer and right-hander Casey Erickson. Both are at the Class A level.
The Yankees, in need of a versatile offensive threat, found a fit with Hinske, who the Pirates had signed to a one-year, $1.5 million deal this offseason. At the time, Hinske was expected to see substantial playing time as a backup outfielder and corner infielder. With the way things developed, however, that never happened.
After a slow start, Andy LaRoche took the reins at third, effectively ending Hinske's chances at getting much playing time there. The Pirates' mid-April acquisition of Delwyn Young -- and his subsequent success -- then pushed Hinske further back on the outfield depth chart, too.
Though he made only 23 starts, Hinske was a primary piece off the bench. He hit .255 with one homer and 11 RBIs in 106 at-bats.
"Hinske was a great guy to have on this team," shortstop Jack Wilson said. "You knew that what he's done in his career that he was going to be wanted by a team to come off the bench and be able to play the field like he does. He was a great guy."
The Pirates are also sending cash, reportedly $400,000, to the Yankees to offset some of Hinske's remaining salary. Outfielder/first baseman Garrett Jones has been called up from Triple-A Indianapolis to take Hinske's spot on the 25-man roster.
Jones, who arrived in time for Tuesday's game against Chicago, hit .307 with 18 doubles, 12 homers, 48 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in 72 games with Indianapolis. He replaces Hinske as a left-handed bat off the bench and likely would have made the team out of Spring Training had Hinske not already been signed.
"Garrett Jones made a great impression on us in Spring Training," general manager Neal Huntington said. "When the Yankees expressed interest, we felt like it was a great opportunity to get Eric up, get a couple young players and get Eric on his way to a club that he can help win."
The Pirates have had their eye on Fryer for over a year now, with Huntington noting that the Pirates tried to acquire him last year while Fryer was in the Brewers' system.
Fryer, 23, has been playing with the Yankees' high Class A Tampa affiliate, where he made 55 appearances in left, five behind the plate and one in right this season. In 59 games, he's hit .250 with 11 doubles, two home runs, 24 RBIs and 34 runs scored. Fryer, a 10th-round Draft selection in 2007, has been assigned to high Class A Lynchburg, and the Pirates plan to develop him as a catcher.
Erickson, 23, was 3-3 with a 2.25 ERA in 21 games (three starts) at the low Class A level this season. He had 37 strikeouts and 13 walks in 44 innings. Erickson, a 10th-round Draft pick in 2006, has been assigned to low Class A West Virginia.
According to Huntington, Erickson has a "fringe-to-average fastball with some sink" as well as a developing breaking ball and changeup. The Pirates are especially intrigued by Erickson's ground-ball ratio this season and are considering moving him back into a starting role.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.