Pirates sign left-handed reliever Justin Bruihl in hopes of solidifying sometimes shaky bullpen

Justin Bruihl is hoping to hit the reset button with the Pittsburgh Pirates

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Justin Bruihl is hoping to hit the reset button with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The left-handed reliever joined the Pirates on Thursday, less than a week after opting out of his minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds.

The 26-year-old Bruihl pitched well at Triple-A Louisville, going 4-0 with a 2.31 ERA in 19 appearances. But with his path to the majors with the Reds seemingly blocked, Bruihl bet on himself and became a free agent on June 1.

The Pirates made him an offer the next morning and by Thursday afternoon he was on Pittsburgh's major league roster and available for the series finale against his former team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“With the Reds there really just wasn’t any opportunity,” Bruihl said. “They optioned one of their best lefties two or three days ago, so I kind of saw that in the writing. Big lack of opportunity there so that’s a big reason.”

Bruihl appeared in 65 games across three seasons with the Dodgers, going 2-2 with a 3.65 ERA while filling various roles, including a couple of games as an opener. He struggled after being acquired by Colorado last August, posting a 14.73 ERA in seven appearances.

The Reds signed him in January but after two productive months at Triple-A, Bruihl decided it was time to move on. The Pirates were looking for another left-handed pitcher in the bullpen besides hard-throwing Aroldis Chapman.

Manager Derek Shelton said the club was interested in Bruihl during the offseason before he joined the Reds and jumped at the chance to bring him in when he became available.

Bruihl may be the antithesis of Chapman, whose 104 mph fastball to Teoscar Hernandez on Wednesday night was the fastest pitch in the majors this year. Bruihl's velocity sits in the upper-80s/low-90s and he is viewed primarily as a “left-on-left” specialist.

“The ability to execute offspeed left on left is really important or to make people adjust their lineup midgame and then you end up getting better matchups later in games," Shelton said.

For Bruihl, Pittsburgh marks an opportunity to settle down after bouncing around last season.

“Just hopefully somewhere I can stick, some stability which would be nice,” he said. “I haven’t really had a lot of that the last few years but just trying to find some stability would be great.”

To make room for Bruihl on the 40-man roster, the Pirates transferred reliever Ryan Borucki (wrist) from the 15-day to the 60-day injured list.

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