INDIANAPOLIS — The Pittsburgh Pirates have announced the signings of catcher Nevin Ashley and right-hander Cody Eppley to Minor League contracts with each receiving an invitation to Major League Spring Training as non-roster players. The pair of signees both saw action in the International League last season with Ashley batting .235 (56-for-238) in 80 games with Louisville and Eppley combining for a 4-2 record and 6.49 ERA (31 ER in 43.0 IP) in 41 games between Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Rochester.
Originally selected in the sixth round of the 2006 MLB Draft by Tampa Bay, Ashley climbed the Rays system where he was touted by Baseball America as the organization’s No. 26 overall prospect in 2007 and the “Best Defensive Catcher” in both 2009 and 2010. Ashley was also named to three All-Star teams during that span, appearing on the 2006 Appalachian League (Rookie) Postseason roster, the 2007 South Atlantic League (Lo-A) Midseason squad and the 2009 Florida State League (Hi-A) Midseason team.
The four-year IL veteran enters the 2014 campaign with a .230 average (109-for-473) through 154 career Triple-A contests with the Durham Bulls (2010-12) and Louisville Bats (2013).
Eppley, who was originally selected by the Texas Rangers in the 43rd round of the 2008 MLB Draft, is entering his seventh professional season and first within the Pirates organization. The right-hander owns a 2-3 record with a 4.61 ERA (29 ER in 56.2 IP) in 71 career Major League games, and prior to pitching for the RailRiders and Red Wings last season, turned in a 3.33 ERA (17 ER in 46.0 IP) through 59 games for the New York Yankees during the 2012 campaign.
Eppley is a two-time Minor League All-Star selection with appearances on the 2008 Arizona League (Rookie) Postseason team and the 2011 Pacific Coast League (Triple-A) Midseason squad.
The Pittsburgh Pirates will officially begin their 2014 Spring Training schedule with the annual intrasqaud game on Feb. 25 at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Fla. The Pirates are then scheduled open Grapefruit League play on Feb. 26 against the New York Yankees at 1:05 p.m.