Spring Training Notes: Observations on the First Base Platoon

Just a few notes from a routine day at Pirate City.  The team was primarily doing base running and infield drills, and batting practice.

As per usual, for drills the Pirates have two groups, one made up primarily of regulars and the other primarily of non-roster invitees and other players who are fighting for the last roster spot or two.  Most of the latter, of course, will end up at Indianapolis.

It’s easy to read too much into this — in the past veterans like Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe would work out with the “regulars” — but the first basemen with the group that included the team’s regulars were Gaby Sanchez and Andrew Lambo.  As the Pirates have already said, it looks like Lambo will spend the spring at first rather than in the outfield.  The only utility infielder with this group, unless you count Clint Barmes, was Josh Harrison, who doesn’t seem to have any serious competition for a bench role.  (For some reason, Harrison is listed as an outfielder on the team’s web site, but he was working out at third today.)  Chris Stewart, Tony Sanchez, Gregory Polanco and Jose Tabata were all with the “regulars.”  Stewart physically looks very similar to Pirates’ catching prospect Jacob Stallings, which is mildly interesting because they have very a similar skill mix.

The other group included Travis Ishikawa, Chris McGuiness, Travis Snider, and Alen Hanson.  Matt Hague played third during infield drills.  He could end up as the regular there with Indianapolis, with Ishikawa, McGuiness and Lambo all possibilities to play first for the Indians.  I could not locate Chris Dickerson or Jaff Decker.

The first base platoon?


Michael Martinez


Edinson Volquez

Robert Andino


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Wilbur Miller joined the site in July 2010. He has long been known for his excellent Player Profiles, which he brought to the site in February 2011, combining them with the existing Pirates Prospects Player Pages. Wilbur maintains the player pages section of the site, and provides regular articles to the main portion of the site, including a weekly Prospects Trend piece, featuring the best and worst prospects from the previous week.

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  • piraddict

    Hi Tim,

    What does Lambo look like in batting practice?

    • WTM

      Didn’t see him today. Maybe tomorrow.

      I spent all winter thinking there was no way they’d give Lambo a shot at the job, but maybe they will. It’s not the worst thing that could happen.

      • leefoo

        WTM….oh ye of little faith. I was pushing for him all winter.

        Of course, I remember pushing for Hague at one point….sigh.

  • roccofinute

    Wasn’t Dickerson traded away?

    • WTM

      Alex was. Chris signed as a minor league free agent.

    • piratemike

      You’re thinking of Alex.

  • leefoo

    It’d be interesting if Hague could become a passable 3rd baseman.

    • Matt Beam

      Hopefully it never becomes necessary but I guess a Neil and Hague platoon at 3rd would be plan F when Pedro leaves in a few yrs

      • Y2JGQ2

        Or maybe we could just save the time and pull Joe Randa out of retirement. Or even better, I hear Andy LaRoche is looking for a job. Come on guys…..

        • Cato the Elder

          Don’t get your panties in a bunch. The idea of Hague as an occasional platoon partner for Alvarez is enough to pique my interest as of 2/22. There is still snow on the ground dammit, let me “dream” about Matt freaking Hague drawing a walk without invoking the ghosts of Joe Randa and Andy LaRoche.

  • JimBibbySweat

    Nice pics Wilbur!

  • NHPirateFan

    Nice to hear Polanco was with the regulars. I know he breaks camp with Indy, just hoping he keeps pushing up his call up date this spring.
    Wilber, did you catch him doing any BP?

    • WTM

      No, haven’t watched much BP. The cages make it hard to enjoy very much.

      It was interesting today, though, seeing Cutch, Marte, Polanco and Tabata heading here and there as a group. Among other things, Polanco towers over the others, and he’s really filled out. Three years ago he was a beanpole with a loopy swing. Now he’s downright imposing.

      • NHPirateFan

        OK, Wilber. Appreciate your work on both sites. I am in New Hampshire with 12′ of snow … time for you to jump on Twitter and send some observations from sunny Florida.
        Would of make a great shot of those four headed to the cage and the size difference between Polanco and ‘Cutch.

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