During yesterday’s meeting with the media, Clint Hurdle made two comments that really stood out to me as far as how the Pirates see two of their starting positions.
The first base position has been in question this off-season, with Andrew Lambo seeming to be the front-runner. The Pirates added Chris McGuiness, who has looked good in limited appearances so far this Spring. But Hurdle’s comments on McGuiness pointed to Lambo being the guy at first base.
“We’ve liked the kid. We got him here for a reason, to provide some depth,” Hurdle said. “An outside opportunity to possibly break with the club. Let’s see where he can take it.”
That’s not a big surprise, since I’ve been projecting Lambo as the starter and McGuiness as the backup. What was more surprising was when Hurdle said that Jordy Mercer was the front line guy with the Pirates. Mercer moved into the primary role last year, getting more playing time at shortstop than Clint Barmes after taking over in early June. It sounds like that playing time could be increasing.
“We’re pushing Jordy forward this year,” Hurdle said.
Barmes has been playing second base so far in Spring, and will also play some third. He also has a first baseman’s glove, so it looks like they’re preparing him as a utility infielder. His best asset is his defense at shortstop, so I’d expect him to continue getting starts there. However, it doesn’t sound like he will come close to the playing time he had last year.