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    Default infield trio vies for utility role

    Pirates infield trio vies for utility role
    By Karen Price, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    BRADENTON, Fla. -- Corey Wimberly played nine innings spanning two appearances at shortstop for the Pirates this spring without having a ball hit his way.

    When he finally got some action Sunday against Toronto, he probably wished he hadn't. The 27-year-old fielded a groundball and fired an errant throw to first, allowing a run to score.

    [IMGL]http://i52.tinypic.com/a2zt6o.jpg[/IMGL]"Coming to a new organization and all the new faces, you want to show them what you can do, Wimberly said Monday. "I'm just trying a little too hard to do things, but I'll settle down and start making some things happen soon. ... Can't get worse, so you can only move forward."

    Wimberly, whom the Pirates acquired from Oakland in December in exchange for pitcher Ryan Kelly, is one of three prospects vying for the middle infield utility job. The second is Rule 5 pick Josh Rodriguez, who's expected to be sidelined at least a few days with tightness in his right quadriceps muscle.

    The third is Pedro Ciriaco, who has the advantage of being with the team last year.

    Each of the three players offers something slightly different.

    The Pirates acquired Ciriaco from Arizona last season, along with catcher Chris Snyder. The 25-year-old started the season with Triple-A Indianapolis, was a September call-up and played just two innings at shortstop for the Pirates, but his time with the team was enough to give them a look at what he can do.

    "Ciriaco, obviously, we know the defense, we trust the defense, we believe he can play and bounce around a little bit, which is going to be important for that position, between second and short primarily," general manager Neil Huntington said.

    The knock on Ciriaco was his offense, although that isn't quite as suspect now as when the Pirates first got him. At the team's request, he went to instructional league last fall before joining Triple-A manager Dean Treanor for winter ball in the Dominican Republic, where he simplified his swing and made some mechanical adjustments.

    With 25 innings at short and 10 at second this spring, Ciriaco took a five-game hitting streak and a .385 spring batting average (5 for 13, three doubles, one RBI) into yesterday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays. He struck out in his one at-bat after replacing Ronny Cedeno in the seventh inning in the 4-2 loss.

    Rodriguez, 26, showed potential in 2010, bouncing back from an injury-shortened 2009. But so far this spring he's played just 12 innings at second and nine at shortstop, with one error, and is batting .286 (2 for 7) with an RBI, one walk, a stolen base and three strikeouts.

    Wimberly, 27, has the versatility to step into the outfield, as he has in 12 innings this spring. He's also played 15 innings at shortstop and seven at second and is 0 for 12 plate with four walks, four strikeouts and two stolen bases. The speedy Wimberly led the Pacific Coast League last year with 56 stolen bases.

    "With Pedro, the question is the bat," Huntington said. "With the other two, the question is the defense. The more opportunities they get, the better look we'll get to make sure we put the right guy on the club and move forward."

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_726297.html
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    Default Re: infield trio vies for utility role

    Wasn't it just recently that there was some serious fan slobbering involving Wimberly? I'm going to assume that it's died down

    It's ncie to see Ciriaco's bat doing well. Considering it's his weak point but he has strong Defense. SS depth is a "lacking" spot right now
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    Default Re: infield trio vies for utility role

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    Wasn't it just recently that there was some serious fan slobbering involving Wimberly? I'm going to assume that it's died down

    It's ncie to see Ciriaco's bat doing well. Considering it's his weak point but he has strong Defense.
    He was here last year... Hopefully it reaps rewards... Who knows....
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    Default Re: infield trio vies for utility role

    Seems to me that Wimberly has already punched his ticket to Indy. I wonder if they can keep both Ciraco and Rodriguez...? I doubt it. Ciraco probably goes to Indy to be the starter at SS b/c he still has an option. Unless Rodriguez really flops, he's gonna be on the 25 man (or the DL) b/c of his rule 5 status.

    I wonder if Argennis Diaz caught on with another team....?

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    Default Re: infield trio vies for utility role

    For a second I thought that was McCutchen on the right.

    I thought he cut his hair to accentuate his long neck.
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