Pirates Rumors: Jose Morales Could Make Team

The Trib has a new interview with Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. Most of it is your standard manager-speak, but one of his answers gives some clues regarding the Pirates' approach to Spring Training.

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Who's going to be on the bench? If we go with (first baseman Garrett) Jones, (second baseman Neil) Walker, (shortstop Clint) Barmes and (third baseman Pedro) Alvarez, we'll still get (Casey) McGehee involved. There's an opportunity for someone like Nick Evans or Jake Fox to come in to play. There'll be some competition behind the plate, backing up Rod Barajas, whether it's Michael McKenry or (Jose) Morales.

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The real news here for Pirates fans is the idea that McKenry might not make the team out of Spring Training. Bucs fans like him a lot because of his spunky playing style and because his defense was a breath of fresh air after enduring the likes of Ryan Doumit and Dusty Brown last season. Morales can probably be a reasonable backup catcher, though, and the only way the Pirates are likely to keep both Morales and McKenry is if they make Morales the backup and send McKenry to Indianapolis. Morales has an out clause that would allow him to leave if they sent him to the minors in the first couple months of the season.

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It also sounds like Evans and Fox will get shots, which is probably good -- they're fairly capable hitters, and I had wondered if they might not get much of a shot after the Pirates traded for Casey McGehee.

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