The Pirates have sent 10 players to the minors in their first major round of cuts in Spring Training. Those players are catchers Tony Sanchez and Ramon Cabrera, infielders Chase D’Arnaud and Anderson Hernandez, outfielder Robbie Grossman, and pitchers Jeff Locke, Rudy Owens, Duke Welker, Mike Crotta and Logan Kensing. The moves reduce the number of players in major-league camp to 48.
There aren’t any huge surprises among these moves, although D’Arnaud and especially Hernandez might have been competitors for the open utility infielder job. These moves would seem to reduce that competition to Yamaico Navarro, Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer, among whom Navarro and Harrison seem to have the best shots, as I noted earlier this week in a piece about the Pirates’ likely 25-man roster coming out of camp.
Josh Harrison is still a strong possibility for the utility job — the Pirates are having him play some shortstop, possibly with the idea that Clint Barmes will play so regularly at that position that they won’t actually need their utility infielder to play shortstop all that well. (I know UZR really liked Harrison’s performance at third last year, but based on what we actually saw, I’d be very surprised if he could play shortstop adequately.) I’m still going to go with Navarro here, though — Alex Presley is the only Pirate with more at bats than Navarro this spring, and Navarro has more offensive upside than Harrison does.
The Pirates play the Twins Thursday at 1:05 p.m.
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