The only real position battle of this spring for the Pirates is Yamaico Navarro against Josh Harrison battling over the backup shortstop spot. I’ve written about this a few times and I can’t point out enough that Harrison has played just one game of shortstop in his professional career. However, the Pirates aren’t letting that stop them from giving him a chance. Harrison subbed in for Clint Barmes on Saturday and played some shortstop, and he’s schedule to start there Monday as well.
Yamaico Navarro has seen early playing time as well, he started at third base on Saturday and subbed in to play second base on Sunday. The guy can play all over the field, but shortstop seems to be his primary spot. The Pirates already know that Navarro is a better defensive option at shortstop than Harrison, so I like them getting Jay Hay the playing time there early to see what he’s got and to let him feel it out for awhile. I think the Pirates would like Harrison to make the team over Navarro, and they’re going to give him the opportunity to win it. Right now, Navarro still has to be the favorite though, you know that he can play the position defensively and he has more upside with the bat. I think Harrison is a safer pick offensively; he showed that he can hit for contact and provides some speed off the bench last year. Despite all that, the job is still in the air.
It will be interesting to see Harrison play some innings at short tomorrow night, and you’ll be able to literally see it if you subscribe to MLB.TV. The Pirates like both of these guys, but I think it’s a long shot that they both go north come April. One of them is going to win this job, so keep a close eye on how they perform.