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Steve Lombardozzi off to a hot start with Triple-A club


With the likes of Neil Walker and Jordy Mercer up the middle, most Pittsburgh Pirates fans aren’t worried about the team’s infield situation moving forward. Those two, coupled with offseason acquisition Jung-ho Kang, seem to make up the organization’s plans – at least in the immediate future.

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While Kang got most of the attention this offseason as the deal to shore up the middle infield (especially if Walker decides to pursue free agency next year), a former Washington Nationals second baseman, Steve Lombardozzi, was also added to the mix – and he’s been red-hot to start the year at Triple-A.

After spending last season with the Baltimore Orioles, the former 19th-round pick of the Nats came to the Pirates, giving GM Neal Huntington even more depth on the infield. In 2014, Lombardozzi appeared in 20 games for the O’s, posting a .288/.297/.329 triple-slash in 74 plate appearances.

A career .266 hitter and still just 26 years old, Lombardozzi has plenty to offer a team like the Pirates. If his early performance at Triple-A Indianapolis is any indication, he’s out to prove he belongs with the big league club.

In seven games this year with the Indians, he’s batting .423/.500/.577 with an OPS over 1.000. He’s recorded multi-hit games in almost half of those contests and has four doubles to his credit, as well.

Lombardozzi’s best year in the big leagues came back in 2012 when he played four positions for the Nationals, including left field – in addition to a trio of infield slots. That season, he batted .273/.317/.354 with a career-high 16 doubles and 27 runs batted in. Clearly, he’s no offensive powerhouse, but he provides value to a big league club both in the field and at the plate.

If he can keep up a solid performance with Indianapolis, keep an eye on Lombardozzi as a potential depth option for the Pirates as the season progresses – especially if a need arises in the infield.