After missing some time with an injury, the Pittsburgh Pirates are seeing one of their regulars back in the lineup.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have seen some injuries to their middle infielders early this camp. First, Adam Frazier was sidelined with a right groin injury. He’s roared back, hitting .667 in his first 12 at bats this Spring. Frazier has long been viewed as a trade candidate, and a good spring leading to a hot first half could put him in prime position to be moved at the Trade Deadline.
Then, shortstop Cole Tucker was out of the lineup with a left thumb injury. The middle infielder is looking to make the team and potentially be the team’s starting shortstop not only in 2021, but moving forward. So far this Spring, Tucker is 1-5. It’s good to see him back, as he is the Pirates best defender at short and it’s important for him to continue to get reps not only at the position, but at the plate.
Finally, Kevin Newman got pulled from a game with hamstring tightness. The incumbent starter missed the end of last season after being hit by a pitch on the knee. The Pirates shortstop is hitting .750 in his first eight at bats and has added three walks. He’s looked much improved compared to the 2020 season in which he hit .224/.281/.276.
The Pirates need Newman to rebound and hit like his 2019 rookie season, where he produced a slash of .308/.353/.446. The hot start hopefully will transfer over to the start of the season. More importantly for the Pirates, Newman is back in the lineup today batting leadoff and is the designated hitter. Perhaps he can’t play the field yet, still showing tightness when needing to range right and left, but him getting more at bats is a good sign he’ll be ready for Opening Day. Tucker will be batting second and playing short.