ShareThis Page
Pirates tab shortstop Erik Gonzalez, third baseman Jung Ho Kang as starters | TribLIVE.com
Pirates/MLB

Pirates tab shortstop Erik Gonzalez, third baseman Jung Ho Kang as starters

Kevin Gorman
898153_web1_ptr-junghokang
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Jung Ho Kang continues to be unable to perform baseball activities because of a sprained left wrist. But he is symptom-free in his daily life as he remains on the disabled list for the Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate in Indianapolis.
898153_web1_gtr-erik-111518
David Dermer | AP
Cleveland Indians’ Erik Gonzalez bobbles a ball hit by Detroit Tigers’ Jose Iglesias in the fourth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, June 23, 2018, in Cleveland. The Indians won 4-1.

The Pittsburgh Pirates named Erik Gonzalez and Jung Ho Kang their starters at shortstop and third base, respectively, general manager Neal Huntington told reporters on Monday.

Gonzalez was competing with Kevin Newman, a former first-round pick. Kang beat out incumbent Colin Moran, whose range was an issue last season and has committed four errors this spring.

“We felt like Kang and Gonzalez, at this point in time, were our best defensive tandem,” Huntington told MLB.com. “That’s a big part of why we went with this decision.”

The Pirates acquired Gonzalez from the Cleveland Indians in a five-player trade in November. He has batted .233 with one home run and 5 RBIs this spring but has greater defensive range than Newman.

Kang missed the majority of the past two years, sitting out all of the 2017 season with visa issues following a DUI arrest and then most of last season with a wrist injury that required surgery. He hit 36 home runs with 120 RBI in the 2015 and ‘16 seasons. Kang is 5 for 28 this spring (.179) but all five hits have been home runs and Huntington called his power “obviously a threat.” Moran slashed .277/.340/.407 with 11 homers and 58 RBI last season.

Newman, batting .276 with two doubles, one homer and five RBIs, could play some second base and serve as a backup at both positions. Moran, who is hitting .214 with one homer and six RBIs, also could play some first base.

“We still like Newman and Moran and believe they’re going to be a big part of this club,” Huntington said.

Love baseball? Stay up-to-date with the latest Pittsburgh Pirates news.

Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Pirates
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.