Pirates plan on making Kevin Newman more versatile after his activation
The Pittsburgh Pirates took advantage of a rehabilitation assignment to prepare Kevin Newman for a more versatile role.
Newman, the Pirates’ first-round pick in 2015, was exclusively a shortstop during his first three professional seasons. Last season, he spent about a fifth of his time at second base, too.
But when he went on the injured list April 11 after making an MLB Opening Day roster for the first time, an opportunity presented itself for Newman to fine-tune his skills elsewhere.
Newman, who was activated back to the 25-man roster Saturday, made four starts at shortstop, two starts in left field and two starts in center field during a recent eight-game stint with Triple-A Indianapolis.
“He’s athletic, as far as going and getting the ball,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “That caught your eye. We’ll see how it plays out here.”
The Pirates on Friday opened a stretch of 26 games in 27 days. With Cole Tucker on a streak of 13 consecutive starts at shortstop, he will need a break soon. Newman also is the primary backup for Adam Frazier at second base, and with the Pirates bench for the time set at four men, he’s also the fifth outfielder.
“We’re going to use everybody. Nobody is going to play every day,” Hurdle said. “He provides us with some backup at short. He can spell Frazier at second. He’s done the reps in the outfield a little bit, so he’s going to provide some support there.”
Newman takes the roster spot of Pablo Reyes, who was optioned to Indianapolis after going 5 for 39 in 23 games this season.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .