With few off days, Cole Tucker, Kevin Newman may share time at shortstop for Pirates
The on-the-job training continued Sunday for Cole Tucker, who started his 14th consecutive game at shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Cole’s flawless glove – no errors in his first 59 chances — has enabled manager Clint Hurdle to remain patient with his rookie’s bat. He was hitting .205 before Sunday, and he has not contributed a home run or RBI since his first major-league game April 20.
Worse, he has only four hits in his past 27 at-bats.
Wary that frustration can only lead to more struggles, Tucker maintains an optimistic outlook.
“The thing I have to be aware of not being wrapped up in is the results, and just realize there aren’t any bad days when you’re in the major leagues,” he said. “Obviously, I want to go out there and hit 1.000 and make every play and be awesome, and get those results and that will come. I’m just trying to learn and take in as much as I can, add value to this team.”
Tucker admits that can be difficult.
“We’re human and we want to do well and have success,” he said, “so I’m out there trying my best and doing everything I can. It is hard to not think about.”
Meanwhile, shortstop Kevin Newman (finger) came off the injured list Saturday and contributed a two-run triple to help defeat the Oakland A’s.
Like Tucker, he’s also a first-round draft choice. The Pirates have high hopes for both players, even though they play the same position.
“We’re pleased with Cole’s ability to survive at this point in time,” Huntington said. “Cole’s come up and answered a very important question: “Who was going to play short while (Erik) Gonzalez was down (with a broken collarbone) and while Newman was down?
“Kevin, we have all the confidence in the world that he’s going to be a very good major-league shortstop.”
With 26 games in 27 days looming for the Pirates, Huntington said there will be opportunities to use both young shortstops.
“Kevin is there to help protect Cole,” he said. “Kevin is very good against left-handed pitching so you might see a little bit of a time share there.”
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .