Pirates' opening-day roster: Hanson, Gosselin, but no Osuna
April 2, 2017 10:18 AM
The Pirates' Alen Hanson dives for a double hit by the Rays' Nick Franklin in the fourth inning March 9 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla.
By Stephen J. Nesbitt / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
BOSTON — Alen Hanson couldn’t contain his excitement. Exiting the visiting manager’s office at Olympic Stadium in Montreal Saturday, he pumped his fist and beamed. He hugged every teammate in sight. It wasn’t made public until Sunday, but Hanson already knew this news:
Hanson and fellow utility player Phil Gosselin had made the Pirates’ opening day roster.
The odd man out in the final roster decision was hot-hitting Jose Osuna, a 24-year-old first baseman and corner outfielder who will report to Class AAA Indianapolis. He batted .407 in 22 Grapefruit League games this spring with a team-high five home runs and 17 RBIs. He had 10 walks to 10 strikeouts. His offense has promise and some power, but his defense needs work.
Hanson, 24, and Gosselin, 28, both have some major league experience — 216 games’ worth for Gosselin — and can play infield and outfield positions. There was room for both on the roster since Jung Ho Kang, who has not received a United States visa, remains on the restricted list.
Hanson, a switch-hitter, has blazing speed but hasn’t always harnessed it optimally. He is out of minor league options, so the Pirates needed to either roster him or risk losing him in waivers. He batted .333 this spring, though he was successful on just three of eight stolen-base attempts.
The Pirates acquired Gosselin from the Arizona Diamondbacks in early February for minor league right-hander Frank Duncan. Gosselin has a .283 batting average and .716 OPS in 501 major league plate appearances. This spring, he was 21 for 64 (.328) with six extra-base hits.
Gregory Polanco (shoulder) and Chris Stewart (groin) appear on the Pirates’ opening day roster, as announced Sunday, so their injuries should not demand trips to the 10-day disabled list.
The roster results contained few surprises. Right-hander Tyler Glasnow won the No. 5 starter spot, and the long relievers are right-hander Trevor Williams and lefty Wade LeBlanc. Only three of the 12 pitchers on the roster — right-hander Gerrit Cole, who will start Monday at Fenway Park, and relievers Juan Nicasio and Tony Watson — were on the opening day roster last year.
The Pirates field only three full-time outfielders, their regular starters. Rather than roster a fourth outfielder — a role Matt Joyce filled last year — they will use Adam Frazier, John Jaso, Hanson and Gosselin in the outfield. Josh Harrison has experience there, too.
There is no clear-cut backup for shortstop Jordy Mercer, but Frazier, Hanson and Gosselin all worked there this spring. All are natural shortstops who were moved elsewhere in the minors.
LHP Antonio Bastardo RHP Gerrit Cole RHP Tyler Glasnow RHP Daniel Hudson RHP Chad Kuhl LHP Wade LeBlanc RHP Juan Nicasio RHP Ivan Nova LHP Felipe Rivero RHP Jameson Taillon LHP Tony Watson RHP Trevor Williams
C Francisco Cervelli C Chris Stewart
1B Josh Bell IF/OF Adam Frazier 3B/1B David Freese IF/OF Phil Gosselin IF/OF Alen Hanson 2B/3B Josh Harrison 1B/OF John Jaso SS Jordy Mercer
CF Starling Marte RF Andrew McCutchen LF Gregory Polanco
Stephen J. Nesbitt: email@example.com and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.
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