Huntington: Freese going to 'bounce around' diamond for Pirates
March 11, 2016 6:44 PM
The Pirates' Starling Marte slides safely into third base as the Cardinals' David Freese tries to avoid him during an April 17, 2013, game at PNC Park.
By Stephen J. Nesbitt / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
BRADENTON, Fla. — David Freese, the corner infielder whose two-run home run off Gerrit Cole was the difference in Game 5 of the 2014 National League Divisional Series, signed a one-year free agent deal with the Pirates on Friday.
General manager Neal Huntington said Freese, 32, will start at third base until Jung Ho Kang returns from rehabbing his knee — the current timetable is mid to late April — after which Freese will become the right-handed member of the Pirates’ first-base platoon alongside John Jaso.
“The idea is it adds a very talented, veteran bat to our club that is an experienced winner,” Huntington said. “[He] is going to bounce around the field for us and gives us an insurance policy until Jung Ho is ready to go.”
Jaso and Freese, the platoon picked to replace converted first baseman Pedro Alvarez, combined have 26 innings of regular-season experience at first base.
Michael Morse, who will start in right field in a spring-training game Saturday against the Detroit Tigers, will start the season in the first-base platoon and then serve as an extra bat off the bench.
Freese hit .257 with 14 home runs last season for the Los Angeles Angels. A career .276 hitter, he was an All-Star in 2012 and was MVP of both the 2011 National League Championship Series and World Series after hitting .397 with five home runs during the St. Louis Cardinals' championship run.
Freese plans to arrive at Pirates camp Saturday morning.
“Proven right-handed bat, proven winner,” Huntington said. “He’s hungry. Probably had better opportunities elsewhere, but he wanted to be a Pirate.”
To make room for Freese on the team’s 40-man roster, the Pirates designated for assignment Jesse Biddle, a rehabbing left-hander acquired in a January trade from the Philadelphia Phillies for reliever Yoervis Medina. Biddle had Tommy John ligament-replacement surgery Oct. 14.
Stephen J. Nesbitt: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.
To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to
email@example.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner.