Versatility gives Pirates rookie Reyes chance to make team

Associated Press

Pittsburgh’s Pablo Reyes steals second base as Boston third baseman Eduardo Nunez handles the late throw during a recent spring training game in Fort Myers, Fla.

BRADENTON, Fla. – Pablo Reyes is making the most of his chance to earn a berth on the Pittsburgh Pirates’ opening-day roster.

The 25-year-old is 8 for 28 with two doubles and two home runs going into Friday night’s game against Tampa Bay. He’s had 31 plate appearances in 15 games, starting at second base, shortstop, center field and right field.

Every day during pre-game workouts, he takes both grounders and fly balls.

“When you are a utility guy, you have to practice at all the positions,” Reyes said. “You take advantage of the opportunities every day and do all you can do so you can help the team. I am working hard with this opportunity to help the team.”

Reyes debuted Sept. 2 after seven minor league seasons and hit .293 with three home runs in 18 games.

“For him to put up the quality at-bats that he did was impressive,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “He did the defensive work. It was a good show. You only get one chance to make a first impression. He made a very favorable one.”

Reyes started 172 games at second base in the minors, 142 at shortstop, 55 in center field and 25 at third base. He played left field and right field for the first time in his professional career after reaching Pittsburgh.

Reyes also played winter ball in his native Dominican Republic during the offseason and made starts at second, third, shortstop, left and right.

“I spent my time in the Dominican practicing for all the different positions,” Reyes said. “I know that is what I have to do here. I tried to do everything I could to get ready for spring training. I’m here to help the club win games. I want to be ready. All I can do is go out and play baseball. That’s all I can do. If I can play every position, I’ll have a lot of opportunities to make the team.”

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