PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – The Pirates won their 15th game this Spring, beating the Rays in Port Charlotte 5-4. Jose Osuna hit his fifth homer this Spring and Jordy Mercer his third, as Edgar Santana got the win and Wade LeBlanc this save.
The 24-year-old Osuna has been opening eyes all Spring, eyes outside of the Pirates organization. Manager Clint Hurdle said people have been calling him asking who this Osuna guy is, as Hurdle said they’ve been tracking his progression and he “absolutely” has a shot to make this roster.
Osuna hit .291 in Triple A last year with 7 homers and 31 RBI in 63 games. Hurdle has played the righty-hitting Osuna at first base, third base and the outfield to give him opportunities.
“The box is where he is going to be an impactful player,” Hurdle said. “He’s shown the ability with this environment, being in Spring Training, to hit hard, to hit soft, hit the ball, pull the ball, hit the ball the other way, handle some counts. I think he’s leading the club in RBIs and home runs, those are never bad things.”
Mercer said he benefited from an elevated pitch for his homer to left center, saying as guys return from the World Baseball Classic, it feels like the season is getting closer.
“I think it will once we get our full lineup and get going,” Mercer said. “I think we only have 10 days left. It’s been a little strange not having those guys around, but I think when they get here and we get a few games under our belts with the full squad. We’ll be ready to go for sure.”
Jameson Taillon said his delivery was inconsistent, he didn’t have all of his pitches working, but was able to go 4 and a third, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks.
“I was a guy when I was younger that my bad days were three innings, eight runs, 80 pitches type deal,” Taillon said. “Now, I’m a little more coordinated with what I’m doing. I know on my bad days I may give up some hits, may give up some walks but I’m not going to give up the big inning. I’m just going to keep attacking with a certain pitch which is strong that day.”
“He stayed on attack mode, a lot of times pitchers will back off. They will try and manipulate, they’ll try and guide the ball,” Hurdle said. “He (Taillon) says ‘this is what I got today, here you go. Hit it or don’t hit it and we’ll go from there’.”
Taillon has now gone 12.1 innings this Spring, giving up five runs, four walks and 10 strikeouts.
“There’s grit, there is no doubt there is grit,” Hurdle added. “He’s developing into a pitcher that not only can keep you in a game without his best stuff. He can win a game without his best stuff.”
Adam Frazier with three more hits today and has reached base safely in eight straight games. Frazier has 18 hits this Spring in 14 games and his average is .450.
The Pirates made four roster moves Monday morning as there are now 47 players in Major League camp with the final game in Florida a week from Wednesday. All sent down were pitchers, reliever Pat Light to Triple A-Indianapolis. Jared Lakind, Casey Sadler and Angel Sanchez were all reassigned to minor league camp. Sadler and Sanchez didn’t pitch at all last year recovering from Tommy John surgery and Lakind spent last year at Double A-Altoona.