BRADENTON, Fla. (93-7 THE FAN) — As the roster narrows approaching Opening Day, 25-year-old Pirates outfielder Jaff Decker is still here and hopes his familiarity with the team will make the decision on the final outfield spot hard on manager Clint Hurdle and General Manager Neal Huntington.
“I came in here and tried to leave it all on the table defensively, offensively,” Decker told KDKA Radio. “Made an adjustment with my swing, hit a little bit of a lull, but feel pretty good at the plate and hope to keep it going.”
Decker got off to a great start with 4 hits, a homer and 4 RBI in his first 3 Spring Training games. He’s cooled a bit, but Decker is still hitting .286 with 4 of his 10 hits going for extra bases. The 25-year-old can play every outfield position and has decent speed.
Working with Andrew McCutchen and knowing the rest of the team now in his second year in the organization, has been a help for the 5’9” Decker. The Pirates traded for the Phoenix native and pitcher Miles Mikolas in November of 2013 for Alex Dickerson. Decker spent last year in Triple A Indianapolis hitting .257 with 27 doubles and 6 homers and made 2 errors in 96 games.
With still 10 active players to cut or reassign before the season starts, Decker admits it’s hard not to think about his future.
“Try and just keep it like any other day, all you can do is go through what you did the last month and hopefully you did enough,” he said.