BRADENTON, Florida (Sports Radio 93-7 The Fan) – GM Neal Huntington had no more clarity on Sunday who the Pirates fifth starter would be with five more exhibition games left.

“It makes it a tougher decision for them because they left it to us,” Huntington said. “You always want the players to make the decisions for you. You always want someone to step up and just grab a hold of the job and take it and run with it.”

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This echoed the comments from manager Clint Hurdle after watching all four pitch Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Their last opportunities:

  • RHP Drew Hutchison-6 runs in 3.1 innings v. Boston Thursday (7.41 ERA this Spring 17IP, 14R, 23H, 15K, 7BB)
  • RHP Trevor Williams-5 scoreless innings v Tampa Bay Friday (2.63 ERA this Spring 13.2IP, 4R, 12H, 12K, 2BB)
  • RHP Tyler Glasnow-2 earned runs in 4 innings v Detroit Saturday (5.65 ERA this Spring, 14.1IP, 9R, 10H, 23K, 6BB)
  • LHP Steven Brault-1 run in 4 innings v Detroit Saturday (3.45 ERA this Spring, 15.2IP. 6R, 16H, 8K, 5BB)

Huntington said Spring Training numbers are one of the last pieces of information they use. He said they have numerous factors and numerous opinions that go into the decision. Saying when they make up their mind, that pitcher will get a fair chance.

“The last thing that we want is someone looking over their shoulder and feeling like they have to pitch for their lives,” Huntington said. “We feel good with each one of those pitchers helping us at some point in the season when we have the need, because unfortunately we will.”

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Kang Not In Immediate Plans

Asked about Jung-Ho Kang, Huntington said they are focused on this team right now and if Kang were to get a visa to come to the U.S.-outstanding, but otherwise they are moving forward with their current roster.

“The unfortunate reality is that this young man has put himself in the position where his ability to get into the country is out of his hands and out of our hands,” Huntington said. “We are going to remain optimistic.”

Hanson Not A Lock

Signed by the Pirates out of the Dominican Republic as a 16 year-old, it’s now or never for infielder and occasional outfielder Alen Hanson. The switch-hitter is out of options, meaning if he’s optioned to the minors, he must clear waivers. Hanson is the fastest baserunner in the organization and has been among their top prospects since he started his pro career in 2010.

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“Much like the pitchers, we’d had a number of guys that have stepped forward and are legitimate candidates for one of the final spots on the bench,” Huntington said. “Statistically, he’s having a nice Spring, there’s still challenges, there’s still growing pains. He’s helped his cause, but we can’t say he’s absolutely locked his spot on the club right now.”

Hanson has played second base, third base, shortstop, left and right field this Spring and is hitting .372 with three outfield assists, two in one inning earlier this month.

Osuna Remains in Mix

Continuing to lead the team in homers and RBI, righty Jose Osuna remains an option for the Opening Day roster even though he’s never played in the majors and played only 63 games in Triple A.

“I’m not sure we expected him to hit .440 and with power, and show plate discipline the way he has, but he’s shown a very mature approach offensively and showed up well defensively at first base,” Huntington said. “Still work to do in the outfield.”

Osuna is much more comfortable at first base, than in the outfield-where he is still a work in progress.

“Very encouraging signs, certainly put himself in the mix, which is probably not where he was coming into Spring Training,” Huntington added. “Who knows where he will end up come the final roster.”

Huntington said he doesn’t expect to set the 25-man roster until this weekend in Montreal. The Bucs GM is also not sure about how severe the injuries are Gregory Polanco (throwing shoulder) and catcher Chris Stewart (groin). They will see how they respond to treatment later in the week.

Phillies beat Pirates Sunday

Phillies scored 5 times in the first off starter Josh Lindblom beating the Pirates 6-3. Lindblom said he just got the ball up in the first, allowing a pair of homers. Relievers Wade LeBlanc, Jared Hughes and A.J. Schugel, all in competition for a bullpen spot, combined for 5.1 scoreless innings, LeBlanc going three of those.

“I think a lot of adrenaline got spent on that game early and we hung around to make it a 6-3 game,” said manager Clint Hurdle. “I thought we pitched extremely well in the back half of it. Spring Training, it is a challenge to sometimes evaluate.”

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Osuna doubled home a pair of runs and Austin Meadows had 2 hits. Hear the Pirates Monday Night on 93.7 the Fan at 6 against Minnesota.