BRADENTON (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Pirates opening day roster is one step closer to being complete.
Reports say Jung Ho Kang will be starting at third base to open the season, while Erik Gonzalez will get the nod at shortstop.
“Gonzalez is the starting shortstop. Kang is the starting third baseman.”
Kang was in a position battle with 2nd year player Colin Moran, who split time with David Freese last season. Moran will be the first left-handed bat off the bench for the Bucs in 2019. Moran will also be asked to play some first base at the end of camp to make him more flexible.
Meanwhile, Gonzalez, who was acquired via trade with the Cleveland Indians, beat out Kevin Newman for the job. Newman is going to spend some time at second base at the end of camp as well.
The Pirates cut the roster from 49 to 40 Monday, with a few notable names sent to the minor leagues.
“Pirates roster moves: Kevin Kramer optioned to Class AAA Indy, send Ke’Bryan Hayes to minor league camp. Also sent Will Craig, Nick Franklin, Geoff Hartlieb, Christian Kelley, Arden Pabst, Bryan Reynolds and Brandon Waddell to minor league camp.”
The regular season starts next week as the Pirates open on the road against the Cincinnati Reds Thursday, March 28th. The home opener is slated for April 1st against the St. Louis Cardinals.