The Pittsburgh Pirates are preparing for the impending return of rookie third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, and manager Derek Shelton made a double switch on Sunday that possibly foreshadowed their future lineup.
Shelton sent Kevin Newman to pinch-hit for Dustin Fowler in the sixth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers. Newman remained in the game at shortstop, with Erik Gonzalez moving from short to third base, Phillip Evans from third to left field and Bryan Reynolds from left to center.
Shelton sounded like someone who realizes that Reynolds might be his best option in center, even if the Pirates prefer to leave him in left.
“He’s definitely comfortable out there,” Shelton said after the 6-5 win over the Brewers in 10 innings. “He takes balls out there and he’s played center field in the past, so my comfort with him out there is very strong.”
It might have been a sign that the Pirates are finally fed up with the lack of production in center, despite general manager Ben Cherington’s defense Thursday of Dustin Fowler (10 starts), Anthony Alford (five) and Wilmer Difo (one). The trio has combined to hit .098 (5 for 51) with 26 strikeouts, seven walks, four runs and two RBIs.