BRADENTON, Fla. — Once the presumed second baseman of the future for the Dodgers, Ivan De Jesus now is eager for any opportunity he can get with the Pirates. “These last three or four years have been up and down,” De Jesus said Monday before the start of minicamp. “It’s not been easy. But this (past) year, I was feeling more confident. I’m going to be confident and be patient and, when the moment comes, I’ll be ready.”
A former second-round pick, De Jesus lost a shot to open the 2012 season with the Dodgers when he tore his oblique during spring training. It was the second time De Jesus was sidetracked by a preseason injury. He played in just four minor league games in 2009 after shattering his leg in a home plate collision during spring training.
Drafted as a shortstop, De Jesus was moved to second base after his leg healed. But he scuffled in brief stints with the Dodgers the past two seasons and was traded to the Red Sox in August. Almost exactly four months later, De Jesus was sent to the Pirates as part of the Joel Hanrahan trade. He has a chance to stick with the Pirates this year as a utility infielder. “I’ve moved around — third base, shortstop, second. There’s not any position I prefer,” he said. “The last three years, I’ve been playing more second base, so I’d say (I prefer) second. But, wherever they put me, I’ll try to do the job.”
In 48 games with the Dodgers and Red Sox, De Jesus batted .205 with a .500 OPS. Over eight seasons in the minors, he hit .298 with a .759 OPS. He’s not a base-stealer (just 21 thefts in the minors) nor a slugger, but he has sometimes shown patience at the plate and an ability to make contact. He doesn’t expect the Pirates to try to reconstruct his mechanics. “I don’t mess with my swing,” De Jesus said. “I know my swing and I know the type of hitter I am. I know I’m not going to hit for a lot of power, so I’ll stay with my gap-to-gap approach and try to get on base. I’ll let the big guys get the RBI.”