By Chris Adamski
NORTH SHORE – Some four hours prior to Friday’s first pitch, Jose Osuna had yet to shag flies in PNC Park’s unique right field. He’d also yet to see his name written into a regular-season major-league lineup.
Both changed in preparation for Friday’s game against the New York Yankees.
“It’s a good opportunity for showing what I can do in the field,” Osunsa said. “I have to do my job. Trying to do something good today and trying to find my first hit tonight.”
Osuna becomes the fourth different player to start in right over the first 16 games of the Pirates’ season – the third in three days since Andrew McCutchen had to vacate the position to shift back over to center following announcement of the 80-game suspension for Starling Marte.
Osuna was recalled when word of that broke Tuesday. He went 0 for 2 in pinch hitting duties over the final two games of the series in St. Louis, and he played an inning at first base, his natural position.
But opportunity exists, for 77 games at least, in RF now for the Pirates. Manager Clint Hurdle wouldn’t commit to naming – or even using – a regular everyday rightfielder during Marte’s absence. After hitting .407 (22-for-54) with a team-leading five homers and a 1.252 OPS in 22 spring training games, Osuna has the opportunity in front of him to earn the gig.
“I have to do my job,” Osuna said. “I am trying to stay here, so I know I just have to work.”
>>> Dang Yankees
It’s not your normal, run-of-the-mill late-April series at PNC Park, of course. It’s THE YANKEES.
“They travel well; they’re like the Beatles,” Hurdle said. “There will be al lot of Yankee fans in the ballpark tonight.”
Hurdle relayed how he saw plenty of pinstripe-adorned partisans around the city over the past 24 hours.
“I was kind of intrigued in the way they’d migrate over to the Mazeroski statue and get their picture taken,” Hurdle said. “Because to this day they will still complain about the one that got away more than the (27 World Series titles they’ve won). That one got away is still the rock in the shoe.”
The Mazeroski statue, of course, commemorates the walk-off home run that allowed the Pirates to beat the Yankees in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series.
>>> You want links? I’ve got, well, one link:
“We have no problem pushing in our chips on some guys who’ve dealt with adversity.”
>>> Friday’s game: Yankees at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM
Yankees (10-5): Brett Gardner 7, Chase Headley 5, Starlin Castro 4, Jacoby Ellsbury 8, Aaron Judge 9, Greg Bird 3, Austin Romine 2, Ronald Torreyes 6, LHP CC Sabathia (2-0, 1.47)
Pirates (6-9): Jordy Mercer 6, Josh Harrison 4, Andrew McCutchen 8, Gregory Polanco 7, David Freese 5, Francisco Cervelli 2, Jose Osuna 9, Josh Bell 3, RHP Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 12.25)
Gamecast: In his last outing, Sabathia, 36, was a 3-2 winner vs. the Cardinals. He allowed three hits and a walk and struck out six in 7.1 IP. … The Yankees had their eight-game winning streak snapped over the weekend by the White Sox. It’s the first time since 2000 that New York has won eight in a row before May. … The Cubs did not attempt a steal against Glasnow on Saturday. Opponents are 13 for 13 in stolen base attempts against him this year.
>>> Saturday’s game: Yankees at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM
Yankees: Lineup TBA. RHP Michael Pineda (2-1, 3.44)
Pirates: Lineup TBA RHP Jameson Taillon (1-0, 0.90 ERA)
>>> Sunday’s game: Yankees at Pirates, 1:35 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Yankees: Lineup TBA. LHP Jordan Montgomery (1-0, 4.22)
Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Ivan Nova (1-2, 2.25)
>>> Monday-Wednesday games: Cubs at Pirates, all at 7:05 p.m., all at PNC Park. All on Root TV and 93.7 FM. Probable starting pitchers and lineups TBA.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.