By Chris Adamski
BRADENTON, Fla. — Alen Hanson is fast. He has the type of speed that, when you see him run up close in person, it sort of takes your breath away.
But, in an analogy I feel comfortable making and might make some sense coming from – does he have Dri Archer speed or Chris Johnson speed?
“He’s in competition with three or four other guys,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Hanson, who at one point was one of the organization’s top prospects but now finds himself facing an uphill climb just to make the 25-man roster as a bench piece. “And what we’re looking for is dependability out of that position.”
Hanson played all five innings of Saturday’s game in Sarasota against the Orioles. He had an error but also showed his range and made a few plays. He also had a double (albeit, his only hit in five at bats).
Because of his speed (205 steals in the minors) and versatility (2B, 3B, SS, OF), Hanson potentially could be a valuable reserve for the Pirates this season. But like Hurdle said, he’s kind of stuck in a logjam of players (Adam Frazier, Phil Gosselin, Max Moroff, Gift Ngoepe, Chris Bostick among players on the 40-man roster alone) who play similar positions (not even counting the “starters” and – until a certain somebody arrives stateside – starter-for-now David Freese).
“We are going to keep giving him opportunities because he can do some things that you like a lot,” Hurdle said. “The versatility can play and can help out. It’s just finding that niche to be a dependable player with the glove. And he’s working hard to become that.”
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“It provides us with some flexibility.”
“He’s someone who can definitely hold down that position when he’s in the lineup.”
“He’s fun to watch.”
>>> Sunday’s game: Twins (8-4) at Pirates (11-4), 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. TV: ROOT Sports, Radio: 93.7 The Fan
Twins: J.B. Shuck 8, Eduardo Escobar 6, Ben Paulsen 3, Matt Hague DH, Daniel Palka 7, Drew Stubbs 9, Tommy Field 4, John Ryan Murphy 2, Ehire Adrianza 5. RHP Ryan Vogelsong
Also pitching for Twins: LH Taylor Rogers, RH Nick Tepsch, RH Michael Tonkin
Pirates: Danny Ortiz 8, Jordy Mercer 6, John Jaso 3, David Freese 5, Jose Osuna 9, Chris Stewart 2, Barrett Barnes 7, Chris Bostick 4, RHP Trevor Williams 1.
Also pitching for Pirates: LH Steven Brault, LH Felipe Rivero, LH Tyler Webb, RH Casey Sadler.
>>> Monday’s game: Pirates at Braves (4-10 heading into Sunday’s game), 1:05 p.m., Champion Stadium, Orlando. Radio: 93.7 The Fan
Braves: Lineup TBA. RHP Bartolo Colon
Also pitching for Braves: LH John Danks, RH Jim Johnson, RH Arodys Vizcaino, RH Luke Jackson
Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Tyler Glasnow
Also pitching for Pirates: LH Wade LeBlanc, RH A.J. Schugel, LH Dan Runzler, RH Pat Light, RH Donvydas Nererauskas.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.