Pirates Invite Doug Bernier to Spring Training

And also Brian Friday and Hector Gimenez, who were already in the organization. Doug Bernier is new, though. He's a utility type who signed with the Rockies in 2002 as a non-drafted free agent and then worked his way through their system as an organizational guy. He finally made it to Class AAA Colorado Springs in 2007 and put up superficially decent numbers, but Colorado Springs is one of the most favorable hitting environments in the minor leagues, and Bernier faltered after moving to the Yankees organization and playing in a much tougher environment in Scranton. He'll draw some walks, but that's pretty much his only offensive skill.

Bernier won't make an impact in the majors, but it'll be interesting to see who gets AAA playing time at second, shortstop and third, which are the three main positions Bernier plays. The Pirates already have Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker at third, and Friday, Argenis Diaz, and Shelby Ford in the middle infield. Jim Negrych could be a factor too. It's an open question why they needed Bernier at all, and his acquisition would seem to make it somewhat easier to concoct conspiracy theories about a trade involving Walker, who still hasn't heard where he's going to play. Then again, it's probably more likely that Bernier is just a depth acquisition to compensate for the losses of Luis Cruz and Brian Bixler, or for circumstances that would require a promotion of one of Indianapolis' other infielders.

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