Ivan De Jesus Jr. drops out of WBC to concentrate on making Pirates

USA TODAY Sports

Hey, who's ready for some nearly-baseless speculation about who's gonna win the second utility infielder job?! I am!

Rob Biertempfel writes that Ivan De Jesus Jr. is off Puerto Rico's roster for the World Baseball Classic, and here's why:

Pirates rep says de Jesus withdrew from WBC to try to win job on Bucs' Opening Day roster.

This might not mean anything. De Jesus still looks like a longshot to me, since he's not on the 40-man roster and appears to be making the slow, sad transition from prospect to minor-league veteran. But here's Wilbur from Spring Training earlier this week:

The "backup" infield taking grounders included Jordy Mercer and Anderson Hernandez at second [and] Ivan De Jesus, Jr., and Chase d’Arnaud at short ... It probably isn’t a good idea to read much into the alignments, but it was interesting to see d’Arnaud and De Jesus at short. De Jesus was originally considered a good shortstop prospect, but he lost a step after breaking his leg in 2009 and has played mainly second since then. If the Pirates think he can back up at short, he probably has a good chance to make the team. D’Arnaud playing short over Mercer may indicate the Pirates still regard him as having the higher ceiling, or it may indicate nothing at all.

Who knows what might happen, but I wonder if the Pirates might have told De Jesus that he has a shot at making the team, and encouraged him to stay in camp. I thought De Jesus would be ticketed for Triple A, but it isn't as if Mercer and Josh Harrison have these jobs nailed down.

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