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Steve Pearce Working Out At Third Base

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BRADENTON FL - FEBRUARY 20:  Infielder Steve Pearce #51 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photo during photo day at Pirate City on February 20 2011 in Bradenton Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
BRADENTON FL - FEBRUARY 20: Infielder Steve Pearce #51 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photo during photo day at Pirate City on February 20 2011 in Bradenton Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
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The Pirates have Steve Pearce working out at third in Spring Training in an effort to give the Pirates more options from the bench.

Assuming Ryan Doumit remains with the organization and that the Pirates carry a third catcher, the club is going to have to find a middle infield backup and someone who can fill in at the corner infield spots. If Pearce can be serviceable at both infield corners, he could make a push to beat out Garrett Atkins, Josh Fields and Andy Marte for that backup role.

A couple of things here:

1) I don't see any need to have a third catcher. The Bucs used Doumit as their backup last August after they acquired Chris Snyder last year. They had Erik Kratz and Jason Jaramillo at catcher before the trade, and when they acquired Snyder, they sent Jaramillo to the minors. Then when they activated Doumit a few days later, they sent Kratz down as well. It seems like a waste of a roster spot to carry Snyder, Doumit and Jaramillo this year. There might be some concern about having Doumit pinch-hit and then not have him available if something happens to Snyder, but that concern isn't important enough to spend one of five bench spots on a third catcher. It will be interesting to see whether Doumit plays catcher at all if they do carry one, however.

2) I likewise don't see a need to worry much about a corner infield backup. Pedro Alvarez will play third most days, and when he doesn't, the Pirates can just use someone who might make the team for other reasons, like Neil Walker, Josh Rodriguez or Corey Wimberly, all of whom have at least some background playing third base. And Garrett Jones can handle first on days when Lyle Overbay isn't playing. If it's flexibility the Pirates want, they should probably take someone like Rodriguez before any of the corner infielders, like Garrett Atkins, Andy Marte or Josh Fields. If what they want is hitting, then I'd go with Pearce, John Bowker or maybe Fields. But I don't like anyone should get a roster spot primarily because of his ability to play first and third.

In any case, due to the fact that he has an option, Pearce is in a tough spot, just like he always seems to be. Pearce during Spring Training three years ago:

"I look out there and see LaRoche and Nady. I know how it is," Pearce said. "But I'm not going to take what they say about this to heart. I'm not. I'm still going to compete and try to make the team."

Pearce in Spring Training now:

"I'm not going to take it as a slap in the face," Pearce said of the prospect of starting in Triple-A for the fourth straight year. "I'm going to go down there and get my everyday at-bats so that when they do need me again, I'm going to come up and be ready just like I was last year."

Nothing ever changes for him.

-P- Charlie Morton will start in the Pirates' first Spring Training game against the Rays on Saturday. Brad Lincoln will also pitch two innings.