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Pirates see Jung-Ho Kang as starting hitter, Radhames Liz as reliever

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Clint Hurdle sees Jung-Ho Kang as a starter, although perhaps not right away, Rob Biertempfel writes.

"We believe we've brought in a player who's going to be an everyday player," manager Clint Hurdle said Monday. "When that happens, we don't know. We want to prepare him for a starting role, see how the season plays out, see where he can fit and what he can add. Everybody's vision down the road is for this man to post up and become a regular player in the Pirates' lineup."

It would be a little weird if, a month after signing Kang to a four-year deal, the Pirates were to say they see him as a bench player, but it's still good to hear them affirm that they think he has starter-caliber upside. As much hype as there's been about Kang in this last month, the Bucs only did bid $5 million for him. There won't be an open starting spot for Kang right away, although that could change fairly quickly, with Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez set for free agency after 2016.

Biertempfel also reports the Pirates will stretch Radhames Liz out to at least three innings or 50 pitches during camp, but that they plan to use him as a reliever. Liz pitched as a starter in Korea and in the Jays' minor-league system in recent years, but it's not surprising that the Bucs will use him in the bullpen, given his stuff and the fact that they already have more starters than they can use.