SAN FRANCISCO -- Josh Harrison made another move in Friday's lineup against the Giants, moving over to the other side of second base for his first career start at short.
He just hoped he wouldn't soon have to move out.
Charlie Morton's return is hovering over the Pirates' roster. The right-hander is expected to leave the disabled list and start Saturday's second game of the series here.
Either Harrison or equally versatile Yamaico Navarro will have to surrender his roster spot for Morton. Manager Clint Hurdle has already confirmed that returning to a five-man rotation will bump out a position player.
Harrison had made his seventh career start at second base in Thursday's game in Los Angeles and has made most of his starts (46) at third. He logged a lot of Spring Training time at short as the Pirates scouted for Clint Barmes' backup once Chase d'Arnaud had been optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis, but hadn't played there regularly since his college days at the University of Cincinnati.
"It's just like Spring Training -- you can't worry about it," Harrison of the impending roster decision. "You just got to go and play."
Hurdle pledges to keep bench players involved
SAN FRANCISCO -- Clint Hurdle remembers how he felt that late afternoon on Sept. 27, 1986. He didn't like it. And the Pirates manager never wants one of his players to have that feeling.
That's why he resolves to keep the Bucs' lineup in flux. Already, 15 Pirates have shared starts at the eight positions. Hurdle will avoid any guy getting eclipsed by the shadow over the bench.
"Having been a bench player," Hurdle said, portraying his own playing career, "I know what it's like. I know how it feels to be a forgotten man, until you're sent up there and all of a sudden everyone screams for you to get a hit.
"Try coming off the bench to face [hard-throwing closer] Lee Smith, and hearing everyone shout your name. For two weeks, you didn't know I existed, and now you're all on me?"
Hurdle had had a total of seven at-bats since Labor Day when St. Louis manager Whitey Herzog sent him up as a pinch-hitter against Smith in the bottom of the 10th on that Sept. 27. He flied out to right, then returned to the dugout's shadow.
Spring Training sensation Starling Marte's Triple-A debut is off to a modest start, as he was batting .290 (9-for-31) with one home run and four RBIs entering weekend action with Indianapolis. Of some concern to Pirates officials who consider plate discipline the area where Marte needs most improvement is that he had yet to draw a walk in seven games. Rod Barajas threw out Nate Schierholtz attempting to steal second base in the second inning Friday -- the first runner Pirates catchers have nailed in seven attempts. Pedro Alvarez struck out all three times Friday, bringing his season totals to one hit and 10 strikeouts. On a possibly related noted, general manager Neal Huntington has met the Pirates here to make, and then discuss, the roster move necessary to create room for Charlie Morton's return. Through seven games, as a club the Pirates have drawn seven walks -- and struck out 58 times.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.