Figueroa impressing Bucs in spring utility role

28-year-old infielder earning action from Hurdle all over the field

Figueroa impressing Bucs in spring utility role

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates will open the season with two infielders capable of playing just about anywhere on the diamond: Sean Rodriguez and Josh Harrison. Might they add a third?

Cole Figueroa, a non-roster invitee with a shot to make the Opening Day roster, has bounced around the infield throughout his career. The last two days, he's also seen time in left field. Manager Clint Hurdle said the Pirates look at Figueroa, 28, as a "super-utility" player who could handle the infield and outfield.

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"Just trying to find out where we can go with him," Hurdle said. "We've got to get him out there to get looks."

Figueroa is a natural infielder. He was drafted as a shortstop, and he's mostly played second and third base in the Minors. The same was true of Rodriguez, who has proven to be an above-average defender in the outfield.

Figueroa has only played 10 professional innings over two games in left field. He said Friday he's still getting comfortable in the outfield, focusing first on making sure he can handle the routine plays.

"Obviously the other stuff, that's going to have to come with the territory," Figueroa said. "The routine stuff has to be done correctly."

Figueroa started in left field Friday, with Starling Marte serving as the designated hitter. Otherwise, the Pirates' lineup had an Opening Day look to it, assuming Jung Ho Kang isn't ready to return. Rodriguez started at third base Friday.

Around the horn
• For the third time this week, the Pirates' Minor Leaguers staged a late rally. They scored three late runs in Tuesday's 4-2 win over the Tigers, pounded out six runs in the final three innings of Thursday's 10-8 loss to the Blue Jays and tied up Friday's game against the Twins in the bottom of the ninth.

Adam Frazier hit the game-tying single Friday, knocking a ground-ball single to left field that drove in Harold Ramirez.

Frazier's RBI single in the 9th

"It's good experience for them," Hurdle said. "Their focus is good. It's hard for them to grasp a Spring Training game where it doesn't count, but it matters, because they're of the mindset that everything counts and matters right now, which is kind of cool. And it's fun to watch."

• The Pirates continued to show an aggressive approach on the bases Friday, stealing two bases and getting caught three times.

• The Pirates' pitching staff will be full of young prospects on Saturday against the Braves at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., as Tyler Glasnow, Jameson Taillon, Steven Brault, Chad Kuhl and Trevor Williams are scheduled to pitch.

The lineup will include several likely members of the Opening Day roster, including Gregory Polanco, Rodriguez, Marte, Michael Morse, Jason Rogers and Chris Stewart. Roster hopefuls Figueroa (shortstop) and Matt Joyce (left field) are also scheduled to make the trip.

Adam Berry is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.