Pirates add righty-hitting versatility in Gosselin

Pirates add righty-hitting versatility in Gosselin

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates added to their infield depth Friday, acquiring Phil Gosselin from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for right-hander Frank Duncan.

Gosselin, 28, will report to Spring Training next week with a chance to earn a spot on Pittsburgh's bench. He spent last year in Arizona, batting .277/.324/.368 in 240 plate appearances over 122 games. Gosselin is primarily a second baseman, but he has experience at third, first, shortstop and left field.

"We like the right-handed versatility. He's a guy that we had talked about before," general manager Neal Huntington said. "Just adds to our depth and Major League options."

Gosselin has Minor League options remaining, so he is not guaranteed a spot on the Opening Day roster. His primary competition on that front would seem to be switch-hitting speedster Alen Hanson, a versatile infield prospect who is out of options. Gosselin would fit as a right-handed complement to lefty-swinging utility man Adam Frazier.

Gosselin's two-run home run

If Jung Ho Kang is inactive on Opening Day, however, that would make David Freese the starting third baseman. Then there would be room for Frazier, Hanson and Gosselin on the bench.

The Pirates liked Gosselin irrespective of Kang's uncertain status. They wanted to add another right-handed hitter, and they went back and forth on whether it should be an infielder or outfielder. In Gosselin, they landed a player who could play either.

"We'll get a good feel for him in Spring Training, but we feel that he's a good right-handed complement for our club," Huntington said.

Duncan, 25, was still buried beneath a long list of starters on the Pirates' depth chart even after a breakout year. The righty thrived for Triple-A Indianapolis, posting a 2.33 ERA in 112 innings over 20 starts. He was slated to be a non-roster invitee in big league camp next week.

To clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Gosselin, the Pirates designated reliever Nefi Ogando for assignment. The Bucs designated right-hander Lisalverto Bonilla on Thursday to make room for reliever Pat Light.

The Pirates would like to keep both relievers in their system, if they clear waivers, and invite them to camp as non-roster invitees. Last year, the Pirates outrighted A.J. Schugel to Triple-A in early February, brought him to big league camp and called him up to join their bullpen in mid-April.

"If they get through, they'll absolutely be welcome in Major League Spring Training and will have every opportunity to compete and show us what they can do to make the club," Huntington said.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.