Young Bucs: Pirates carrying nine rookies

Young Bucs: Pirates carrying nine rookies

LOS ANGELES -- There are best intentions and well-laid-out plans, and then there is making it up as you go along.

Welcome to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are definitely doing this on the fly as they carry nine rookies on the current active roster. A few more and rookies will comprise half the team.

"This isn't like the plan coming in," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "This is an adapt, improvise and overcome situation."

Injuries, illnesses and a suspension have combined to make a wreck of the team the Pirates thought they would have in 2016.

"It will help you with your patience," Hurdle said.

The Pirates started three rookies at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday -- first baseman Jose Osuna, outfielder Chris Bostick and third baseman Gift Ngoepe. None were penciled in as starters in the spring.

"We've got men out of play who were in play," Hurdle said. "We're calling up men internally to give them looks to assess where we are as an organization right now.

"Because we don't feel there have been better options outside. And we have knocked on some doors externally to try to find out if there are fits. Nothing's really panned out."

So the phone keeps ringing in the system and Hurdle does what he can. There is no other choice but to see how the kids respond.

"I've been in meetings and listened to managers. They want guys with experience," Hurdle said. "How do guys get experience? You have to play them. There aren't always experienced guys to go get."

Bostick made his debut Monday and struck in both of his at-bats. They all have to start someplace. 

"There are going to be some growing pains involved, because this is the hardest level to play in," Hurdle said. "You do well here, you do not go up like you do at every other level. You stay here until you don't do well, and then you figure out how to do well again.

"And there are things here they experience they do not experience at any other level, especially from a pitching standpoint. The lineups are so much tougher. There's no safety nets like there are in Triple-A, with different parts of the lineup that you can pitch to, cut up and cut through."

Worth noting

• Hurdle said Gregory Polanco is moving back to right field. He moved from right to left when Andrew McCutchen went from left to center after center fielder Starling Marte was suspended for 80-games. Hurdle said players would rotate in left.

"I'll play wherever they want," Polanco said. "I have no problem with it. It won't be too different."

Adam Frazier (left hamstring strain) did not play in a second consecutive rehab game Tuesday because it was a morning start, but he is scheduled to play Wednesday for Triple-A Indianapolis.

Steve Dilbeck is a contributor to MLB.com based in Los Angeles. He covered the Pirates on Tuesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.