CINCINNATI -- Manager John Russell expects Ronny Cedeno to be the Pirates' starting shortstop next season, provided the 27-year-old continues on his present path.
"I think Ronny's made a pretty good statement," Russell said. "He's done some very good things, especially in the second half. He's still got some things to accomplish. He's made great strides in a lot of areas."
Cedeno, who was benched earlier this season after an argument with former Pirates bench coach Gary Varsho, hit safely in eight of his past 11 games. He is batting .245 with six homers, 31 RBIs and 12 stolen bases on the season.
Cedeno has started 110 games this season at shortstop. He was pleased to hear Russell's vote of confidence.
"It's nice to hear him say that," Cedeno said. "I want to gain some consistency. Right now I'm just trying to help the team win. I'd like to be the man, the everyday shortstop next year. We'll see what happens."
With limited shortstop options in free agency or within the organization, Russell said he'd like to see Cedeno earn the position.
"It's not an easy position to fill," Russell said. "This isn't a make-or-break three weeks for him. He's made a lot of progress. I see no reason why Ronny Cedeno shouldn't be our shortstop."