Presley impressing Bucs with his versatility

Presley impressing Bucs with his versatility

MIAMI -- Alex Presley's ascension from Double-A to the Majors has already been one of the more notable stories in the organization's Minor League system this year. But even though Presley has already reached the top level of the system, he hasn't stopped leaving an impression.

In a sample size of just 19 at-bats entering Thursday's game, Presley has six hits since being called up to Pittsburgh in September. That's not what has primarily caught manager John Russell's eye, though. Presley has been used multiple times as a pinch-runner or late-inning defensive substitution, and it's with such versatility that Presley could carve a niche for himself beyond this year.

"It's nice, because when he's not playing, I look down on the bench and I've got a weapon," Russell said. "He can do some things to help you win a game. He gives you a good at-bat. He gives you some speed and can play defense. He's a guy you look down on the bench and you like having him around because he can help win a game for you because there's a lot he can do."

Looking ahead to Presley's future in the organization, it's hard to see him denting a spot as a regular outfielder in Pittsburgh. Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata are set to be long-term fixtures, and the Pirates would prefer a right fielder with more power.

But Presley does profile as a potential complementary piece because of his speed and defensive ability. Though Presley will likely start 2011 in Triple-A, he'll head into Spring Training in competition for one of the Pirates' extra outfield spots.