PHILADELPHIA -- While Ryan Doumit is only getting work behind the plate while with Triple-A Indianapolis, the Pirates have not ruled out using Doumit in right field or at first base when he is ready to return to Pittsburgh.
Putting Doumit out in the field and leaving Michael McKenry behind the plate would be one way the Bucs could try to upgrade their offense. Doumit has played 60 games in right field and 35 games at first in his big league career. This year, the Pirates have gotten a .238 average, 18 homers and 86 RBIs from its first basemen and right fielders.
"It has been an internal conversation but again, I think we're best suited to take it one step at a time," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We have had that conversation -- actually, we had it in the coach's room the day before."
For now, the focus is on having Doumit get back into an offensive rhythm and comfortable catching. Both are taking some time, too. Doumit has played three games since joining the Triple-A team and is hitless in 10 at-bats. Runners have seven stolen bases off him in seven attempts.
Doumit is scheduled to be Indianapolis' designated hitter on Friday and, on Saturday, will catch nine innings for the first time in his rehab stint. After pinch-hitting on Sunday, Doumit will catch back-to-back games early next week. The Pirates will reevaluate his status after that, though the club will not bring Doumit back up until they are confident he has had enough at-bats.
"We're going to see where he is offensively," Hurdle said. "We're waiting for his bat to spark. Right now, he's got some work to do just to get the at-bats and see the pitches."