Final month important for many Pirates

Final month important for many Pirates

ST. LOUIS -- One month from Sunday, the Pirates will play their final game of the 2011 season. A postseason berth is now unlikely, but for a number of individuals on the current roster, there is a lot riding on the results of this final month.

More than a half of the position players in Sunday's lineup are not guaranteed a starting job in 2012. How those players fare as the season ends will be influential as management begins to evaluate which players are key pieces beyond this season.

Alex Presley, Josh Harrison and Chase d'Arnaud are among the rookie position players who are trying to lay claim to a long-term starting role. Garrett Jones and Ronny Cedeno are more seasoned players who must prove that the Pirates don't need to look elsewhere for another answer at first base and shortstop, respectively.

Brad Lincoln and Ross Ohlendorf are lobbying for permanent rotation spots. Chris Leroux, Tony Watson and Jason Grilli have a chance to put themselves in position to be key pieces in next season's bullpen.

"I want to see everybody here bring all that they can bring every day," manager Clint Hurdle said. "There has been a lot of good that has gone on, but we have much more work in front of us. There's a lot out there for everybody."

From a team standpoint, the Pirates would have to finish 20-10 in order to secure their first winning season since 1992.