Pie's strong spring gives him shot at Bucs roster

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Believing they will be season-long contenders who can benefit from the efforts and voices of experience, the Pirates keep stocking up on veterans, such as infielders John McDonald and Brandon Inge.

If Felix Pie does not join the crowd, it won't be for lack of trying. The fleet outfielder, who packs surprising power in a lithe frame, has spent weeks impressing manager Clint Hurdle.

"He has had a very good camp," Hurdle said of the 28-year-old, lefty-swinging Dominican. "He's battled through some adversity with teams that put a lot of expectations on him, and he has found a comfort zone as far as playing the game with his strengths.

"You can put him anywhere in the outfield and he can get the ball. He can steal a base, the bat has shown up, and there hasn't been a lot of give against left-handed pitching. So he's playing as good a ball as I've ever seen him play."

Pie has certainly gotten a chance to state his case. His start in Tuesday's 6-3 loss to the Blue Jays marked his 27th Grapefruit League appearance, the most of anyone on the team. He went 1-for-2, bumping his average up to .318. His 15 hits include six for extra bases -- three doubles, two homers and a triple.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.