LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- While the Pirates are now headed toward filling right field internally, general manager Neal Huntington indicated it's likely top outfield prospect Gregory Polanco will not be in that role come Opening Day.
"We're real excited about Gregory," Huntington said. "We see him in our outfield for a long time to come. We just don't know that it's going to be April 1."
Huntington said he was pleased with the success Polanco had at three Minor League levels last year, and he said the 22-year-old is playing all three outfield positions in winter ball. Assuming he starts the season at Triple-A, he figures to see time at all three, but will primarily play right.
Jose Tabata, Travis Snider, Andrew Lambo (also working toward being prepared to play some first base) and newly acquired Jaff Decker are likely in the mix for right field heading into the season.
Determined not to make a call on a prized prospect based on Spring Training results, Huntington said Polanco is close, but not quite there -- at least to start the season.
"He showed some very positive signs when he moved to Double-A last year -- as many walks as strikeouts, drove the ball -- but also showed some signs that he has some work to do," Huntington said.
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnSchlegelMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.