BRADENTON, Fla. -- It is safe to say that Clint Hurdle is having a difficult time making up his mind on Chris Dickerson, one of the left-handed-hitting challengers for an outfield job. Also safe to make is the point that proving adept at handling center field would dramatically increase Dickerson's value as a fourth outfielder.
Dickerson thus got his second start in center Saturday in the Pirates' 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay. And he again had difficulty with the position. He came up quite short on a diving attempt for Cole Figueroa's soft liner in the second and then had trouble picking up the ball, allowing a runner to score all the way from first base on the error -- his second of the spring while playing center.
"We'll have to wait and see how it plays out -- with the opportunity, with the at-bats, with the makeup of the club," Hurdle said. "Can a guy be the extra outfielder if he doesn't fit into a starting role? Being able to play all three [outfield] positions is a nice plus."
Coming in with five hits in his last 10 at-bats, Dickerson also had a rough time with the stick, going 0-for-3 from the leadoff spot without getting the ball out of the infield.
Dickerson, 31, is the most experienced of the outfield candidates, and at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, has the most power among them. Although Travis Snider, if he gets ahold of one, can drive a ball a long way.
"He's here for a reason," Hurdle said of Dickerson. "He's been in a few organizations already, and hasn't stuck. The skill set will catch your eye: He is athletic, lays out, plays hard. So we'll see what fits best for us, but he's been fun to have in camp."
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.