Pirates’ Hanson Embraces New Role

PITTSBURGHMost players have an interesting story to tell about getting their first call to the majors.

Second baseman Alen Hanson has a better one than most after the Pirates called him up from Triple-A Indianapolis on May 16 to spend a three-day stint with the Pirates when left fielder Starling Marte went on the maternity list.

The first thing the 23-year-old Hanson did after his promotion was call his mother in the Dominican Republic. There was silence on the other end of the phone for nearly 10 minutes, and Hanson became concerned she might have been so overwhelmed with the news that she passed out.

It turned out that in her excitement to relay the news to everyone else in the house that she accidently hung up.

“I was scared,” Hanson said with a smile.

Some of the luster on Hanson’s star began to fade two years ago when he moved from shortstop to second base at Double-A Altoona. However, he has started to rebuild his value as a super-utility player, learning to play third base and left field at Indianapolis, with future work in center field also a possibility.

“It’s going pretty well,” Hanson said of playing in the outfield. “I’m getting more comfortable. It’s another opportunity for me to help the team. It’s fun.”

The Pirates don’t feel Hanson, who signed as an international free agent in July 2009, is a finished product but feel he could provide help later in the season.

“I really encouraged him to take this short experience and use it as a force multiplier moving forward,” big league manager Clint Hurdle said.

“Who wouldn’t want to get back here? Now what do you need to do to get back here? It’s not just batting average. It’s about daily performance, your will to work and your desire to play hungry and with an edge.”


• The future of Indianapolis catcher Elias Diaz, a plus defender, is murky after Francisco Cervelli signed a three-year, $31 million extension. Diaz had right-elbow surgery that will sideline him through at least mid-July

• Indianapolis lefthander Steven Brault will likely be out through the end of June with a strained right hamstring he sustained while running to first base. He went 1-2, 2.70 through six starts with 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

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