By Jason Shetler
On Wednesday, Pirates GM Neal Huntington spoke with David Todd of 970 ESPN Pittsburgh, and mentioned that Jung-Ho Kang will play some shortstop next season when Jordy Mercer needs an occasional break.
Before joining the Pirates, Kang was primarily a shortstop during his nine years in the KBO. In his first season with the Pirates last year, he split his time between shortstop and third base, playing 60 games at short and 77 at third. Kang played exclusively as a third baseman this year.
Aside from a leg injury in 2015, Jordy Mercer has been one of the more durable shortstops in baseball. Sean Rodriguez was used as the backup shortstop to Mercer this past season, and played 27 games there. Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reported on Tuesday that the Pirates were among five teams in pursuit of Rodriguez. The decision to have Kang as the backup shortstop option in 2017 was likely made just in case that Rodriguez doesn’t re-sign with the Pirates.