Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Learning and Growing

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Learning and Growing

Article excerpt

BRADENTON

PIRATES: Lambo bouncing back from last season's disappointing spring

Sitting in front of his locker last week inside the Pittsburgh Pirates' palatial new clubhouse at McKechnie Field, Andrew Lambo looked the opposite of stressed.

He had just returned from an early-morning stint in the batting cage and was sipping on a Gatorade while scanning his cell phone hours before he was slated to bat fifth and play first base against the visiting New York Yankees.

If there was any residual effect from his struggles of last spring, Lambo sure didn't show it.

"Everything you do is a learning experience. I feel that if you have that mentality, you're always going to get better in this game," he said. "Sometimes, there are good and bad learning experiences."

Lambo was a hot commodity this time last season, entering camp after his 32 home runs in 120 games earned him the organization's 2013 Minor Leaguer Player of the Award and put him in the running to either earn the job as the Pirates' everyday first baseman or split the role with Gaby Sanchez.

That didn't happen. Lambo had four hits in 42 at-bats while trying to get a handle on first base, a position he played once in 63 games in 2013 with Triple-A Indianapolis, and was one of 11 players the Pirates cut March 11.

"A lot of guys who have been on the minor-league side their whole lives, when they come over here, they don't realize that these stats don't count, but the at-bats do," he said. "The quality of the at- bat counts. You get up there and you set the tone of wanting to be a big-leaguer. That's how it starts -- it starts in the spring and it carries on into the summer."

Lambo bounced back from his sour spring to hit .312 in 69 minor- league games, including 61 at Triple-A, and earned a late-season call-up to Pittsburgh, where he had 10 hits in 39 plate appearances.

"You've got to get over it and you've got to get over it quick," he said. "It's unfortunate, but you know what? You've got to look at yourself in the mirror. This game is short memories -- we learn and we forget. I wasn't the first one that had a bad spring and I'm not going to be the last."

Manager Clint Hurdle has noticed development in Lambo, a former fourth-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers who turns 27 in August. …

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