Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Newman Makes Most of His First Time in Camp Young Shortstop Heads to Minors with List of To-Dos

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Newman Makes Most of His First Time in Camp Young Shortstop Heads to Minors with List of To-Dos

Article excerpt

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Shortstop prospect Kevin Newman had no chance of making the Pirates opening-day roster this season, but that didn't sour his first spring in major league camp.

After shadowing Jordy Mercer for a month and batting .389 in limited Grapefruit League action, Newman was in the first wave of players sent Monday to minor league camp at Pirate City.

"It was great to be up here and see everything that goes on in this clubhouse and see how this team works," said Newman, all smiles, after packing up his locker. "I knew I wasn't playing for a spot on the team coming out of camp, so I was here to really sit back and see what it's all about here."

Others officially moving to the minors were right-handers Nick Kingham and Clay Holmes, occupants of the 40-man roster who were optioned to Class AAA Indianapolis, catcher Jin-De Jhang, right-hander Tyler Eppler and left-hander Cody Dickson. The Pirates now have 56 players in their major league camp. That number includes the players away at the World Baseball Classic.

General manager Neal Huntington stressed the players were cut "not because they don't belong," but rather because of a lack of innings and at-bats as candidates for the opening-day roster begin to play deeper and deeper into games as spring training wears on.

Newman, a first-round pick in 2015, was 7 for 18 in 10 Grapefruit League games. He expects to start the season at Class AA Altoona but hopes to reach Class AAA Indianapolis by the second half. In their send-down meeting,

Huntington encouraged Newman, 23, to refine his offensive approach and improve his first-step quickness on defense. The Pirates plan to keep Newman at shortstop.

"He can find gaps out in the outfield," Huntington said.

"He can find grass as well as anyone we had in camp. I jokingly called him the 'Hit Collector. …

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