Saving money wasn't the only motivation for the
“I’m excited. I’m beyond excited for the opportunity,” Lambo said. “At the same time, I liked Travis. Everyone liked Travis. I know he was a big part of the team, a big part of the clubhouse and … well, I just have to be myself. I have to be the player, the person I am and show up every day to help the Pirates win. I’m grateful to be getting that chance.”
Lambo was sent to the minors last season after a rough spring training. He battled through a thumb injury, but once he returned to 100 percent, Lambo got on track offensively. He hit .328 with a .563 slugging percentage and .952 OPS in 61 games for Triple-A Indianapolis before he was back in the majors in late August.
“The way I look at it, I battled back, I came back,” he said. “I was there in Pittsburgh playing in games that mattered in front of full houses and against the Cardinals or Johnny Cueto, and I feel like I grew up there, like I matured.”
Lambo will now go to spring training looking to grab a bench spot as a fourth outfielder/backup first baseman.
“Honestly, this is the first time in my career I just relaxed, checked out a little bit," he said. "I was always running around the Arizona Fall League or winter ball and now … I don’t know, I feel like this has been good. I feel hungry. I want to get out there and prove … not to everybody but to my team that I can do the job. I can’t wait for that.”
Now, plenty of players have hit bunches of homers in the minors and never amounted to anything in the big leagues, and at age 26, Lambo is nearing his expiration date as a prospect. But injuries and off-the-field issues delayed him a few years. He was considered a prospect of note when the Dodgers traded him along with James McDonald for Octavio Dotel back in 2010. To start him over Polanco with a playoff spot on the line, the Pirates must see something they like in him even now.
Do I honestly think it'll last? No. As I've pointed out elsewhere, I think Polanco offered more good than bad in his first stint with the
The club wanted to get another bat on the bench for the weekend series, and decided to promote Lambo. He'll take Gerrit Cole's spot on the roster. Cole will return to the club when rosters expand September 1.
"He's not going to miss as much time as you might expect for a guy coming back from surgery," Huntington said. "He's done everything we've asked him to do and he's just in the early phases of baseball activity from a right-thumb standpoint, meaning swinging and actually catching the ball."
Despite the recent additions of Gregory Polanco in right field and Ike Davis at first base, Huntington said Lambo still fits into the team's long-term plans.
"We think so. Whether it's this year or could be somewhere down the road, we still think he's a great fit," he said. "You hit 30-something home runs, you can fit anywhere."
Lambo underwent surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb, an injury suffered in early May. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the typical recovery time for this surgery is 6-to-8 weeks.
Lambo was enjoying another solid season in the minors prior to the injury. He was hitting .344/.430/.570 in 107 at-bats for Triple-A Indianapolis.
|CBSSports.com Player Ranking|
|10/1/2014 vs San Francisco|
|vs Cueto (Career)||4||1||0||.500||.250||.250|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
| 5 || 6 |
| 7 || 8 |
| 9 |
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| 16 || 17 |
|More Batting Stats|
|Minor League Batting Stats|
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