Lambo won the final bench spot on the roster despite a .183 batting average this spring. Lis and Caminero are expected to serve as middle relievers, while Hughes will serve as a setup man.
"Andrew has put together two really strong years at Triple-A," Huntington noted. "If you look at the numbers at the end of the year, he actually outplayed [Gregory] Polanco. Most people don't remember that, they think of him like, 'At 25, he's kind of an afterthought.' But he's a player we still like and believe could fit in as a nice piece for us."
That confidence has spread as Lambo looks forward to contributing at a high level.
"This year I'm confident, physically and mentally focused and ready," Lambo said. "Last year I was unprepared, not confident."
The 26-year-old has a batting average of .280 in the minors. He is looking to continue to make strides while in the majors.
"I'm not going to tell you I'm going to hit .700. But I'll tell you what: I'm not going to worry about it if I hit .100," said Lambo, who continues to split defensive drills between the outfield and first base. "I'm worried about just swinging well, not worried about the results."
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.
|CBSSports.com Player Ranking|
|4/25/2015 vs Arizona|
|vs Simon (Career)||3||1||0||.333||.333||.333|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
| 5 || 6 |
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|More Batting Stats|
|Minor League Batting Stats|
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