Freese went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and a second run scored in Wednesday's 13-5 loss to the Cubs. The veteran continues to produce when he gets a chance, and Freese now boasts a .357/.400/.786 slash line with two homers in only 14 at-bats. The Pirates seem committed to using Colin Moran as their starting third baseman, but Freese will get opportunities against left-handed pitching, giving him some value in deeper league and formats with daily transactions.
Freese walked in his lone plate appearance during Monday's 5-4 win over the Twins. Freese has only started in one of the Pirates' four games to date, but made the most of the opportunity, going 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI on Sunday in the second half of a twin bill with the Tigers. It's likely that Freese will be a fixture in the lineup against left-handed pitching, but he'll settle for the short side of a platoon at third base with Colin Moran this season.
Freese is expected to occupy the short side of a platoon at third base this season with Colin Moran slated to receive the majority of the starts at the position, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. While a platoon arrangement may be in the works initially, Freese could see his starting opportunities fade as the season wears on if the lefty-hitting Moran proves capable of handling southpaws. Though he received just five plate appearances versus lefties in the majors last season, Moran was adequate against them in 87 at-bats with Triple-A Fresno in the Astros' organization, slashing .287/.323/.448. Freese is also an option to fill in at first base when Josh Bell requires a breather, but unless injuries ravage the Pirates' corner infield, it's looking unlikely that Freese will come close to matching the 503 plate appearances he earned in 2017.
Freese hit his first homer of the Grapefruit League on Thursday. He's 3-for-11 in the early going and will likely serve as a backup at both third base and first. Newcomer Colin Moran has played well at the hot corner thus far, making it likely Freese will have to wait until injury or Pittsburgh faces a tough lefthander before he starts. He hit just .263 with 10 homers and 52 RBI in 426 at-bats last season, but he did post a .368 OBP. Coming off the bench instead of serving as an everyday starter probably suits the 34-year-old better at this stage of his career, anyhow.
Freese seems to be behind Colin Moran in the pecking order at third base to start the spring, Adam Berry of MLB.com reports. The 34-year-old was a serviceable infielder for the Pirates last season, batting .263 with 10 homers and 52 RBI. That said, Moran offers considerably more upside at the plate and is nine years younger. Freese's roster spot doesn't seem to be in jeopardy, as he offers the ability to back up both third and first base as well as a right-handed complement to Moran's left-handed bat. With this in mind, Freese very well may get sent into a strict platoon role unless he hits out of his mind during Grapefruit League play.
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