Tucker got the start in center field and hit leadoff Monday, going 1-for-4 with a walk and a solo home run in a 5-4 loss to the Twins. The 24-year-old led off the game with a homer, his first of the year, but his inexperience in the outfield showed. Tucker misplayed a Max Kepler line drive into a two-run double in the sixth inning. Tucker's hitting .211 (4-for-19) through seven games with a homer and a steal.
The Pirates recalled Tucker on Thursday. Tucker was optioned to Triple-A in the spring, but the lack of a minor-league season coupled with the expanded 30-man roster for Opening Day allowed him to stick around with the big club coming out of summer camp. While both Adam Frazier and Kevin Newman are healthy, Tucker is unlikely to pick up more than one or two starts per week, unless the Pirates are willing to cycle him in at designated hitter.
Tucker, who was hitless in two at-bats Monday, made his debut in the outfield against the Indians. He initially played the fifth inning in right field before moving to center, where he made a highlight-reel catch. The versatility could earn him more playing time and more trips to the plate. Tucker holds a career line of .266/.339/.374 in the minors, but he's swiped 137 bases in parts of six seasons.
Tucker doubled in his lone at-bat against the Indians on Saturday. The natural shortstop played second base Saturday. General manager Ben Cherington was interviewed during the AT&T SportsNet broadcast and said that he felt Tucker was athletic enough to learn the three outfield positions without affecting his ability to serve as a middle infielder. Tucker hit well during spring training, and Pittsburgh appears to be looking for ways to get his bat into the lineup, especially with Gregory Polanco (illness) out.
Tucker was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday. Tucker showed very little in his 56-game debut last season, hitting just .211/.266/.361. He still has something to prove in the minors, as he hasn't managed a wRC+ better than 101 at any stop above High-A.