Newman could be one of the first position players Pittsburgh recalls when it needs infield help, general manager Neal Huntington said Sunday.
Speaking on his weekly radio show, Huntington said that Newman successfully handled a crash course at second base when it looked as though starter Josh Harrison might miss an extended period of time. Newman is slashing .313/.353/.391 with one homer and 13 stolen bases in 192 Triple-A at-bats. The 2015 first-round draft pick has the potential to help fantasy teams with his batting average, but holds just a career .725 OPS in four minor-league seasons.
Newman was sent down to minor-league camp Thursday, David Adler of MLB.com reports.
Newman went 5-for-19 with two RBI and three stolen bases in 12 spring training games. He's expected to begin the season with Triple-A Indianapolis.
Newman has played spring games at second base in addition to seeing time at shortstop, the Rob Biertempfel of the Athletic reports. "It's adding versatility," manager Clint Hurdle said of putting Newman at second. "It's giving him options if something happens where he's not just a shortstop."
Although he hasn't played a position other than shortstop since high school, he made a fine diving play at second base Wednesday. Newman slashed a middling .267/.311/.363 in 509 minor-league at-bats in 2017, but he's hit .283 overall in the minors. While the 2015 first-round draft pick likely won't hit for power (11 homers in three seasons), he could eventually help fantasy teams in the batting average category.
Newman was promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday.
The first-round draft pick (2015) didn't overwhelm anyone with the bat at Double-A this season, as his slash line was just .259/.310/.359. Newman was heralded as a solid middle infield prospect after mashing at the lower levels of the minor leagues, but his prospect shine has faded a bit after showing little power and posting a rough batting average in a repeat of the Double-A level.
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