Luplow went 1-for-1 with a homer and three RBI against the Phillies on Friday.
The outfielder also collected a pair of RBI on sacrifice fly outs. Unless the Pirates decide to keep Luplow as pinch-hitter off the bench , the 24-year-old will likely start 2018 with Triple-A Indianapolis. He's got just three hits in 18 spring at-bats, though his line includes two home runs.
Luplow is in the mix for a reserve outfielder role on the big league roster this spring, Adam Berry of MLB.com reports.
The outfield prospect initially seemed to be in the mix for regular playing time in left field at the start of spring training, but that largely out of the question now that Corey Dickerson is in town. The 24-year-old wrecked minor-league pitching last season, producing an OPS north of .900 at both Double- and Triple-A, but he struggled a bit with big-league pitching to the tune of a .205 batting average. Bryce Brentz, Daniel Nava (back) and Michael Saunders also seem to be in the mix to be the fourth outfielder, but Luplow arguably has more upside than most of them. The biggest thing working against Luplow is that he has two options remaining, so there's a chance that the Pirates simply send him back to the minors for more seasoning instead of exposing players without options -- like Brentz -- to waivers.
Luplow went 2-for-4 with a triple and homer against the Cardinals on Sunday.
The outfielder has stroked a combined 26 homers split between three levels of play in 2017, including three home runs in 68 at-bats for Pittsburgh. Although he's not considered a top prospect, he's forced his way into the picture for 2018. He remains behind the team's starting three outfield options, but there's a good chance he sees some playing time.
Luplow is out of the lineup against the Cardinals on Friday.
Luplow will occupy a seat on the bench for the series opener as Gregory Polanco draws the assignment in right. The 23-year-old has started seven of the past eight games, going 5-for-25 at the plate, while earning time in each corner outfield spot.
Luplow will bat second and play left field Tuesday night against the Brewers.
The start will be Luplow's first since Friday. The 23-year-old has slashed .286/.333/.571 in 30 September plate appearances after going hitless in his first 11 major-league at-bats. He's shown good power while playing for a power-starved organization and has done nothing to hurt his opportunities for 2018.
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|2015||AFX-West Virginia Power||106||390||74||103||36||3||12||67||59||67||11||2||.366||.464||.264|