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By Chad Carlson
Photo Credit: Peter Diana/Post-Gazette
As the Pirates near Opening Day 2011 in just a couple weeks, there are still a number of questions surrounding the club.  One of the lingering inquiries when discussing the team’s position when they open things up in Chicago on April 1 is the Pirates’ shortstop situation.  What can we expect from Ronny Cedeno?
Cedeno, of course, came over in the trade that sent Jack Wilson and Ian Snell to Seattle.  I still remember Wilson crying on camera when he talked about how he felt like he was leaving his home and his friends.  That seems like such a long time ago, but we still questions surrounding a position that is a given for most teams in the league.
Let’s keep things in perspective here.  I’m not going to sugar-coat this for people.  We’re Pirates’ fans, so I’m going to give it to you straight.  Ronny Cedeno is our shortstop for this season.  For better or for worse, he’s going to lace them up, day after day, in 2011, regardless of his performance.  There simply isn’t anyone else who will be a significant upgrade to Cedeno, at least not on a consistent basis.
While we’re certainly not expecting an All-Star performance from him this year, he does need to provide some type of stability at the plate and in the field.  He did that for the most part on the field, but his hitting slumps throughout the latter part of 2010 were enough to drive any Bucco fan crazy.  He’s more than likely going to be hitting in the eighth spot in the lineup on most nights, in between Chris Snyder and the pitcher’s spot in the lineup.  Worried yet?
Obviously, Chase d’Arnaud is the long-term answer to the question of who is the short-stop of the future.  He’s just simply not ready to be an everyday major league ballplayer yet.  He needs one more year in the minor league ball, but, if the past several years are an indicator, management may try to bring him up in early September to get his feet wet in the majors.  We’ll see.
Other than d’Arnaud, the standouts from Spring Training thus far are Pedro Ciriaco, Josh Rodriguez, and Corey Wimberly.  All three have been given (and earned) significant playing time this year in the Grapefruit League, and, for the most part, have performed well.  One of these will more-than-likely snag a spot as the team’s backup middle infielder, and will be a sufficient substitute for Cedeno’s off-days.  Still, though, at this point, the Pirates’ number one shortstop is Ronny Cedeno.  If he fails this season, then the Pirates are just willing to live with that.  
Don’t expect them to make any late season moves to compensate for this either.  As we all know, that’s not the Buccos’ style.
How do you feel about the Pirates’ shortstop situation?  Send us an email at comments@fansfromthestands.com. 
And…
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!