Hanson gets look at 2nd; Curve handle Richmond

Alen Hanson returned to the lineup Saturday night, but he had a new position to play.

The Pirates moved their No. 6 prospect, according to Baseball America, from shortstop to second base for a 7-6 win over Richmond before 5,294 at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

Hanson played 53 games professionally at second base, 40 in 2010 with the Dominican Summer League Pirates, and 13 with the Gulf Coast League Pirates in 2011. He was signed as undrafted free agent in 2009.

“This is about increasing Alen’s versatility,” Pirates farm director Larry Broadway said. “We still believe he can play shortstop and believe he will play shortstop for us at some point in the future.

“Adding this dimension to his game will give him additional opportunity to impact our organization at the major league level when he is ready.”

Hanson’s first fielding attempt came in the third on a grounder, but he pulled first throwing first baseman Stetson Allie off the bag, for his 30th error of the season. He settled in from there, and had three assists.

The last time Hanson played second base was September 2011 when he was with State College. Curve manager Carlos Garcia believes that it will help his overall outlook.

“It’s a big picture move,” he said. “We don’t thinking Alen Hanson just to be second baseman for Indianapolis, second baseman for Altoona.

“His potential is larger than that, and if he going to have an opportunity some point in the future, and it’s going to be at second base, definitely we believe that he can be able to transition very well, and offensively do nice things for us.”

Hanson was intrigued by the opportunity to play a position he hasn’t in almost three years.

“It felt different,” he said. “I needed work today, and I got it.”

He committed 29 errors at shortstop, which has been his position for the last two plus seasons. His struggles at the position had nothing to do with the change.

“He will have some difficulties at second base as well,” Garcia said. “He got to keep learning. Second base is not some place he’s never been before. He knows the ground, how to be consistent there, and that’s what we expect from him.”

Garcia also noted that Hanson was ready to accept the change.

“He was fine with that,” he said. “We don’t have no choice, we got to work the kid where the big picture is showing more projection.”

Hanson’s hitting has been as much of a problem as his, as he is batting .279, with 10 homers and 55 RBIs. He drove in a run and went 1-for-4 Saturday night. He returned to the lineup following a hand injury he suffered Thursday.

Catcher Elias Diaz went 3-for-3 with three RBIs as the Curve registered their fourth straight series win.

Diaz put the Curve ahead with his two-run double in the sixth, scoring Hanson and Josh Bell.

Adrian Sampson (10-5) bounced back from giving up a lead-off homer in the first, and picked up the win. He went seven innings allowing three runs – one earned – on four hits, with a walk and two strikeouts.

Jack Snodgrass (9-5) took the loss going 5 innings, giving up six runs on eight hits, walking and striking out four.

Former Curve starter Joely Rodriguez went 1 innings, giving up a run on three hits, grabbing his first save.

Game recap

Key player: C Elias Diaz went 3-for-3 with a double and three RBI’s.

Key play: Diaz’s two-run double in the sixth put the Curve ahead for the night.

Key stat: The Curve have won nine of their last 11 games.

How they scored

Top 1st: Tomlinson homer (0-1).

Bottom 2nd: Garcia singled, scored on Ngoepe sacrifice fly (1-1).

Top 3rd: Snodgrass reached on throwing error by Hanson, scored on Lisson single (1-2); Tomlinson hit by pitch (1-3).

Bottom 3rd: Bell singled, scored on Diaz single (2-3).

Bottom 5th: Hanson walked, Bell singled, scored on Diaz double (4-3).

Bottom 6th: Ngoepe walked, scored on fielder’s choice, Hanson safe at first (5-3); Hanson scored on Brown double (6-3).

Bottom 7th: Allie singled, scored on Broxton lineout (7-3).

Top 8th: Lisson doubled, scored on Villalona groundout (7-4); Oropesa walked, Zambrano singled, both scored on Miller single (7-6).