Reyes making the case for utility job in 2019

PITTSBURGH — The Pirates have opportunities for 2019, and theyáre having auditions in the last month of the 2018 season.

The middle infield is likely to be different, and there are other openings as well.

Pablo Reyes is making his case to compete for a utility job next season. Entering Tuesdayás game against Kansas City, Reyes was batting .444 (8-for-18) with a home run and OPS of 1.190.

Those stats are the ultimate small sample size, of course, and thereás also the context of September. Players are likely to be competing against other minor leaguers in the last month.

But Reyesá live bat, enthusiasm and versatility have caught some attention.

âHe has a very quiet confidence,ã manager Clint Hurdle said. âItás been spoken about since heás been in the organization.ã

Reyes is infielder-sized at 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds, but the Pirates have also been using him in the outfield.

âItás not about size,ã Hurdle said. âItás about the bat in his hands and what he wants to do with it. I think he has that passion for the game that seems to get him out there with lack of reservation or anxiety…so far. Weáll see.

âAs heás worked his way through our minor league system, every manager has had similar comments — thereás no fear, thereás a willingness to just go play. Heás never going to miss his turn at bat, heás anxious to make something happen on the bases. For him, itás about scoring a run. On defense, itás about not letting the other team score.ã

Reyes, 25, was signed by the Pirates out of the Dominican Republic on May 31, 2012. He was signed as a second baseman.

In 110 games at Class AAA Indianapolis, he batted .289 with eight home runs, 36 runs batted in and 13 stolen bases with an OPS of .776.

Nice gesture

This was posted on Facebook by a woman from Milwaukee about her young daughterás ballpark experience:

âLast night I take Kinley to her first ever Brewers game! She was having an amazing time with glove in hand from the time we left the house Around the third inning a ball was thrown to her, which another little boy grabbed. She sat down and tears started rolling down her cheeks and she said, àI really wanted that ball, Mom!á My response of course was, àThereás no crying in baseball! Iám sure youáll get another chance to get a ball!á

At the end of the next inning, the Pirates first base coach walked over and handed her a ball. He said the second baseman, Josh Harrison, saw her crying and he wanted her to have it. She was so excited and so was I.

On the ball he wrote 1 Peter 5:6, which reads- âUnder Godás mighty hands He will lift you up in due time. Cast your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.á

Sometimes itás the little things in life that turn into big moments. What a beautiful moment, and I hope that if this is shared enough he might be able to read what an impact he made not only on Kinley but me too. Truly unbelievable.ã

Cervelli returns

Francisco Cervelli, a late scratch Monday because of flu-like symptoms, returned on Tuesday. He caught and batted fourth.

Mehno can be reached at: