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Jaso of all trades: Former catcher starts in RF

Dreadlocked veteran proving defensive versatility for Hurdle, Bucs
MLB.com

BRADENTON, Fla. -- As if playing a relatively unfamiliar position wasn't enough of a challenge, John Jaso's first Spring Training start in right field came on a particularly windy Friday afternoon at LECOM Park during the Pirates' 5-2 win over the Orioles.

"The elements were in full force today," Jaso said. "It was pretty crazy."

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- As if playing a relatively unfamiliar position wasn't enough of a challenge, John Jaso's first Spring Training start in right field came on a particularly windy Friday afternoon at LECOM Park during the Pirates' 5-2 win over the Orioles.

"The elements were in full force today," Jaso said. "It was pretty crazy."

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Jaso caught the first ball hit his way, settling under Trey Mancini's high fly for the first out of the second inning. The next batter, Johnny Giavotella, launched another fly ball that got caught in the wind, drifted toward the foul line and landed out of Jaso's reach.

With his signature dreadlocks tied back in a ponytail, Jaso snagged Welington Castillo's fly ball to right in the fifth inning.

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"It's a tough day to play the outfield for anybody," manager Clint Hurdle said. "I thought he went out there and did a very professional job."

Jaso has two Major League appearances in right field. He played two innings in right for the Rays in 2015, and last June 21, a series of lineup changes led Jaso to right field for 1 1/3 innings. He has never started there during the regular season.

But when concussions forced him to move from catcher, Jaso began taking more fly balls in the outfield before games. He started seven games in left field for the Rays two years ago.

Video: Hurdle on Jaso's role with Pirates moving forward

"We're all used to being out there in the outfield or during BP. It was fun," Jaso said. "It was good that I had the opportunity to go out there and play a little bit, get my feet wet out there."

The Pirates will keep Jaso involved at first base, where he practiced during Friday's pregame drills. Jaso, who moved to first last year, is expected to work more often in the outfield this spring while also seeing time at third base.

Around the horn

• Non-roster infielder Jason Rogers, who wore a walking boot Friday morning, is temporarily sidelined with right ankle discomfort. Rogers rolled his ankle before Wednesday's game, when he had been scheduled to play left field, and sat out. He will be re-evaluated in a week, the club announced.

• Starter Jameson Taillon's next outing is scheduled for Sunday, giving him two extra days of rest between appearances. Taillon is already slated to pitch the Bucs' second game of the year at Fenway Park on April 5.

"Just stretching him out. We've got a lot of different things that'll happen along the way that may not be normal," Hurdle said. "We've got different reps and routines, so there'll be some things that will come along that might look like an outlier but they're just kind of planned along the way to give guys breaks."

• Saturday's game against the Red Sox will be available on MLB Network in the Pittsburgh area. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET at LECOM Park.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

Pittsburgh Pirates, John Jaso