Newcomers join Bucs at Wrigley
Hansen, Moss, LaRoche start anew with Pittsburgh
CHICAGO -- Craig Hansen walked through the doors of Wrigley Field's visiting clubhouse, paused and looked around.
Fortunately, he was quickly met by catcher Ryan Doumit, who immediately introduced himself. Adam LaRoche was next. Hansen was then pointed in the direction of his locker.
And with that, the introductions began for the first of the three newest members of the Pirates to arrive on Thursday.
Hansen, Andy LaRoche and Brandon Moss all flew to Chicago from different cities on Friday morning, getting to the ballpark just hours before game time. Both Moss and LaRoche arrived to find themselves in the starting lineup, with LaRoche at third and Moss starting in right.
Both Moss and LaRoche will be fixtures in the starting lineup for the rest of the season. Manager John Russell announced that LaRoche will start ahead of Jose Bautista at third. Moss will take Jason Bay's spot in left beginning on Saturday.
Russell started Moss in right on Friday simply because it's the more familiar position for the outfielder. Being Moss' first day with the club, Russell wanted to make Moss as comfortable as he could on Day 1. On Saturday, Steve Pearce is expected to return to playing right.
Moss, who was most recently with Triple-A Pawtucket, has been waiting for the opportunity to earn everyday playing time. He hadn't been able to get it in Boston with J.D. Drew and Manny Ramirez locked in as the starting corner outfielders. Now, the 24-year-old is being viewed as one of the young building blocks on the club.
"They've put a lot of faith in me and I'm going to go out and try and justify that faith and play as much baseball as I can," said Moss, who hit .295 in 34 games with Boston this season. "That's what you play for is the opportunity to play."
However, Moss is also well aware of the player he is replacing.
"Obviously, Jason Bay is Jason Bay," Moss said. "He's a great player. I'm not going to sit here and say that I'm going to be Jason Bay. He's been around for a number of years and is a good player. I'm just going to try and be the best player I can be."
As for Hansen, the 24-year-old reliever will step into a middle-relief role with the club immediately. Thursday marked the first time in his professional career that Hansen had been traded. He found out through hearing a report on ESPN, and admitted that it's all still soaking in.
"I was packing up my stuff and I was like, 'I'm not packing for a road trip. I'm packing for good,'" said Hansen. "But this is a great opportunity. I'm here. Let's win some games and have fun."
Neither of the two players have been to PNC Park, though apparently the reports on the ballpark have made their way to the Boston organization.
"I've heard it's a gorgeous park," Moss said. "I've heard it's a great baseball place."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.