Tucker: "I am just learning and taking it all in as it comes.”

After a rough start, the Bucs rookie shortstop is finding his way as a big league hitter.

Noah Hiles
June 05, 2019 - 11:37 pm

© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – Following an exciting start to his big league career, life in the show was not easy for Cole Tucker; at least at the plate it wasn’t. After recording an extra base-hit in each of his first three games in the majors, Tucker fell upon some hard times at the dish, hitting just .152 throughout the entire month of May. However, through a combination of down time and guidance from a veteran teammate, Tucker is showing progress as a hitter, scavenging for seven hits in his last 19 at bats.

 “Obviously you want to be in there every day, you want to play as much as you can and help the team as much as you can,” Tucker said. “I’ve never really came off the bench before in my career. I am learning about double switches and pinch hitting."

“I’ve got a really good guy to learn from in Melky Cabrera. When I am on the bench he is usually on the bench too. He’s been doing it for years as a switch hitter, a guy whose come of the bench throughout his career and had a ton of success so I am just learning and taking it all in as it comes.”

When he arrived to the big leagues, there was little to no time at all for Tucker to get his feet wet. With both Erik Gonzalez and Kevin Newman on the Injured list, Tucker was the Pirates only true shortstop, getting a large majority of the playing time.

However, now with Newman healthy and having notable success both at the plate and in the field, the 22 year-old rookie has been given an opportunity to receive some much needed down time. Tucker has started just once in the past week. As a result, he is showing major signs of improvement.

Despite the lack of at-bats, he seems to be hitting better than ever before, going 6-10 with a pair of doubles and two RBI in his last four games, boosting his batting average from .154 to .198 as the club entered its game against Atlanta on Wednesday.

Prior to getting called up to the majors, Tucker was just getting acclimated in Indianapolis with the Bucs AAA affiliate. Normally, a young, high end prospect like Tucker would be expected to spend at least a full season in triple-A before the front office even thinks of promoting him to the highest level. However, the Bucs injury struggles forced Cole to find his way to the North Shore much earlier than he and many other expected.

For Tucker, while the call up is still something he is surprised by, he is working to make sure he never takes his time with the Pirates for granted.

“It’s nuts. I was in triple A for two weeks, I was kind of expecting to be there for the rest of the year. It’s exciting, you want to be in the big leagues. You want to be a major league baseball player, you work your whole life to be that. So to get this opportunity to come up here and help us win is a dream come true. Every day you see something new that you haven’t seen before and I am loving every minute of it.”