Osuna: “I Just Had To Keep Working So I Could Get Back On The Team”

After not making the Opening Day roster, Jose Osuna worked extra hard to find his way back to the majors.

Noah Hiles
May 13, 2018 - 3:26 pm

© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – As the Pirates left Bradenton, Florida this past spring, General Manager Neal Huntington decided to follow the current National League trend and carry one less position player to have an extra man in the bullpen. With the Pirates entering Sunday 23-16 and tied for the lead of the NL Central division, it seems as though Huntington’s decision was the correct one. However, though the move proved to be effective, it unfortunately took away opportunities from some players with serious big league potential.

One of those players is Jose Osuna. Last season as a rookie, Osuna showed flashes of serious power at the plate, hitting seven home runs in a utility role throughout 104 games. When it was announced that the Pirates were going to enter the 2018 regular season with one man less on their bench, Osuna became the odd man out.

While many young players would have been discouraged by not making the Opening Day roster after being with the big league club for a majority of the season prior, Osuna says that he directed all of his attention toward getting back to the show.

“I just had to keep working so I could get back on the team,” said Osuna. “That’s the only thing that I can control.”

Though some young players might not make the Opening Day roster, it is not uncommon for the front office to inform them that they will be used at the major league level during the season. However, for Osuna, there was no such promise following spring training.

“No one said I was going to be here,” said Osuna. “I just have to enjoy the opportunity.”

In his first month back at AAA Indianapolis, Osuna made it clear that he was big league ready. In 23 games, Osuna had 28 hits, including 12 doubles and three home runs. Osuna also drove in 18 runs and had a slash line of .359/.409/.628. As a result of his big numbers at the plate, Osuna was named International League player of the month in April.

Since being called up for the second game of the Pirates double header against the Detroit Tigers on April 25, Osuna has been doing everything possible to remain on the big league roster. In his first at bat in the majors this season, he hit a three run homer off of the Tigers Matthew Boyd in the Pirates 8-3 victory. Pirates fans were once again exposed to Osuna’s raw power on Friday night, when Osuna hit a two run pinch hit home run in the bottom of the fourth inning which would end up putting the team ahead for good.

Along with the added focus to remain in the major leagues, Osuna says that a lot of his success at the plate has come from what he learned in his first year in the big leagues.

“Now I feel a little more confident,” said Osuna. “When you have that experience of playing almost a year in the show so you feel more confident here, winter ball and spring training, which helps a lot.”

One of the things his MLB experience has helped him with is patience at the plate. While at times last season Osuna was overaggressive in the batters box, he says that now it is about keeping things calm.

“I tried to change my routine for this year,” said Osuna. “I tried to be simple and not think too much at the plate and I have had good results this year.”

While Osuna was excited to join the Pirates last season to make his major league debut, he says that it was extra special being able to come up to a team that is near or at the top of the standings.  

“We are playing really good,” said Osuna. “We feel like we are doing everything together which is the most important thing. From the offense to the pitching staff, everybody is contributing something to help us win games.”