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Report: Pirates may be among teams with interest in veteran shortstop Troy Tulowitzki | TribLIVE.com
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Report: Pirates may be among teams with interest in veteran shortstop Troy Tulowitzki

Jerry DiPaola
| Tuesday, December 18, 2018 10:21 a.m
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Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki runs past the ball on an RBI single by Boston Red Sox’s Dustin Pedroia during the fourth inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Wednesday, July 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ search for a starting shortstop may include five-time All-Star Troy Tulowitzki, MLB Network reported. Tulowitzki, 34, started for Pirates manager Clint Hurdle as a rookie in Colorado in 2007, helping the Rockies reach the World Series.

The Pirates are one of several teams that have reportedly shown interest in Tulowitzki, who hasn’t played since July 28, 2017, due to ankle and foot injuries. He missed the entire 2018 season after having bone spurs surgically removed from both feet.

If Tulowitzki is healthy enough to resume his career, a team could sign him for the MLB minimum because he is owed $38 million by the Toronto Blue Jays for the final two years of his contract.

Two seasons ago, Tulowitzki played 131 games, all but three at shortstop, hitting 24 home runs, driving in 79 runs and hitting .254 with 218 total bases and a 3.4 Wins Above Replacement. For his 12-year career, he has 224 home runs, 779 RBIs and a .290 batting average.

For most of his career, he was one of the game’s best-hitting shortstops and had a three-year run from 2009-2011 when he totaled 89 home runs, 292 RBIs and hit .297, .315 and .302.

The Pirates are looking for a replacement for shortstop Jordy Mercer, who signed with the Detroit Tigers. The current candidates are utility man Erik Gonzalez, acquired via trade from the Cleveland Indians this off-season, and rookie Kevin Newman, who underwhelmed in 31 games late last season. Newman hit .209, with no homers and six RBIs.

Before the Pirates’ interest in Tulowitzki surfaced, general manager Neal Huntington talked earlier this month about improving the overall roster by various means.

“We like Gonzalez as a quality defender with upside offense,” he told the Tribune-Review. “Newman is just a solid, steady professional hitter with solid, steady defense.

“We’ll continue to look and see if there’s something out there that makes sense and makes us better. If not, we are comfortable with the upside of Newman and Gonzalez.

“We like the overall position player group. But is there someone, some role, some skill set that makes us better?”

The Pirates also are considering free agent shortstop Freddy Galvis, according to the New Yorkl Post. Galvis hit .248 with 13 homers and 67 RBIs last season for the San Diego Padres.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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