Vazquez Provides Versatility
The Pirates have suffered through 16 consecutive losing seasons and Vazquez won't be the catalyst to lead them to respectability – he will be a valuable asset off the bench. The bench in 2008 was actually a bright spot for the Bucs, but players like Jason Michaels and Doug Mientkiewicz are gone and replaced by the versatile Vazquez who signed a two-year deal can play second, shortstop and third base. "I know can help the team a lot," Vazquez said. "I think there's not that many guys out there that can go out there and play 162 games – it's a long season and they need days off. To have me here is an advantage because I can go out there and play well at different positions." Vazquez was coveted by the Pirates this off season and they made it very clear that they wanted him on the ball club. "They were the ones that called first," Vazquez offered. "As soon as I became a free agent they were the first ones to call and tell me they were interested and told my agent they were interested and they never stopped calling or checking on me. I had to go with them." The 32-year old Vazquez played for Puerto Rico in the recent World Baseball Classic and that limited his time with his new team. "Before I left – I did a lot of work in different positions that I wasn't going to be playing much with Puerto Rico," Vazquez explained. "I've got plenty of time to get work in here and take ground balls at short and second and a little bit at first base. It's just routine work and I don't think it's really going to catch up to me. I will be ready for the season." With time winding down in spring training Vazquez knows that he will be ready to go in St. Louis on April 6. "I got enough at bats in the WBC," Vazquez said. "It's not like I went over there and didn't get enough at bats. I feel fine and I feel like I'm right where I want to be this spring. I'll be ready."