PITTSBURGH -- With the Pirates' decision not to exercise Ronny Cedeno's club option for 2012, it has initiated discussion about who might replace Cedeno at short next season.
The Pirates are exploring the available external options -- those who are free agents and those who might be available via the trade market -- but also not ruling out the possibility of Cedeno's successor coming from within. The most likely internal replacement would be Chase d'Arnaud, with Pedro Ciriaco another option.
Then there is Josh Harrison, who agreed to go to instructional league at the end of the Major League season to get repetition at short. Even still, it seems unlikely that the club would consider handing over the shortstop job to Harrison next season.
The decision to have Harrison work out at a position he only played once in the Minors was primarily to increase his versatility. It was not intended to get him ready to start regularly at short.
"How do we see him fitting with our club next year? Probably in a utility role," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "But we're not going to hold him back if he shows that he can continue to develop and continue to get better."
Harrison made his Major League debut in 2011 and fared fairly well, especially given the fact that he didn't even participate in Major League camp during Spring Training. Though his plate discipline needs to improve, Harrison hit .272 and scored 21 runs in 195 at-bats. His on-base percentage suffered because he only drew three walks.
As Harrison emerged from the Minors, there were questions about his defensive ability. He did not, however, expose himself as a defensive liability when filling in at third or second last year. As a result, he has to be considered one of the top candidates to win a spot as an extra infielder in 2012. He's just unlikely to begin the year as a starter.
"Josh is one of those players that grows on you the more you see him play," Huntington said. "He's a gamer. He has great effort, great energy, very positive. He gives you everything he has every single day."
Cole struggles during AFL Rising Stars Game
PITTSBURGH -- Selected as the East team's starting pitcher for the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game on Saturday, Pirates prospect Gerrit Cole had a performance he'll likely soon forget.
Cole, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, faced seven batters and was unable to make it through the first inning in the East's 11-2 loss to the West. The West squad began the first inning with three straight hits off Cole, including a two-run homer from Seattle prospect Nick Franklin.
Cole allowed a three-run homer later in the inning before being pulled with two outs. He was charged with five earned runs on four hits and one walk.
The struggles were an aberration from Cole's recent AFL results. In his three starts before the Rising Stars Game, Cole allowed one earned run on five hits and two walks in 9 2/3 innings.
Pirates outfield prospect Robbie Grossman also appeared in the Rising Stars Game. Grossman hit leadoff and started in right field. He finished 0-for-3 with one strikeout and one walk.
The AFL regular season ends on Nov. 17.
Pirates remove Correia from 60-day DL
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates have taken starter Kevin Correia off the 60-day disabled list, thereby adding the veteran right-hander back onto the team's 40-man roster.
That puts the total number of players on the roster at 34. The six openings, which were created when the Pirates declined several club options and outrighted other players last week, give the Pirates plenty of flexibility to make offseason additions.
Some of those spots will be filled by players the Pirates sign; other openings will eventually be occupied by prospects that the Pirates want to protect from the Rule 5 Draft.
Correia landed on the disabled list on Aug. 20 after suffering a strained left oblique muscle. He made 26 starts for the Pirates in 2011 and finished 12-11 with a 4.79 ERA. Only two of those wins came at home.
Correia is signed through 2012 and is set to earn $3 million next year.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.