The latest links from the NL Central…
- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle deserves to keep his job, but hasn’t yet earned an extension in the view of Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Pirates have officially extended Hurdle, a move that “seems unnecessary” to Morosi given the Pirates’ late-season struggles in 2011-12.
- Talent evaluators are doubtful Shin-Soo Choo can provide average center field defense, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com reports. Bowden, the former GM of the Reds, suggests Jay Bruce would shift to center field if Choo struggles. The Reds acquired Choo from the Indians in a three-team trade earlier this winter.
- Alex Gonzalez has played 13,207 2/3 innings of defense at the MLB level, and all of them have been at shortstop. Yet Gonzalez could play at first base this year, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports. The Brewers, who signed Gonzalez to a one-year deal earlier this month, have two injured first basemen in Corey Hart and Mat Gamel. Manager Ron Roenicke said he hopes Gonzalez embraces a utility role with the team. “If he’s wanting to play a long time, then he needs to be a utility man that can play all positions,” Roenicke said.