PITTSBURGH -- Garrett Jones is likely to remain in the organization into next year. He's somewhat versatile, an intriguing power threat and will come at a reasonable cost in 2012, even though he will be a first-year arbitration-eligible player this offseason.
What role Jones will come back in, however, remains very much up for debate.
Two-thirds of the way into this season it looked as if the Pirates were poised to move on from using Jones as an everyday player. In fact, the team added a first baseman (Derrek Lee) and corner outfielder (Ryan Ludwick) at the Trade Deadline largely because Jones was unreliable to produce regularly at either position.
But since the team made those Deadline acquisitions, Jones has done nothing but reach base consistently. Highlighted by his walk-off homer in Tuesday's 5-4, 11-inning win over the Cardinals, Jones is batting .333 with six doubles, four homers and eight RBIs this month. He's going to get a chance to continue the roll, too, as the Pirates plan to use him as the team's first baseman with Lee on the disabled list.
And make no mistake -- how Jones fares during these last two months will be critical in the Pirates' evaluations going into next season.
"I've been given a great opportunity here, a chance to play on a regular basis," Jones said. "It's just up to me to contribute to the team and to show the coaches and the staff that I can help the team win on a consistent basis. I think the next few months are definitely going to stick in their head going into the offseason."
Jones began the year splitting time in right field with Matt Diaz, though neither player performed up to expectations. And now, with Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata and Alex Presley appearing to be the immediate answers in the outfield, Jones isn't likely to find all that much playing time there.
He could be a fit at first base beyond this year, but that will only happen if Jones can do enough over the last six weeks of the year to convince the Pirates to entrust him with a starting role next year.
"I'm getting to see what everyone has seen. I haven't seen that [production before now]," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's continued to persevere. He wants to play. He wants reps wherever he can get them. We've had a couple very meaningful conversations, and he believes there's no more in there."
Ohlendorf likely candidate for twin bill start
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates are leaning toward calling up Ross Ohlendorf to start one of the two games the club will play in a doubleheader against Milwaukee on Monday, said manager Clint Hurdle. Jeff Karstens, whose normal day to pitch is Monday, is likely to start the other game of the twin bill.
Pittsburgh had been leaving Brad Lincoln open as a spot starter option, but Lincoln's chances at getting the nod have been hurt by his lack of recent work. Since throwing 40 pitches in a two-inning appearance on Aug. 7, Lincoln has made one 14-pitch outing. That came back on Aug. 10.
Lincoln is continuing to throw on the side, but those sessions haven't been designed to specifically keep him stretched out.
Ohlendorf, on the other hand, just threw 94 pitches in a seven-inning start for Triple-A Indianapolis on Tuesday. The outing was Ohlendorf's first since coming off the disabled list and being optioned to the Minors. He allowed two runs on six hits and one walk while striking out five.
To bring Ohlendorf up, the Pirates would have to clear a spot on the 25-man roster. Because that roster move is necessary, Pittsburgh isn't expected to officially announce Ohlendorf as Monday's starter until after Sunday's game.
Snyder advancing in rehab workouts
PITTSBURGH -- Catcher Chris Snyder increased his workout routine again on Tuesday and is prepared to begin throwing and taking dry swings at the end of next week. Snyder has been sidelined since injuring his lower back on June 8. He underwent surgery to repair a herniated disc two days later.
"I get to bring a glove and a bat with me this time," Snyder said of the team's upcoming road trip. "Where that takes me is week to week, day to day. I'll be throwing, swinging on this next road trip. I'm going to try and keep going in the right direction."
Asked if he expected to return to the field this season, Snyder said it was too early to make any specific predictions. He is still not running and has been limited to only part of his normal workout routine since recently being cleared to start exercising again.
Jose Tabata made his Major League debut in right field on Wednesday. He had previously made 157 starts in left and 11 in center. The idea of playing Tabata in right is intriguing to the Pirates, and the club will likely position Tabata there when Alex Presley comes off the disabled list. Tabata played right field extensively in the Minors.
State College catcher Samuel Gonzalez earned the MiLB.com New York-Penn League Top Star Award for his performance in the NYPL All-Star Game on Tuesday night. Gonzalez had a two-run double and scored a run in the National League's victory. Spikes outfielder Wes Freeman also started for the NL squad and finished 1-for-3 with a double and run scored.
Gonzalez is the third Pirates Minor Leaguer to take home All-Star MVP honors. Brock Holt (Double-A Altoona) and Aaron Baker (Class A Advanced) both did so earlier this summer.
With three more scoreless innings of relief on Tuesday, Double-A righty Bryan Morris has now allowed just one earned run in his last nine appearances (12 innings) with Altoona. Morris has walked two and struck out nine during that span.
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.