Abreu makes first start Saturday

Abreu makes first start Saturday

PHOENIX -- D-backs utility infielder Tony Abreu was slated to make his first start of the young season Saturday against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Chase Field, filling in for Stephen Drew at shortstop and inheriting Drew's No. 2 lineup slot.

Abreu played an inning of defense and singled off reliever Hayden Penn in Arizona's Friday night 9-1 win over the Pirates.

"I don't get to play every day, so getting [a start] today is good," Abreu said, adding he hasn't been given any playing-time assurances.

Manager A.J. Hinch said he has made a concerted effort to offer early opportunities to Abreu, outfielder Gerardo Parra and catcher Chris Snyder, three key members of the squad's bench.

"It's hard to get those guys starts because I don't want to take our starters out very often," Hinch said.

Parra and Snyder both started and snared a base hit last Wednesday against the San Diego Padres; Abreu is the last of the trio to get his turn.

Abreu, who backs up Drew at short and Kelly Johnson at second base, batted .345 in his first Spring Training as a member of the D-backs.

"Early going, I'm forcing him in there because [there are] so many off days," Hinch said. "I want to keep him sharp because he swung the bat so well during Spring Training.

"He can play every day if we needed him to."