BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Pirates manager John Russell plans to begin the season with his pitcher hitting eighth, a move that will shift Andrew McCutchen from leadoff to second in the batting order.
When the Pirates start the season April 5 against Los Angeles, Russell plans to hit shortstop Ronny Cedeno ninth, followed by second baseman and lead-off hitter Akinori Iwamura and McCutchen.
McCutchen will occasionally lead off, the spot where he batted .286 after being recalled from the minors in June. Iwamura has experience as a leadoff hitter, batting .275 with a .350 on-base percentage for AL champion Tampa Bay in 2008.
The Pirates had a 13-20 record in 2008 and a 2-4 mark last season when Russell batted his pitcher eighth.