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Delwyn Young homered Saturday night and is batting .346 when he's in the lineup. Brandon Moss hit safely in five of his past six games and is power threat against right-handed pitchers.
So when it came time to choose a starting right fielder Sunday against Kansas City Royals righty Zack Greinke, Pirates manager John Russell chose ... Eric Hinske.
"Put 'em in a hat, pull one out and see how it works," Russell said with a chuckle.
The decision-making process, of course, is not nearly as simple as that. It's difficult, too, considering the recent success by Young and Moss and the presence of Hinske and Steve Pearce.
"It's a nice problem to have," Russell said.
Before making his choice, Russell huddles in his office with hitting coach Don Long and bench coach Gary Varsho.
"We talk about what might be the best matchup that night," Russell said. "We look at the time between starts, matchups, gut feelings sometimes."
Last week, Moss made three straight starts in right after showing signs of life at the plate. To stay sharp, Young played Saturday.
"We really like the way Delwyn and Brandon are playing," Russell said. "Eric gives us veteran leadership, and he needs to play every once in a while as well."
Hinske went 0-for-4, but he contributed a nifty defensive play. In the seventh inning, Hinske dove to snag Mitch Maier's blooper in shallow right.
The odd man out is Pearce, a natural first baseman who was called up June 21 after Craig Monroe was designated for assignment.
"We put Steve in a tough spot by dropping him back into right field for just two games before he came up," general manager Neal Huntington said. "Young and Moss are better right fielders. Hinske could arguably be a better right fielder than Steve. So there may not be many at-bats for Steve."
Huntington said Russell has done a great job of mixing and matching right fielders. But Huntington would prefer that it didn't have to happen.
"We love for one of those guys to just go bananas for a month, never look back, take the job and keep it for the next 10 years," Huntington said. "But until that point, (Young and Moss) both deserve opportunities out there. They've both shown enough that intrigues us."
The Pirates are happy with the veteran leadership Eric Hinske has provided this season.
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