Pirates bat pitcher eighth for first time since 1957

Updated: June 30, 2008, 8:59 PM ET
Associated Press

CINCINNATI -- The Pittsburgh Pirates became the third NL Central team to bat their pitcher eighth, dropping shortstop Jack Wilson to the bottom of the order Monday for a game against the Cincinnati Reds.

It was the first time since 1957 that a Pirates pitcher batted someplace other than ninth in the starting lineup, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Manager John Russell decided to let left-hander Paul Maholm, a .179 hitter, bat in the eighth spot against right-hander Aaron Harang. Wilson was batting .311 and had seven hits in his last 15 at-bats.

The St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers also have batted their starting pitchers eighth this season. Russell said the other teams' experiences didn't influence his decision.

"I don't foresee doing it every day," Russell said. "It seemed intriguing. Maybe we should try it to see what it looks like for us."

Russell likes the way No. 7 hitter Doug Mientkiewicz has been patient at the plate. If he gets on base, the pitcher can bunt him over, Russell said.

The last time a Pirates pitcher was in the starting lineup batting higher than ninth was April 18, 1957, according to Elias.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press