Church starting to come around

Church starting to come around

PITTSBURGH -- Ryan Church's bases-clearing double on Friday might not have been enough to help the Pirates halt their losing streak, but the outfielder is certainly hopeful that it will kick-start him personally.

Before drilling that seventh-inning double, Church had just six hits and three RBIs in 68 at-bats since May 6. Most recently, he was mired in a 2-for-37 funk. This slump came after Church began the season with a .288 average, seven extra-base hits and seven RBIs in his first 19 games.

The outfielder dealt with a bruised right wrist through much of May before being stricken with the stomach flu for almost a week earlier this month. Through it all, manager John Russell continued giving Church fairly regular starts in order to get the outfielder going. Church finally rewarded Russell's persistence and patience, as well as his own, on Friday.

"I feel great," Church said. "I'm confident. It's almost there. It's about ready to click. It's all about staying positive. We've all been there. We've all struggled. It's just how you go about it. I've been working my butt off to get back in there. It's starting to come around. I'm starting to get some better swings on some balls. I'm starting to hit it on the barrel.

"Hopefully, this will translate into some good things."

With the Indians starting left-hander David Huff on Saturday, Church was not in the lineup. He'll likely be back in there for the series finale on Sunday, though, with Cleveland sending a right-hander to the mound.