McGehee an important early-season player

McGehee an important early-season player

LOS ANGELES -- Casey McGehee should be feeling like the bomb squad member who's called in when no one else can do the job. Cliff Lee and Clayton Kershaw? "Get me McGehee."

And the Pirates third baseman is loving the opportunity to start against the National League's top left-handed pitchers, as well as making the most of it.

In the early going, McGehee has looked less like the guy who struggled to a .233 average last season with the Brewers, and a lot more like the feared hitter who led Milwaukee in RBIs in 2010. Not coincidentally, McGehee has also been thinking like his '10 model.

"I've made it a point to just go with it, react to pitches and drive them the best I can," McGehee said. "Last year, I got into a trap of overthinking everything. Just trying a more relaxed approach."

Manager Clint Hurdle, who has noticed, said that "McGehee is going to be an interesting player for us," which could become one of 2012's top understatements.

Early Tuesday, McGehee gave indication he was pumped for his at-bats against Kershaw. He blasted numerous batting practice pitches into the seats -- including one majestic drive that nearly cleared the roof of Dodger Stadium's left-field pavilion into the parking lot.