Newcomer Sutton inserted into leadoff spot

Newcomer Sutton inserted into leadoff spot

PHILADELPHIA -- Clint Hurdle is open to suggestion when it comes to the leadoff spot in his lineup. So much so that on Thursday, the Pirates manager inserted Drew Sutton into that role just two days after the 28-year-old made his debut with the organization.

"You look at the numbers of our leadoff hitters, that's not what we need," Hurdle said. "I mean, a .260 on-base percentage [for Alex Presley], a .288 on-base percentage [for Jose Tabata]. It's tough. And it's hard on them, because they want to do better, but this is the Major Leagues. It's not the try hard leagues. We've given both of them a number of at-bats, and you have to be able to find your way and produce as well."

Presley has hit just .244 in 19 games since he was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis, and Tabata, who is hitting .226, has struggled both at the plate and in the field at times, something that Hurdle believes may have to do with overcompensation after missing half of the 2011 season due to a left quad injury.

"[Tabata] either needs to work through it on the field here, or as we've talked about, the next option is the one we visited with Presley, which is to send him down," Hurdle said. "It can help him. It was able to help Alex for a period of time. He's getting some more challenges.

"It's like a pitcher that's afraid to hurt his shoulder. It's over and he needs to play. It's time."