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Hurdle striving for stability with Pirates' lineup

Hurdle striving for stability with Pirates' lineup

PITTSBURGH -- Clint Hurdle has often talked admiringly of the 2012 Reds' starting rotation having included a quartet of 200-plus innings pitchers, viewing it as a key to their runaway NL Central title.

But perhaps the Pirates manager was also envious of the Reds' stable lineup, and has taken an early step to trying to keep up with it.

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"There's something to be said for continuity, guys walking in and not having to look at the lineup [to see who is playing]," Hurdle said. "The more guys you have who can play every day, the better team you're going to have."

Hurdle was speaking generically, not about the Reds. But Cincinnati last season did have four players with over 490 at-bats (even with Joey Votto missing much of the season with a left-knee injury). The Bucs had a pair, Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez.

For Wednesday night's game against the Cubs and Edwin Jackson, Hurdle rolled out the identical lineup he deployed in Monday's opener against another right-hander, Jeff Samardzija.

All last season, Hurdle used the same lineup in back-to-back games only six times, and not before May 25-26. Only once was it the same lineup for three straight games, wrapped around the All-Star break. With left-hander Travis Wood going for Chicago in Thursday afternoon's series finale, that isn't going to happen yet.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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