Bucs shake up outfield for Niese

Gorkys Hernandez in left field and Josh Harrison in right? Not exactly the way the Bucs had drawn up their outfield in Spring Training, is it?

But that’s what will be surrounding Andrew McCutchen this afternoon at PNC Park when the Pirates take on Mets lefty Jonathon Niese.

Harrison remains a no-brainer. The little (5-foot-8) guy keeps hitting the stitches off the ball. And manager Clint Hurdle thought this was the perfect occasion to give Hernandez his first big-league start.

“The splits against Niese are significant enough. So we’ll take a shot at it,” Hurdle said.

Right-handed hitters aren’t exactly abusing Niese. Still, their .266 average against him is more than a hundred points higher than what left-handed batters have done (.160) with him. Most significantly, all eight homers off Niese have been by right-handed hitters.

Pedro Alvarez (Yamaico Navarro starts at third) joins Jose Tabata on the bench. Both are slumping. Hurdle counts on two straight days off (no game Thursday) will get them back on track.

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