As the Pirates scrap and claw to hang around .500, one of the players responsible for their strong April start could be on the verge of losing his job.
"You want to get your lineup out that you feel can be the most effective," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told MLB.com. "I think an effective bat from Garrett Jones would put our lineup in a much better place, but at the same time, there comes a point when you try to find a Plan B or another answer to spark some things for your offense."Jones kicked the season off with a .265/.375/.500 line in April, looking more like the slugger that caught the attention of baseball back in 2009, when the then-28-year-old blasted 21 home runs in 358 plate appearances. He matched that home-run mark last season, but it came over a full year and with a batting average drop of almost 50 points. That left him with an unimpressive OPS of .720.
In May, Jones erased much of the positives from April by contributing a .179/.286/.299 line. Jones, who can play first base and left field, has been serving as the right fielder to date and is actually performing at an acceptable rate on defense, but that can't hide his offensive warts. And his offense is the reason he's in the lineup. Should Jones hit the bench, that will mean more playing time for Xavier Paul, claimed off waivers from the Dodgers earlier this season. Matt Diaz should also pick up more starts, but Diaz has been underperforming this year after being brought in to demolish left-handed pitchers.
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