Rajai Davis made his first start as a Pittsburgh Pirate on Tuesday night against the Washington Nationals in RFK Stadium. He had just been called up from AAA Indianapolis, and manager Jim Tracy is anxious to see what he can do that current center fielder Chris Duffy can’t and vice versa. His biggest question is which can hit better against left-handers. This is important as the Pirates are scheduled to bat against four left handed pitchers, including all three games of their series against the Nationals. Davis is expected to excel in this department considering the right-handed batter hit .329 against left-handers in Indianapolis. Duffy, the left-handed batter, has hit .208 against left-handers with the Pirates this season.

Davis is 26 and spent 20 games with the Pirates last season, but he did not make a single start. In the winter, he missed a good chunk of the Venezuelan winter league season because of a sore right shoulder. When Nyjer Morgan was moved up from AA Altoona to play center field and bat leadoff for Indianapolis, Davis was moved to right field and the number two spot in the lineup. Then, to his luck, Morgan suffered a thumb injury, and Davis returned to the top spot where he excelled, even having a 21-game winning streak. Now he is out to prove what he can do in the majors.

While Duffy is not batting .300, he is not in a huge slump either. He is currently batting .241, but has had a recent .292 stint with 7 of his 14 hits going for extra bases. As for the decision to bring Davis up and give him some competition for his spot, Duffy seems fine with it, considering himself “a Davis fan.”

While Duffy is known as the speedster of the team, last night, Tracy put Davis first in the lineup behind Jose Bautista, who has recently been in the top spot and has hit .316 in that position. He hopes to see Davis’s speed come through for them with Bautista getting on base. Let’s just hope that the switch doesn’t hurt Bautista’s hitting as it did to Jack Wilson when he moved from the second to the eighth spot in the lineup. Luckily, Jack seems to be coming back, and let’s hope Bautista doesn’t need to do the same.

There is also the question of why Nate McClouth hasn’t been used either aside from the occasional pinch hit at bat. And, if Davis excels, what will happen to Duffy? These are all wait and see questions, and it will be fun to see what happens.

For related articles visit http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07157/791815-63.stm and http://mlb.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player_id=434658.

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