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Andy LaRoche replaces Bautista

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CHICAGO — Jose Bautista has been the Pirates’ third baseman in 252 games since 2004. No more. The Pirates are going in another direction.

“Right now, Andy LaRoche is our third baseman,” manager John Russell said this morning.

LaRoche is in the lineup batting fifth for this afternoon’s game against the Chicago Cubs. His plane landed around 10 a.m. CT, so I have not yet had a chance to talk with him. Suffice it to say, big brother Adam is beaming — even though he also grimaces every now and then because of the ribcage injury which landed him on the DL. More on those two later.

I spoke with Bautista this morning — shortly before Russell called him into the office for a private chat. But even before talking with Russell, Bautista knew what was up.

“If I end up losing playing time, it’s definitely going to affect me in some way,” Bautista said. “If I keep performing, they’ll find a spot here for me to play. If not, there will be other teams that will want me to play for them.”

Bautista stopped short of saying he’ll demand a trade.

“That’s they type of decision, I’ll have to consult my agent and see what my situation is after this season,” Bautista said. “I’m not ready to answer that question right now.” Lineups for today’s game against Chicago: Cubs — Not yet posted.

Pirates — Rivas 2B, Mientkiewicz 1B, McLouth CF, Doumit C, Andy LaRoche 3B, Moss RF, Michaels LF, Wilson SS, Karstens P
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