Left fielder Nyjer Morgan will be out of action for at least two days after tweaking his left hamstring.
Morgan felt what he said was “a little, baby tug” in his leg as he made a running catch of Troy Tulowitzky’s fly ball in the eighth inning Friday. It’s the same hammy Morgan hurt last season when he stepped awkwardly on first base in Milwaukee.
“It’s not bad,” Morgan said. “I could play, but I’d rather look after it. It’s a long year, and I don’t want to aggravate it. I don’t want to be a punk, but I have to be smart about it.”
Morgan ranks second among National League leadoff hitters with a .384 on-base percentage and third with a .304 batting average.
• Tonight, Delwyn Young is batting leadoff and playing in right field. Brandon Moss is in left. Manager John Russell likes what he’s seen so far from Young.
“I really like his approach,” Russell said. “He’s not a free-swinging guy, but he’s got the ability to drive the ball. He keeps a very solid base, which keeps him on balance, which gives him a chance to make a better pass at the ball. He uses the whole field and he can drive the ball to both sides.”
Russell did not want to move Nate McLouth out of the No. 3 hole, but someone atop the lineup with Morgan on the shelf. Young’s approach is patient enough for Russell to be confident in him at the leadoff spot.
“We needed a guy who’s going to see some pitches and not be a three-and-out type guy,” Russell said. “(Young) is going to work the count a little bit. But if he gets a pitch to hit, he’s got the ability to drive it.”
As a starter, Young can afford to show more patience at the plate than he can when he’s pinch-hitting.
“He’s got a good knack for hitting fastballs,” Russell said. “The thing I was taught when I started pinch-hitting late in my career was, ‘Thou shalt not let a fastball go by.’ It made a lot of sense once I started doing it, because once you (let one go by), you probably won’t see another one. I think (Young) has that ability once he sees a good pitch to hit, he’s ready to hit it. But also as a starter, he has the patience to wait for a good pitch to hit. At a young age, that’s not easy to do.”
• The Pirates and Cincinnati Reds will play a day/night doubleheader Aug. 31 at Great American Ballpark. The 1:10 p.m. game is a makeup of the April 10 game which was rained out. The regularly scheduled game will start at 7:10 p.m.