HOUSTON — The coaches have been working intensely with shortstop Ronny Cedeno the past couple of weeks. Manager John Russell didn’t mince words when asked what specific improvements Cedeno must make at the plate.
“The biggest thing is just using his talent,” Russell said. “He’s got a quick bat and he can drive the ball, but he gets in situations where he tries to force the ball.
“He’s trying to go up the middle, but in turn is kinda going the other way. He’s getting to his front side too quick, jumping at the ball, head movement — a multitude of things that cause problems.”
Russell and hitting coach Don Long have been telling Cedeno to stay back, see the ball longer and be aggressive in the zone.
“(Saturday), we told him that and he hit a (pinch-hit, RBI) double off the right-field wall,” Russell said. “He didn’t show as much the next day, though. It’s going to be a process.”
Cedeno started last night — only his second start in the past six games — and blasted a double to right in his first at-bat. He also hit a deep fly ball to center in the fourth inning, but was robbed of an extra-base hit when Michael Bourn made a fantastic catch. Cedeno is 3 for 32 in his last 10 games.
Lineups for this afternoon’s game:
Pirates (30-54) — 1. Andrew McCutchen cf, 2. Jose Tabata lf, 3. Neil Walker 2b, 4. Garrett Jones 1b, 5. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 6. Ryan Church rf, 7. Bobby Crosby ss, 8. Jason Jaramillo c, 9. Ross Ohlendorf (1-6, 4.397) rhp
Astros (34-51) — 1. Michael Bourn cf, 2. Jeff Keppinger 2b, 3. Lance Berkman 1b, 4. Carlos Lee lf, 5, Hunter Pence rf, 6. Jason Castro c, 7. Chris Johnson 3b, 8. Angel Sanchez ss, 9. Roy Oswalt (5-10, 3.32) rhp