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Pregame: Cutch 3rd, Snyder out, Pearce in

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Andrew McCutchen signs autographs for Yankees fans this morning in the vistors' dugout at George M. (as in Money) Steinbrenner Field

Andrew McCutchen signs autographs for Yankees fans this morning in the vistors' dugout at George M. (as in Money) Steinbrenner Field

TAMPA — Get used to the lineup the Pirates are using today against the Yanks, ’cause you’ll be seeing a lot this season. Manager Clint Hurdle is eager to see how Andrew McCutchen responds in the No. 3 spot in the batting order.

“I want to see it play out in the season,” Hurdle said. “There are some things in spring training, I’ve watched enough of them, that never translate. I’ve watched guys hit, then not hit. I’ve watched guys pitch, then not pitch. And I’ve seen the opposite of it. I want to see it in the season, when we’re doing things that count and when at-bats have more importance.”

When asked about hitting third, McCutchen shrugged.

“Yeah, sure. I embrace it,” McCutchen said. “There’s really no difference. The only thing that changes is the situation; my approach doesn’t change. I’ll have more of an opportunity to drive in runs, of course. That’s all that changes.”

»»» Catcher Chris Snyder was scratched from the lineup due to a cranky lower back. Snyder missed two weeks due to the injury, then caught Thursday night against the Orioles. Yesterday, he was sore again.

There’s no word from the Pirates about the severity of this injury. Originally, it seemed like no big deal, but then it lingered and flared up again. In 2009, Snyder missed three months to a back injury and had surgery after the season.

“Maybe I did a little too much, too soon,” Snyder said. “We’re going to have to see (about the severity), come next week. I couldn’t tell you right now.”

Time’s running out on spring training. After today, the Pirates play two games in Florida and two in Philly.

“It could have an impact on our catching situation,” Hurdle said. “We need to re-evaluate and revisit what the issues are. For it to happen again after just catching a night game … we’ll see. It definitely could jeopardize what we do with the roster and who goes with us.”

The injury could force Snyder onto the DL, or at least nudge the Pirates toward breaking camp with three catchers. If Jason Jaramillo (who’s catching today in Snyder’s place) makes the club, there likely will not be room for outfielder John Bowker, who’s out of minor league options.

»»» This morning, four players — lefty Brian Burres, infielder Andy Marte, catcher Dusty Brown and utilityman Corey Wimberly — were reassigned to minor league camp. Marte’s departure practically clinches a roster spot for Steve Pearce.

Lineups for this afternoon’s game:

Pirates – 1. Jose Tabata lf, 2. Neil Walker 2b, 3. Andrew McCutchen, 4. Lyle Overbay 1b, 5. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 6. Garrett Jones rf, 7. Ronny Cedeno ss, 8. Jason Jaramillo c, 9. Kevin Correia, rhp.

Yankees – 1. Brett Gardner cf, 2. Derek Jeter ss, 3. Mark Teixeira 1b, 4. Alex Rodriguez 3b, 5. Nick Swisher rf, 6. Jorge Posada dh, 7. Chris Dickerson lf, 8. Eduardo Nunez 2b, 9. Austin Romine c. Manny Bauelos, lhp.

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