Pregame: Diaz steps it up v. lefties


TORONTO — Matt Diaz, who’s batting cleanup today for the third time this season, has seven hits in his past 14 at-bats against left-handers. The Blue Jays tonight will start Brett Cecil, a southpaw who spent the past two months at Triple-A, trying to punch up the velo on his fastball.

After a 1-for-19 start, Diaz has 18 hits in his past 52 at-bats against lefties. “He’s had a much better month, a more productive month,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He’s been able to flush some of the body out of his swing, so he’s not using just his body, his torso. He is using his hands much better.”

»»» Dusty Brown and Aaron Thompson cleared waivers. Brown was sent to Indy and Thompson to Altoona.

»»» Luis Silverio will be the third base coach tonight replacing Nick Leyva, who’s out with a sore back. Mark Strittmatter will coach first base.

Lineups for today’s game:

Pirates (40-39) – 1. Alex Presley lf, 2. Chase d’Arnaud 3b, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, Matt Diaz rf, 5. Lyle Overbay 1b, 6. Ronny Cedeno ss, 7. Brandon Wood dh, 8. Josh Harrison 2b, 9. Mike McKenry c. Pitcher: Jeff Karstens rhp (5-4, 2.66)

Blue Jays (40-41) –1. Yunel Escobar ss, Eric Thames rf, 3. Jose Bautista 3b, 4. Adam Lind 1b, 5. Edwin Encarnacion dh, 6. Aaron Hill 2b, 7. Corey Patterson lf, 8. J.P. Arenciba c, Rajai Davis cf. Pitcher: Brett Cecil lhp (1-2, 6.86)