PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) - The acquisition of Aramis Ramirez has done more for the Pirates than exclusively providing them with the opportunity to throw a tenured veteran into the third base position.
Ramirez has been placed into the cleanup role in the batting order for the Pirates, which has provided manager Clint Hurdle with additional lineup flexibility.
Ramirez's presence has slid Neil Walker into the six hole, while placing Starling Marte and newly-injured Gregory Polanco to the top of the order.
"It lengthens the lineup out a little bit," Walker told Dan Zangrilli and Kevin Orie on 93-7 The Fan's Pirates Reaction show. "There are [now no areas in the lineup] for the pitcher to lay off the gas, and that speaks volumes to situations like Cervelli hitting as well as he is and us hitting all the way down the lineup."
Walker went 3 for 9 with 2 RBI in the six hole during the Pirates' two-game road sweep of the Minnesota Twins early this week. He credits his personal success to the new-look lineup.
"The two guys at the top now are both on-base threats, speed threats, and guys that can hit the ball out of the ballpark and hit the gaps, and that's pretty rare to have two guys like that, and our hopes are that those two guys continue to play well and be on base for the middle of the order guys so they can do some damage. The addition of Aramis just gives us that feeling that they can't get to the seven or eight spot and just move on to the next inning," said Walker.
Ramirez has gotten off to a slow start in his stint with the Bucs. The three-time All-Star picked up his first hits as a Pirate on Wednesday in a 2 for 5 day.
The full interview with Walker can be accessed below:
for more features.