Bell back in lineup, but in right field for first time

Bell back in lineup, but in right field for first time

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates rookie slugger Josh Bell made his first career start in right field Thursday night in the series opener against the Reds at PNC Park.

Bell didn't start at first base in any of the three games of the series against the Cardinals, with John Jaso getting two starts and David Freese one.

"I just liked the matchups," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's plugged back in today."

Bell only played four games in right field in the Minors after transitioning to first base in 2014.

"He played once a week while he was down at [Triple-A] Indianapolis recently," Hurdle said. "He took fly balls for at least one group every day in batting practice. Had some reps out there, he's got more innings in right field than he does at first base. It was basically plugging it back in the wall and just reacclimating him. I don't think he had to knock a whole lot of dust off it. I wanted to get his bat back in the lineup, and I thought this might be a creative way to do it."

Part of the creativity has to do with outfielder Starling Marte remaining out of the lineup with back spasms. Hurdle wasn't sure if Marte would see action in this series.

"I don't know," Hurdle said. "He walked out on the field last night after the game and he reminded me of myself in 2014 going out there to make pitching changes. We'll have to wait and see."

George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Pirates on Thursday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.