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Fredi mixing and matching defenders vs. Bucs

PITTSBURGH -- Manager Fredi Gonzalez toyed with the idea of using Evan Gattis at first base on Thursday night while Gerald Laird handled his duties as Julio Teheran's primary catcher, but he instead opted to keep Gattis out of his starting lineup for the first time since April 6.

Gonzalez did not feel comfortable using Gattis as his first baseman in consecutive games, but he plans to give the rookie catcher his second career start at first base on Friday night, when Laird is scheduled to serve as the starting catcher in a second consecutive game for the first time this year.

Laird's opportunity to play on Friday night will come because of his previous success against the Pirates' scheduled starter, Wandy Rodriguez. Laird has four hits, including a double, in seven career at-bats against Rodriguez.

The Pirates started left-handers in the first two games of this four-game series, and Gonzalez did not want Juan Francisco's hot bat on the bench in two consecutive games. Thus he opted to give Francisco a chance to prove himself against a left-hander during Thursday's matchup against Jeff Locke, a former Braves prospect who was making his 13th career start.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for
Read More: Atlanta Braves, Gerald Laird, Evan Gattis, Luis Avilan, Tim Hudson