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Buck gets a shot to hit third in lineup

Buck gets a shot to hit third in lineup

HOUSTON -- Outfielder Travis Buck became the fourth different player to occupy the No. 3 spot in Astros manager Brad Mills' lineup in the past four games, starting in right field Monday against the Cubs.

J.D. Martinez, who's hit third for much of the season but is mired in a slump, hit third on Friday, with Justin Maxwell batting third Saturday and Brian Bogusevic on Sunday. Mills perferred Buck on Monday because he had experience against Cubs starter Matt Garza.

"I want a guy that can put the bat on the ball and put it in play and maybe we can do some things," Mills said. "I'm not saying we can't do that with Bogie, because he brings speed and power to the table. Maybe just a different look is what we're looking for."

Buck, making his 15th start of the season, said hitting third doesn't come with a different approach.

"Hitting in front of Carlos [Lee], I'm going to see a lot more strikes, but I've always got to make sure they're pitches I can put in play and put some good swings on because I have a couple of guys ahead of me [Jose Altuve, Jed Lowrie] who are a little fast," Buck said. "I'll be able to live with the single, rather than somebody needing an extra-base hit to score. I'll be able to take advantage of hitting singles rather than looking for a pitch to drive in the gap."