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Walker's plan vs. Dickey: keep him guessing

PITTSBURGH -- A couple of hours prior to stepping up against Toronto right-hander R.A. Dickey on Saturday night, Neil Walker still did not know which batter's box he would be stepping into -- left or right.

Would the switch-hitter buy into the theory/myth that knuckleball pitchers are easier to read by same-side batters?

"We were just talking about that, and Neil said it would be a game-time decision," Pirates batting coach Jeff Branson said on his way to the field for pregame batting practice. "Neil says he always batted right-handed against knuckleball pitchers in the Minors. He felt comfortable."

Walker was not in the lineup the most recent time the Pirates had faced Dickey, on Sept. 27, 2012, when with the Mets he notched his 20th win that season.

Walker went so far as to indicate to Branson that he would take swings from both sides when on-deck, then make his call on the way to the plate.

Walker was back in the lineup's two-hole, from where he had gone 3-for-4 in the Bucs' 6-5 walk-off win Friday night.

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer.
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