Buck thriving as pinch-hitter, but will gladly start

Buck thriving as pinch-hitter, but will gladly start

HOUSTON -- Following the lead set by Matt Downs last year, Astros outfielder Travis Buck is among the top pinch-hitters in the National League one month into the season. That didn't stop manager Brad Mills from giving Buck his 10th start of the season, though, on Monday.

Buck, who is 5-for-7 with two doubles and a triple as a pinch-hitter, started in right field in the series opener against the Marlins in place of Brian Bogusevic.

"It's funny because people always say since I'm doing such a good job as a pinch-hitter right now, that's what my role might be, but I look at it as whenever I'm in the lineup, it's a great to get multiple at-bats," Buck said. "It can get kind of tough sometimes if you're pinch-hitting if you're not getting the at-bats every day and not seeing live pitching."

Buck entered Monday hitting .297 with a .366 on-base percentage and says he comes to the ballpark prepared to pinch-hit or start.

"The good thing about this team, and especially being in the outfield with Bogusevic, is we can kind of mix and match in a sense where each guy can get a couple of starts and see what they can do to get on a roll," Buck said. "I had my chance the first couple of games in Washington [April 16-17] and unfortunately I went down with a hamstring problem. It's a matter of taking it day by day and continuing to have good at-bats and get on base."