Pearce confident hitting third in lineup

Pearce confident hitting third in lineup

HOUSTON -- In the first five years of Steve Pearce's Major League career, he had never batted third in a lineup. Since joining the Astros on July 28, Pearce has batted in the three hole three times.

That's where Pearce sat in the lineup for Wednesday night's game against the Nationals.

While the 29-year-old corner infielder may not have much Major League experience in the three hole, he said he came up through the Minor Leagues hitting third or fourth in the lineup.

"I'm comfortable there," Pearce said. "I'm not scared of the three hole."

Pearce tries to show more discipline when he hits third.

"You're not going to get the 2-0, 3-1 fastballs very often," Pearce said. "You just have to work the count, get your pitch and try to make the pitcher work."

Manager Brad Mills said the team will experiment with the third spot and the full lineup over the next few weeks. He put Pearce in the third position on Wednesday because of his plate discipline and ability to drive the ball, among other reasons.

"We want a guy that really puts good at-bats together," Mills said.

Fourteen Astros have batted third in the lineup this season, led by J.D. Martinez's 31 starts in the position. Batters in the third slot are batting .227/.308/.434 on the season, entering Wednesday.