The "hittin' fool" is coming home. Matt Diaz, who spent the previous five seasons with the Atlanta Braves, rejoined his former team after the Pittsburgh Pirates traded Diaz to the Braves for a player to be named later.
The Braves were looking for a right-handed hitting bench player to complement Eric Hinske. With such a lefty-heavy lineup, Diaz will serve as a valuable pinch-hitter and spot starter against tough left-handed pitching. The addition will also have a positive effect on team chemistry, as Diaz was a beloved teammate for years.
In five seasons with the Braves, Diaz hit .305 with 41 home runs with an absurd .369 average and .975 OPS against lefties. While his overall season this year has been a disappointment, he has still hit .295 against left-handers.
"Hopefully, baseball-wise, getting back here where people know my funky swing, I can get something to click and put on a push here at the end of a the season," Diaz said.
There's no question he will be a positive presence in the clubhouse, but judging from his past performance against lefties, Diaz should provide an even bigger spark on the field.
"When the guys heard that we acquired [Diaz], they were excited," Fredi Gonzalez said. "He's a great teammate, very well liked. I think he's going to fit right in. What a big piece to have off the bench or even playing against certain left-handers."
Diaz was inserted into the starting lineup Wednesday night against lefty John Lannan and recorded two hits.
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