The Pittsburgh Pirates finished with a .244 batting average during the 2011 season -- .247 average in the 1st half, .241 in the 2nd half.

Over the offseason, the Pirates signed shortstop Clint Barmes to a two-year deal, and catcher Rod Barajas to a one-year contract with an option for 2013.

The Pirates entered Grapefruit League action on Sunday with a team .278 batting average this spring. The club has seven active players that are hitting for a .300 clip or better. Two of those seven -- Andrew McCutchen (.327)  and Alex Presley (.333) -- are expected to be in the starting lineup.

“I thought that was something that we needed to take care of and become much better at this spring,” Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle said. “It’s the only opportune place we have to work and see it. So I was...

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