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Pirates

Duffy returns to lineup

| Monday, March 20, 2006

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates centerfielder Chris Duffy didn't need long to regain his comfort at the plate.

Duffy smacked an 0-2 pitch pitch down the right field line for a ground-rule double Sunday in his first at-bat since suffering a mild concussion from being hit in the head by the Red Sox's Curt Schilling.

Duffy's return highlighted the Pirates' 9-7 win over the Toronto Blue Jays at McKechnie Field yesterday.

"Great at-bat: Two strikes and he ends up standing on second, goes to third on the passed ball and we get a run," said manager Jim Tracy.

"That type of energy ... to bring that to the table, like he does, that's what we need from him."

Duffy, was 1-for-4 with three strikeouts, will accompany the Pirates to St. Petersburg, Fla., today for their game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

The Pirates want to get Duffy as much playing time as possible in order to get hm ready for Opening Day on April 3.

"I'm not where I need to be by any means," Duffy said. "It's not so much that I need to play, though; I want to play. It's not going to take that much of a toll on my body to play everyday, if needed, from here on out."

Duffy retreated to the hitting cages after yesterday's to take extra batting practice.

"There are just some reps that I need to catch up with," said Duffy, who has taken only 22 at-bats this spring.

Tracy said that number could increase to 50 by spring training's end.

"We're going to speed him up a little bit," Tracy said. "You're going to see a guy who dials himself in."

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