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Cubs Vs. Pirates Lineups: Joe Mather Playing Center, Hitting Third

The Chicago Cubs (15-29) and Pittsburgh Pirates (20-24) square off on Friday night for their first such matchup of the 2012 MLB season.

UTIL Joe Mather gets the start in center field against SP A.J. Burnett -- who has pitched exceptionally after his first rough outing (12 earned runs in 2 and 2/3 innings). Mather will hit third for the first time of the season as SS Starlin Castro will hit second. Castro has hit third in each of the Cubs preceding games, but after yet another 1-run game from the Cubs offense on Wednesday night, manager Dale Svuem has elected to shuffle the order.

Mather, a former utility player for the St. Louis Cardinals, is on pace for a career-high 228 plate appearances this season, and has rewarded Svuem's faith in him with a strong .278/.371/.519 slash -- one of the best hitting performances from an underwhelming Cubs offense.

Cubs Lineup

With one addendum:

Pirates Lineup

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