Hinske sees merits to bench in both leagues

Hinske sees merits to bench in both leagues

SAN FRANCISCO -- While spending the majority of his career in the American League, Eric Hinske grew accustomed to being a role player who found his name in the starting lineup as either a position player or designated hitter.

When Hinske signed with the Braves in January, he knew that his opportunities to be in the lineup would decrease. But at the same time, he looked forward to the opportunity to play more frequently via the pinch-hitting role that is utilized much more frequently in the National League.

"For me, it helps because you get to pinch-hit," Hinske said. "So I get my at-bats over here. But at the same time you have the luxury of starting more in the American League. I might start some game here, but I'm not an everyday player. So I just stay ready. Whenever my name is on that card, I go out there and do everything I can."

Hinske was scheduled to make his first start of the season at first base. Troy Glaus, who has hit .238 (5-for-21) and tallied six strikeouts through the first five games of the season, was given the day off.

Hinske has collected two hits -- a double and triple -- through his first four pinch-hit at-bats of the season. The veteran switch-hitter will likely see most of his time in the field spent at first base when the opposing team is starting a right-handed pitcher. He has hit .221 in his career against left-handers and .263 against right-handers.