By Matt Popchock

PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — The Pirates enter Philadelphia this week in much better stead after making big statements against the Reds, Cardinals, and Braves at PNC Park, and they did it with refreshing contributions from fresh faces.

Bill Brink, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Pirates reporter, and author of the blog “Shots Across The Bow” on the PG website, joined 93.7 The Fan weekend host Tab Douglas to talk about the vast improvement in the Bucs’ bats, fueled in part by right fielder Travis Snider.

Snider, in his first full year with the club, has hit safely in each of his last eight games, hitting .428 (12-for-28) in that span with six doubles and eight runs scored, and thriving in the No. 2 spot in Clint Hurdle’s batting order.

The trade deadline deal that sent him to Pittsburgh last summer in exchange for oft-injured but highly-regarded reliever Brad Lincoln was met with mixed emotions from this fan base. However, Brink believes Snider, who battled a hamstring injury shortly after his arrival, is poised to make up for time lost both last season, and with his old club.

“They never really got him well, but now he’s healthy. His legs are good and his wrists, which bothered him in Toronto, are no longer an issue,” Brink said late Sunday night. “You can’t think of Brad Lincoln as a former first-round draft pick. You have to think of him as what he was at the time: a middle reliever.

“If you can deal a middle reliever for a guy with the potential Snider has–and we’ve seen it thus far–you have to look to make a deal like that.”

Brink began his Sunday evening conversation with Tab by saying Pirate fans of all persuasions should be impressed with the team coming off the conclusion of its 7-2 homestand:

He and Tab went on to discuss how the Joel Hanrahan trade this past winter, a far less popular move, has actually benefited the Bucs, with Jason Grilli, so far, making a seamless transition to his own new role.

Sticking with the subject of pitching, the two also debated how long the pitching staff can sustain with so many injuries and inconsistency outside of the performances of A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez.

For related reading and listening, check out our other Pirate podcasts by clicking here (for mobile users) or on the “Pirates” tab at the top of your desktop screen.

Plus, be sure to catch The Pirates Preview Show with Dan Zangrilli and Kevin Orie one hour and 20 minutes before first pitch on your flagship home for Bucco baseball, SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan.

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