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06/28/08 8:05 PM ET

LaRoche mired in season-long struggle

First baseman remains positive and feels he is coming around

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates first baseman Adam LaRoche, who has been mired in a season-long slump, was back in the lineup on Saturday night after getting a day off on Friday.

LaRoche batted .163 in April, .257 in May and he is batting .219 in June coming into Saturday's game. Despite the poor numbers, LaRoche remains positive and feels he is starting to come around at the plate.

"I feel some strides and I feel like it's coming," LaRoche said. "I'm really getting sick of saying, 'Yeah, it's coming, it's coming,' but it all comes down to just doing it. If I hit balls hard, that's all I can do right now.

"I'm not as concerned about getting hits, although it's great with some guys on base. I've got to get back to hitting some balls hard, which I feel like I did for two or three weeks and didn't get much to show for it. I got a few hits out of it, but it obviously comes down to, if you're hitting the ball hard you are going to get hits. "If you are consistently hitting balls hard, it's not going to be right at them forever. Eventually, it's going to drive guys in. So I'm going to keep going out every day. As long as I'm healthy and everything feels good, I'll keep going out and grinding away. It's amazing it never gets easier."

LaRoche has hit safely in seven of his last 11 games entering play on Saturday night and is batting .256 with a double, triple, homer and five RBIs.

George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.