Nate McLouth evidently wants nothing to do with the Mendoza Line-level hitter he was the past three seasons in Atlanta.

"That guy's gone," he said. "You won't see him again."

That remains to be seen in real games, of course, but McLouth's return to the Pirates is at least off to a strong spring: His two-run home run in the seventh inning Wednesday beat the Boston Red Sox, 6-5, at McKechnie Field, and it raised his average to .400 — 8 for 20 — with two doubles and three RBI.

"I really was hoping for a good start. That was going to be very important," McLouth said.

The home run, in his first at-bat as a late replacement, came off a 2-0 fastball and wound up in the water beyond right field.

McLouth and hitting coach Gregg Ritchie had worked in recent days on getting more loft into balls he already was pulling solidly.

"Nice to see that rewarded," McLouth said.