PITTSBURGH -- Before batting practice on Saturday, Reds outfielder Ryan Ludwick was walking through the visiting clubhouse at PNC Park and singing along to a Kelly Clarkson song that was blaring through the speakers.

The line that Ludwick was heard singing -- from a tune called "Behind These Hazel Eyes -- was: "Here I am once again."

That was ironic, because the veteran outfielder appeared in 38 games for Pittsburgh last season after being acquired from the San Diego Padres at the July 31 Trade Deadline.

When what he was singing was called his attention, Ludwick laughed and said: "I didn't realize that. It's just what happened to be on the radio."

Ludwick, who signed with Cincinnati as a free agent in February, was in the starting lineup on Saturday, batting seventh and playing in left field.

"I love it here. They have a good team," Ludwick said of the Reds. "I think it's a team good enough to make a postseason run. Obviously we've got to play 162 games, and we got off to a slow start, but we've been playing pretty good baseball as of late and I really like our chances."

Cozart adjusting to leadoff role

PITTSBURGH -- Cincinnati shortstop Zack Cozart finished Saturday's game against the Pirates leading all National League rookies in runs scored (16), extra-base hits (12), total bases (45) and multi-hit games (eight).

Cozart contributed to those totals in Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Pirates, going 1-for-4 with an RBI double.

On Saturday, Cozart made his 11th start in the leadoff spot for the Reds. He batted in the two-hole during his other 13 starts this season.

"It's been a little adjustment, because I think I only hit leadoff 20 or so games in the Minor Leagues," Cozart said. "So, I hadn't really done it, but so far I feel comfortable there. I'm not changing my approach or anything."

The 26-year-old Cozart has been doing a good job setting the table for the the heart of the Reds' batting order.

"Hitting leadoff or two-hole, our job is to get on base for Joey [Votto] and Jay [Bruce] and Scott [Rolen] and those guys," Cozart said. "It makes it easier on us knowing that we're going to get some pitches to hit, and when we get on base they're going to knock us in."

Cozart has also been giving a good accounting of himself on defense, committing just two errors in his first 25 games.

"That's my most important job anyway," Cozart said. "Hitting is a secondary thing in my opinion. I feel pretty good out there, and if the pitchers trust me and I keep making all the plays, I'll continue to feel pretty good out there."

Homecoming for Hoover in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH -- Reds reliever J.J. Hoover is a graduate of Elizabeth-Forward High School in suburban Pittsburgh, and he's thrilled to be wearing a Major League uniform in his hometown this weekend.

The right-hander was acquired from the Atlanta Braves on April 1 and recalled from Triple-A Louisville on April 24 when left-hander Bill Bray was placed on the disabled list.

"I've wanted to do this since I was little, and now to be able to do it in my home area is just surreal," said Hoover, who has worked four scoreless innings over his first three big league appearances. "I can't even describe how it feels to be back here in Pittsburgh and playing at PNC Park."

Hoover was born in 1987 and he became a fan of the Pirates in the early 1990s, when the team captured three straight NL East Division titles (1990-1992) under skipper Jim Leyland.

"Oh I liked Jay Bell, Doug Drabek, Andy Van Slyke and all those guys," Hoover said. "They were fun to watch."

When asked if he's received a lot of ticket requests for this weekend, Hoover said: "Yeah I have, especially with this being a first time thing. But it's mostly family and people that have followed me. I'm hearing from some people I haven't heard from in awhile, but most people are busy with their own lives. They don't have to follow a Minor Leaguer."