A day before the first full squad workout, manager Ron Washington revealed his planned lineup for Opening Day. An animated Washington reiterated that Prince Fielder is his three-hole batter and that Adrian Beltre would remain in the cleanup spot.
In fact, Washington said the first five batters are “set in stone.”
Shin-Soo Choo will bat leadoff followed by Elvis Andrus, Fielder, Beltre and Alex Rios. Washington went on to say that, for now, Mitch Moreland is the six-hole batter followed by Geovany Soto, Jurickson Profar and Leonys Martin.
Washington has said all along that he liked Fielder in the three-hole with Beltre staying in the cleanup role. Why?
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“Because I wasn’t moving Beltre out of the fourth hole,” Washington said. “Prince has been the protector. Now he’s the protectee.”
Washington said he could careless about how his lineup might affect how an opposing manager uses his bullpen. He’s not afraid to have Fielder or Choo facing a left-hander, or Beltre and Rios being back-to-back for a potential right-handed setup reliever.
“Those guys are pros,” Washington said.
The six-through-nine spots in the lineup are subject to change, Washington said. But he does like Moreland batting sixth and Martin in the ninth hole. Washington referred to a common phrase used throughout baseball that the nine-hole hitter is essentially “the second leadoff hitter,” and said Martin fits the role perfectly with his speed and ability to steal bases.