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 Leyland: Sheffield will hit third, Cabrera fifth

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PostSubject: Leyland: Sheffield will hit third, Cabrera fifth   Wed Feb 27, 2008 6:02 pm

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Leyland: Sheffield will hit third, Cabrera fifth

Tom Gage / The Detroit News

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The speculation can end about the Tigers' batting order. Manager Jim Leyland said that the lineup he used for Wednesday's exhibition opener against the New York Mets will be "THE" lineup.

In other words, it's the lineup he plans to use against right-handed pitchers heading into the regular season.

Here it is:

1. Curtis Granderson, CF

2. Placido Polanco, 2B

3. Gary Sheffield, DH

4. Magglio Ordonez, RF

5. Miguel Cabrera, 3B

6. Carlos Guillen, 1B

7. Edgar Renteria, SS

8. Pudge Rodriguez, C

9. Jacque Jones, LF

The one exception Wednesday against the Mets was that Sheffield didn't play. But when he does, and this was the biggest question involving the batting order, he'll hit third and Cabrera will hit fifth.

"I wasn't very good in math," said Leyland, "but I figured out that the four guys ahead of Cabrera hit an average of .320. So that made some sense.

"You guys can now quit asking me about it. This is my lineup, with Sheffield hitting third. When we face a left-hander, I'm not exactly sure, but (against right-handers) this is it.

"The guys were looking at it, and everyone seems happy. I feel it's the best way to go."


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PostSubject: Re: Leyland: Sheffield will hit third, Cabrera fifth   Wed Feb 27, 2008 9:09 pm

I'd switch them around, but that's okay.


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PostSubject: Re: Leyland: Sheffield will hit third, Cabrera fifth   Wed Feb 27, 2008 9:23 pm

catbox_9 wrote:
I'd switch them around, but that's okay.

Maybe they will against Left-handed pitchers


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PostSubject: Re: Leyland: Sheffield will hit third, Cabrera fifth   Wed Feb 27, 2008 10:21 pm

02/27/2008 7:10 PM ET
Notes: Tigers' lineup on display
Leyland confirms that new slugger Cabrera will hit fifth
By Jason Beck / MLB.com

LAKELAND, Fla. -- If those watching or listening to the broadcast of Wednesday's Spring Training opener analyzed the Tigers' lineup and wondered if it was a preview of the primary lineup, they'd be just about right.

"That's my lineup," manager Jim Leyland said to reporters, "with [Gary] Sheffield [batting] third. You guys can all be happy now."

Replace Timo Perez with Sheffield at DH, batting third, and the lineup is set. That means Miguel Cabrera will bat fifth behind Sheffield and cleanup hitter Magglio Ordonez, answering the question of where the newly arrived slugger would hit in the order.

The rest of the lineup played out as expected. Curtis Granderson and Placido Polanco will remain in the top two spots. Carlos Guillen will bat sixth behind Cabrera, followed by Edgar Renteria and Ivan Rodriguez. Jacque Jones, the additional left-handed bat in the lineup besides Granderson and switch-hitter Guillen, will bat ninth.

Cabrera primarily hit third or fourth for the Florida Marlins the last four years. That batting order, however, didn't have the balance that Detroit can boast if healthy this season.

Plus, as Leyland pointed out, Cabrera should have ample RBI opportunities given the hitters batting ahead of him.

"I wasn't very good in math, but I did some math the other day," Leyland said. "I figured out that the four guys hitting in front of Cabrera hit a combined average of .320. ... I did some math and I figured out that that made a little sense."

The math proves correct. Moreover, the lowest on-base percentage of the group last season belonged to Granderson at .361. Sheffield's stood at .378, Polanco at .388 and Ordonez at .404.

"A lot of guys think different, and it depends on your team, but I think the fifth spot and the seventh spot are two real good RBI spots."

Leyland will have Cabrera in one and Renteria, who has averaged 75 RBIs a season over the last six years and hit .299 with runners in scoring position for his career, in the other.

Cabrera brushed it off as a non-issue.

"I don't care," he said. "I want to be in the lineup. That's it."

Bonderman works without slider: After the elbow problems that marked Jeremy Bonderman's second half last season, simply staying healthy was a relative success on Wednesday. The fact that he gave up a couple runs in his two innings was secondary to getting his arm going and working on his secondary pitches.

"My arm felt good," Bonderman said. "Good velocity, good movement. My biggest thing was I saw movement on the ball late. It wasn't flat. got ground balls like I wanted."

Bonderman is again trying to hone an offspeed pitch. To help further that, he pitched without his slider by design on Wednesday. Bonderman plans to ease that in as the spring goes along.

"I feel like my changeup's come a long way," Bonderman said. "I threw a couple really good ones. I feel like I can throw it for strikes. I just don't want to throw breaking balls until I have to. I have that pitch down. [I need to] save my elbow as much as I can."

New Robertson on the way:
Nate Robertson was away from the team on Wednesday to be with his wife, Kristin, for the expected birth of their first child. Barring complications, he'll likely be on the mound Thursday afternoon for his scheduled start against the Blue Jays.

Quotable: "My 60 feet ain't no average 60 feet. I was still trying to throw hard. [Pitching coach] Chuck [Hernandez] had to take the ball away." -- Zumaya on playing catch for the first time on Tuesday

Up next: The Tigers stay home Thursday to host the Blue Jays in a 1:05 p.m. ET matchup at Joker Marchant Stadium. Nate Robertson is the scheduled starter, followed by Aquilino Lopez, Armando Galarraga, Jeff Gerbe, Matt Mantei and Bobby Seay. Jesse Litsch and Gustavo Chacin are among the pitchers slated to throw for Toronto.

[i]Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: Leyland: Sheffield will hit third, Cabrera fifth   Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:07 am

Trying not to get overexcited, but that lineup is hard to be calm about.

The Yankees already showed many times that a great offensive linup doesn't mean you're a winner, but still....wow!
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PostSubject: Re: Leyland: Sheffield will hit third, Cabrera fifth   Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:13 am

Oh ya! Nod could be an RBI machine!


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PostSubject: Re: Leyland: Sheffield will hit third, Cabrera fifth   Thu Feb 28, 2008 12:07 pm

If you think about Sheffield's ability to work the count, it makes sense to put him ahead of Magglio. And if you further think about Cabrera's raw power protecting Maggs, they're going to have to pitch to him whether they want to or not. And if Maggs continues to go the other way and not try to do too much, it's going to be a fun summer watching the runs pile up!
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