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Channeling his inner La Russa, Hale hits pitcher 8th

Only second time in D-backs history a hurler has batted outside the No. 9 spot

PHOENIX -- Manager Chip Hale took a page out of D-backs chief baseball officer Tony La Russa's book Wednesday when he decided to hit pitcher Archie Bradley eighth rather than in the customary No. 9 spot.

It is only the second time in franchise history that a D-backs pitcher has hit eighth. The other time it happened came on June 4, 2008, when then-manager Bob Melvin put Micah Owings in the No. 8 spot.

La Russa, a Hall of Fame manager, employed that strategy quite a bit during his time managing the St. Louis Cardinals. His goal was to get more people on base for his No. 3 hitter, Albert Pujols.

Hale is looking to do the same thing for his No. 3 hitter, Paul Goldschmidt.

"Just trying to get some more guys on in front of Goldy is what it comes down to," Hale said.

With Bradley hitting eighth, shortstop Nick Ahmed, who is off to a slow start at the plate hitting just .122, was dropped to ninth.

"Maybe give Nick a chance to see some different pitches being behind the pitcher instead of being in front of him," Hale said. "And Archie can swing the bat a little bit. So you always want to do it with a pitcher you feel like can handle the bat and do some things."

Bradley, who signed with the D-backs in 2011 rather than accept a football scholarship to play quarterback at the University of Oklahoma, is not shy about taking his cuts at the plate.

"We're actually trying to tone him down a little bit with his swinging," Hale said. "He's a good athlete so I think eventually he's going to become a really good hitter in the Major Leagues."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.
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