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Banister will tailor lineup to opposing pitcher

Andrus bats in cleanup spot for first time in finale vs. Royals
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister does not believe in set "static" lineups. He tailors his lineup each game the way he feels is best to face the opposing pitcher.

Banister reaffirmed that on Sunday when he had Elvis Andrus hitting cleanup against Royals right-hander Jason Hammel in the series finale. Andrus said it's the first time he has ever hit cleanup at any level in his life.

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ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister does not believe in set "static" lineups. He tailors his lineup each game the way he feels is best to face the opposing pitcher.

Banister reaffirmed that on Sunday when he had Elvis Andrus hitting cleanup against Royals right-hander Jason Hammel in the series finale. Andrus said it's the first time he has ever hit cleanup at any level in his life.

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"Carlos Gomez told me," Andrus said. "I think he is jealous."

Banister wanted to give first baseman Mike Napoli a day off and saw Andrus as the best right-handed option between left-handed-hitting Nomar Mazara in the No. 3 spot and Rougned Odor in the No. 5 hole.

"I don't think Babe Ruth exists anymore," Banister said. "Of course, he hit in the No. 3 hole. When I look at the lineup and think about the hitters we put in the lineup, I don't look at it that [cleanup] is for a wall-banger who can hit the ball out of the park.

"It's how we connect hitters. Who do we want to have the extra at-bats around at the end of the game. I like having a right-handed bat there and when you look at our right-handed batters, he has been the most productive. This is about constructing a lineup that can put runs on the board against an opposing pitcher."

Andrus entered the game with four hits in nine career at-bats against Hammel.

"It's how you create offense," Banister said. "It's easy to have the same lineup and go. If it works great. ... I don't think we have a static lineup."

Sunday was the first game Napoli was out of the lineup this season. He hit a home run on Saturday night in the Rangers' 2-1 victory, but still has just five hits in his last 37 at-bats.

"I'm trying to get to the point where I feel good every single time up," Napoli said. "It's always better grinding if we are winning. It's tougher if you're not playing well and you're not winning. Being able to grind when we're winning is a lot better. The stress and anxiety, it takes it off a little bit. I have been here before. It's not the first time."

Being out of the lineup did not mean a complete day off.

"If I need Napoli to hit, I'll give him a cup of coffee and tell him to go up and hit," Banister said.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers