Sandberg hopes to find right hitter for two-hole
Avoiding string of lefties atop lineup could factor into Phillies manager's decision
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies had one of the least productive offenses in baseball last year, and after trading Jimmy Rollins and Marlon Byrd in the offseason, things might not be any easier in 2015.
It is tough to figure out a lineup without Rollins and Byrd. It is early, but Ben Revere figures to hit first. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard could hit third and fourth, respectively. But if that holds true, who hits second?
Grady Sizemore could hit there, but that would give the Phillies four consecutive left-handed hitters. Carlos Ruiz could hit second, but then who hits behind Howard?
"It is early, but Freddy [Galvis] is a switch-hitter," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He could be a plus there if playing that type of game. Cesar Hernandez down the road, if he happened to be on the team sometime in the summer time, he could be a candidate. Chooch [Ruiz] has had some success there with his ability to use the whole field and is a right-handed bat. Sizemore, depending on who's hitting leadoff and who's pitching that day. There's some options there. I haven't penciled in any lineups yet obviously, but there's some options."
One problem is the Phillies have few right-handed bats other than Ruiz, Darin Ruf, Maikel Franco and Jeff Francoeur, who is a non-roster invitee. So Sandberg has to be careful with where he places them so there isn't a string of left-handers hitting in succession, making life easier for opposing managers in the late innings.