Wash experiments with Prince-less lineup
DETROIT -- The absence of Prince Fielder is causing manager Ron Washington to experiment with his lineup, trying to find the right combination. It remains a steep uphill challenge trying to camouflage the loss of Fielder.
On Saturday, Washington moved Shin-Soo Choo back in the leadoff spot and inserted Mitch Moreland in the No. 3 spot for the first time in his career.
"We'll just see how Mitch handles the No. 3 hole," Washington said. "I'm just trying to get something that works daily. I'm going to try a lot of things."
Washington tried Leonys Martin in the leadoff spot on Friday night, but he was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. So Martin was in the seventh spot on Saturday.
"Right now he just hasn't come to the point in his career where he is disciplined," Washington said. "He's still learning to hit with two strikes. He is a very aggressive guy, if you take that away, you lose who Martin is."
Choo went into Saturday's game hitting .209 but with a .343 on-base percentage with two strikes. Martin was hitting .173 but with a .215 on-base percentage in two-strike counts. Choo can afford to be patient as a leadoff hitter because he can handle two-strike counts. Martin doesn't have that ability yet.
"He tries too hard to be a leadoff hitter," Washington said. "We want him to be Martin."
Catcher Chris Gimenez, who had four hits on Thursday, was in the No. 6 spot and Donnie Murphy was in the No. 8 spot as the Rangers' right-handed designated hitter with a right-hander on the mound for the Tigers. Gimenez went into the game with a career .209 batting average and a .298 slugging percentage. He was also hitting .157 against right-handed pitchers. Murphy was hitting .192 against right-handers this season and .215 for his career.