Thursday, April 17, 2008

Trembley Tweaks Batting Order

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles shuffled their lineup a bit Thursday in the hopes of jostling their offense awake. Baltimore manager Dave Trembley swapped Luke Scott and Aubrey Huff in the lineup, allowing the left-handed-hitting Scott to bat fifth and Huff to bat sixth. In Trembley's mind, it's a way to get the bottom of the order a little more juice.

"What I'm trying to do is get something that will maybe break it open toward the end of the lineup," he said. "With the exception of [Adam Jones] the other day going 3-for-3 and hitting in the eight-hole, the guys that are hitting down in the lineup are coming up with guys on base and not getting the kind of at-bats I think we need to have. And not only to knock guys in, but to get on base. Maybe we'll roll that lineup over and get the guys that are hitting three and four up one more time."

Trembley also gave catcher Ramon Hernandez a night off on Thursday, which meant Jones, Guillermo Quiroz and shortstop Luis Hernandez comprised the bottom third of his batting order. The real crux of his lineup issues comes in the middle, where he's forced to bat three left-handed hitters in a four-batter span.

Trembley said he's considered moving Nick Markakis -- the team's No. 3 hitter -- up one slot in order to better space out Scott and Huff. However, he also said he doesn't want to disrupt Markakis without a good reason. Scott has been red-hot during the season's first few weeks, but Trembley said he still likes right-hander Kevin Millar batting fourth.

In other words, he needs to find another way to get Huff on track. The Orioles may be mired in a 2-6 skid, but Trembley doesn't want to do something for the short term that will be counterproductive over the long haul.

"We're kind of caught in a Catch-22 there," he said. "We've got two left-handed hitters. Am I going to hit somebody in between them to protect them? Am I going to have a right-handed hitter in front of them? I need to tinker with it.

"[But] I think once I start tinkering with it a great deal, then I show some panic. And I don't want to do that. We've got some guys that have played for a long time and hit for a long time."


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