Lineup Shuffle

Not long ago Charlie Manuel had a remarkably predictable lineup.

He hit Jimmy Rolllins first, Shane Victorino or Placido Polanco second, Chase Utley third, Ryan Howard fourth and Jayson Werth or Pat Burrell fifth. But it is anybody’s guess how Manuel’s lineup will look the first few months of the season while Utley and Howard are sidelined with injuries.

“I’m still trying lineups,” Manuel said before tonight’s game at George M. Steinbrenner Field. “I like to look at some lineups and figure out the ones I like. See how we play. See how we go together. I’m looking for some balance.”

Manuel said throughout the spring he wants Rollins to hit first, but that was before Utley revealed he will be sidelined indefinitely because of a chronic knee injury.

Manuel had Juan Pierre hit leadoff Friday. Victorino hit second and Rollins hit third.

“Jimmy can hit in the three hole,” Manuel said. “When he’s hitting, he can hit anywhere. I’ve put him there before and he’s hit well.”

But Victorino and Hunter Pence could hit third, too. And they probably will at some point if the offense is not producing like Manuel expects.

“I think it’s going to take a few (lineups),” Manuel said. “We’ll see. We could have a different lineup a lot. I’m not saying every day, but we’re going to have some lineups. … I like Polly in the two-hole when he’s healthy, when he can run. I want to try Pierre at the top. Pierre, to me, has always been a top of the order hitter.”

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Pierre could earn more playing time in left field, especially if John Mayberry Jr. and Laynce Nix struggle.

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@zoowithroy throws down the gauntlet in our funnel cake feud!

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!
Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • April 2: Barnes & Noble in Plymouth Meeting, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 3: Chester County Book Company in West Chester, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.

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