There's one certainty in the Philadelphia Phillies' lineup: Ryan Howard will bat cleanup as usual.
Manager Charlie Manuel has plans to try various batting orders in the final 10 days of spring training, including moving Jimmy Rollins out of his customary leadoff spot. Of course, the lineup probably will change numerous times after the real games begin.
At least Manuel is sure about Howard hitting fourth. The 2006 NL MVP has been a fixture in that spot throughout his career.
"Howard is the only guy in our lineup capable of knocking in 130-150 runs," Manuel said.
Chase Utley will bat in his usual spot ahead of Howard most of the time except when Manuel wants to break up his string of left-handed hitters. He's got at least four lefties in the starting lineup: Howard, Utley, Domonic Brown and Ben Revere.
"We're not going to line up all of those left-handed hitters because when the season starts, we'll see better left-handed pitching," Manuel said. "They're going to save those left-handed pitchers for us. I don't think we can afford to hang four or five lefties in a row."
Utley could bat second against some lefties with Michael Young moving into the three-hole. Young can hit anywhere from second to sixth, depending on who is in the lineup on a given day. He'll likely start the season fifth to protect Howard until Delmon Young is ready to play. Young is recovering from ankle surgery and could be back by mid-April.
"Michael Young is going to be a real good player for us," Manuel said. "Not only is he going to hit, he will hit for a high average and he will show some power in the National League. He has a chance to hit more homers than people think."
Charlie Manuel considers various lineups for Phillies
Delaware County Times | Mar 21