Indians notebook: Batting order all shook up
A batting order almost crying for a shakeup got some serious shaking Tuesday.
Kenny Lofton was installed as the leadoff hitter and Grady Sizemore dropped to third in the order when the Indians hosted Detroit. Sizemore had batted leadoff in every game but one this season.
“It’s something we had been considering for the last week or so,” Manager Eric Wedge said. “This gets our core guys, our key people, in the middle of our lineup.”
The Indians had been hitting .234 as a team from July 23 through Monday, averaging 3.4 runs per game. Cleveland’s team average had dropped from .274 to .267 in that span, and the Indians had gone from second to seventh in the big leagues in runs scored.
Sizemore has hit leadoff most of his big-league career. He said he last batted No. 3 on a consistent basis at Double-A Akron in 2003.
“I won’t take any different approach than I normally take,” Sizemore said. “The only difference is, in my first at-bat, I might be up with guys on (base). That’s the only adjustment I’ll have to make.”
Sizemore said Wedge talked with him before making the change.
“I told (Wedge) many times I’ll hit wherever he wants me to hit,” Sizemore said. “Whatever he feels is the best lineup, he’s going to put it out there.”
Lofton has been a leadoff hitter for most of his career, but had batted second in nine of his 11 games with the Indians since being traded from Texas.
“It’s not so much comfort as I know the job I have to do,” Lofton said. “Hitting second, you have a little different job to do.”
Casey Blake batted second, Victor Martinez in the cleanup spot and Travis Hafner fifth against Tigers right-hander Jeremy Bonderman. Wedge said he is likely to leave Lofton and Sizemore in their new spots against left-handers as well.
The new lineup was the 88th batting order the Indians have used in 119 games.
“Grady is one of the best leadoff hitters in the game, but this is best for the team,” Wedge said.
COMING UP The series concludes tonight at 7:05. Fausto Carmona (13-7, 3.26) will start against Jair Jurrjens (0-0, 0.00).
INJURY REPORT Travis Hafner (left knee inflammation) was in the starting lineup for the first time since last Wednesday. He took early batting practice and jogged to first base before the game. “He’s playable,” Manager Eric Wedge said. ... OF David Dellucci (hamstring surgery) could begin a minor-league rehabilitation assignment next week.
ALL IS FORGIVEN Wedge said he had no intention of benching Jhonny Peralta for having been picked off with the bases loaded Sunday. “That’s not the way I operate, and it’s not the way anybody who has a feel for the game should operate,” Wedge said. “That would be very reactionary. It would be silly, to be honest with you.”
TRIBE VS. TIGERS Tuesday’s game began a stretch in which Central Division co-leaders Cleveland and Detroit play each other five times in 10 days. “I think it’s a great opportunity for us, and a great opportunity for them,” Wedge said. “It’s what you work hard for all winter. It’s what you put yourself in position to do.”
RETURN OF CHOO OF Shin-Soo Choo was activated from Triple-A Buffalo’s disabled list Monday and was 0-for-3 with two walks as a DH in a 5-4 loss to Scranton. Choo had been sidelined two months with a sprained ligament in his left elbow. The Bisons placed OF Jon Van Every (knee inflammation) on the DL.
THE DOTTED LINE The Indians have signed 38th-round draft pick Jonathan Williams (RHP, Tampa) and 46th-round pick Brock Simpson (OF, Kansas).
ON THE FARM RHP Santo Frias has been promoted from the Gulf Coast League Indians to Single-A Lake County. Frias was 2-3 with a 1.88 ERA and 47 strikeouts over 48 innings with the GCL team.
Reach Canton Repository sports writer Andy Call at (330) 580-8346 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.