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Wanted: Leadoff Man

Posted By Dave Allen On May 7 2010 @ 9:19 pm In Cincinnati Reds | No Comments

Everyone had hoped that the late addition last year of rookie Drew Stubbs to the leadoff spot in the Reds lineup had solved that shortcoming for 2010. If spring training was any indication, the Reds were going to be fine at the leadoff spot as the competition between Stubbs and Chris Dickerson were causing both players to perform well. But, Dickerson is on the DL and Stubbs is struggling worse than he ever has at any time in his career, and the Reds leadoff position in the order has reached critical mass.

So the Reds have turned to veteran Orlando Cabrera to bat leadoff. Manager Dusty Baker told the media on Friday that this was a temporary fix.

“It’ll be for at least the next couple of days because Orlando says his legs are feeling better,” said Baker. “I thought seriously about doing it before, but his legs weren’t feeling that good with the cold. Now that the weather’s a little bit warmer, he’s feeling better.”

Is Cabrera the best choice? Some fans have suggested catcher Ryan Hanigan should bat leadoff for awhile because of his high average so far this season. Hanigan wasn’t even in the lineup on Friday as Ramon Hernandez got the nod.

Baker says Stubbs will go back to leadoff when he gets out of his slump. “That’s what everybody doesn’t understand,” Baker said. “Drew’s best suited for that situation with the way he can run. We’re trying to help him make contact and stay out of the air. Look at his groundball-flyball ratio. I had a long talk with him today.”

There’s no a leadoff solution at Triple-A Louisville. “Everybody wants somebody new, but who’s better?” asked Baker.

General Manager Walt Jocketty is keenly aware of the situation and has been looking for ways to fix it. There’s no solution that he’s been able to find. In Cincinnati Enquirer beat writer John Fay’s blog, Jocketty said, “I don’t think we have anyone in the minors capable of the filling that role. And, frankly, there’s no one available in trade right now. I think we’re going to try to fix it internally. We may be able to do something in trade later.

“We don’t have anyone in Triple-A ready to step into that role.”

Baker seems to be getting frustrated. “Sometimes I feel like a little kid with his finger in the dike,” Baker said. ”You plug one hole and you’ve got another.”

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