Monday, May 05, 2008

Sheffield batting sixth and playing left field

The drastic move has been made - Gary Sheffield is going to play left field and bat sixth. Huh?
WDFN has tonight's starting line-up and some quotes from Jim Leyland. Here is how they will line up:

Granderson cf
Polanco 2b
Guillen 3b
Ordonez dh
Cabrera 1b
Sheffield lf
Joyce rf
Renteria ss
Rodriguez c

It was apparently Sheffield's idea to play left field as he thinks it will help his offense. I'm skeptical whether playing left is going to help him at the plate. I'm pretty sure it's not going to help them defensively as Magglio Ordonez is a better fielder and he will be the designated hitter.

At this point, it looks like a desperate move to me. There are a couple of scenarios where it might make sense though. If Sheffield does ok in left field, it might allow them to move Carlos Guillen to designated hitter and Brandon Inge to third base. For now though, Leyland wants Guillen to be the third baseman. The other possibility is that it might allow for a rotating designated hitter where they can use the spot to spell different players rather than always having Sheffield there.

The most puzzling thing about the change is that I am surprised they feel that Sheffield is healthy enough to play in the field. It seems pretty risky to have a player recovering from a shoulder injury to be playing left field where he'll have to make long throws and possibly crash into walls.

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