2/24 Lineup options
Manager Mike Quade will post the lineup for the Cactus League opener on Friday and the only thing that appears to be set is that Aramis Ramirez will bat fourth. That’s been Ramirez’s spot for the majority of his career, and where he’s hit for the Cubs.
“I see him as such a good RBI guy that it makes sense in the four-hole,” Quade said Thursday of the third baseman, who has a career .293 average with runners on. “He’s a guy who, as much mixing and matching that I do, he doesn’t figure to be one of the guys I’ll mix and match with. Some guys don’t care [where they are in the lineup] and I know he does. He seems like the four-hole to me because I want him driving in runs. But I’m a grownup and I reserve the right to change my mind.”
So, expect some experimentation this spring. Quade would like to keep Starlin Castro No. 2. The shortstop does have speed and can bunt. Couldn’t he leadoff?
“No,” Quade said. “Because he’s young. … He hasn’t earned the right to figure he’s going to hit anywhere although he hit .300 in the two-hole. I think I’m smart enough to say, ‘Look, I’ll take .300 in the two-hole again.’”
Castro, entering his second season, still needs to learn pitch selection, still needs to get more experience.
“There’s all sorts of value for where he’s at right now,” Quade said of the shortstop, who turns 21 in March. “I’d like to think he will be talented enough to be that guy someday.”
– Carrie Muskat