All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera may find himself batting second in a Cleveland Indians lineup that is rife with new names.
The goal of new Tribe skipper Terry Francona would be to put a switch hitter between the left-handed Michael Bourn — currently slated to bat lead-off and play center field — and the left-handed Jason Kipnis.
“Cabrera is certainly a candidate for something like that,” Francona said on Monday. “Just because we want to split it up and balance the lineup. There’s a lot of different options — Bourn, it’s not really an issue, because his splits are almost identical. It’s just trying to not make it harder, especially Kipnis and Brantley. It’s not that they can’t hit lefties, but I’d rather not have a manager look up and say this inning is made for [a lefty pitcher].”
Batting Cabrera second would then allow Francona to then bat newly labeled switch-hitting first baseman Nick Swisher in the clean-up spot, with the switch-hitting Carlos Santana and right-handed Mark Reynolds likely rounding out the team’s top six. This is all in stark contrast to the predominantly left-handed lineup the Indians used in 2012 that saw the team struggle mightily against southpaw pitchers.
Cabrera, before he was forced to move into the middle of the Indians’ lineup due to a lack of alternative resources, predominantly hit second throughout his career in the majors. Through 326 games at that slot in the lineup, the Silver Slugger-award winner has produced a slash line of .281/.332/.425 (.756 OPS) with 33 home runs, 75 doubles and 164 RBI.
[Related: The Diff: Debunking myths about Michael Bourn]