Macha ponders Hart, Hardy flip
Brewers skipper undecided on batting order as season looms
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Brewers manager Ken Macha is considering flipping J.J. Hardy and Corey Hart in a batting order that remains in flux one week before Opening Day.Hardy, the shortstop, hit second for most of last season and Hart, the right fielder, hit fifth, but they swapped spots for Tuesday's game against the Padres. Macha likes the idea of maximizing Hart's speed, and Hardy has been on fire in Spring Training and would provide some nice protection against teams pitching around cleanup hitter Prince Fielder.
By dropping Hardy in the order, Macha would also hope to limit double plays. Hardy led the team in that category last season with 18."I think with Corey up there, there aren't going to be a lot of double plays, and we'll have runners out there for Braun and Prince," Macha said. "And Hardy has handled everything well this spring." The six and seven holes are also a work in progress. Center fielder Mike Cameron and third baseman Bill Hall will fill those spots, but the order has yet to be determined. For a time, Macha considered alternating second baseman Rickie Weeks and catcher Jason Kendall in the leadoff spot, but Weeks' hot spring appears to have halted those plans. "We've got a few more [exhibition] games so let's see how it works out," Macha said. "The lineup is going to end up working itself out." Hall was out of the lineup on Tuesday after having a tooth extracted and Craig Counsell started in his stead. Hall should return to action on Wednesday at Maryvale Baseball Park, when Counsell is expected to decide whether to undergo surgery to repair a cartilage tear in his right knee or to play through the injury.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.