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There Will Be No Pudge Batting Ninth

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With the Legion of Super-Heroes batting order that the Detroit Tigers figure to bring into the season, a pretty accomplished hitter is likely to fill that ninth spot in the lineup. The speculation during the offseason was that Pudge Rodriguez might be the #9 man, based mostly upon the merit of his diminishing skills (i.e., inability or refusal to draw a walk). The only thing that might keep Pudge out of that last spot was an acquiescence to his Hall of Fame career.

Well, I doubt "acquiescence" is what Jim Leyland would call it. But the Tigers' manager put the kibosh on any such chatter by announcing that Rodriguez will be batting eighth on Opening Day.

So who bats ninth? The leading candidate appears to be Jacque Jones, who could be something of a second leadoff hitter when he bats in front of Curtis Granderson. Unless Leyland prefers not to have two left-handed hitters hitting back-to-back in the order, in which case Edgar Renteria would be the likely choice. (I don't recall that sort of consideration being an issue with Leyland in the past, however.)