The Pirates, rarely satisfied with the unexamined application of conventional wisdom, are considering moving Andrew McCutchen to the No. 2 spot in their order, writes ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark. McCutchen has been the Pirates’ No. 3 hitter for more than five seasons, but the Pirates think they might be able to score more runs batting second, because he’ll get more plate appearances, but also because they’ll have his high on-base percentage closer to the top of the order and because he won’t be coming up with two outs and the bases empty so much. “For 47 years, the baddest dude on the team hit third,” says manager Clint Hurdle. “Well, you know what? It shouldn’t be that way anymore. There’s a better way to get it done.” Here’s more from the Central divisions.
- GM John Mozeliak says the Cardinals’ signing of Ruben Tejada increases the team’s flexibility, MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince writes. “There is a level of fatigue in this game that was not discussed 10, 15, 20 years ago,” says Mozeliak, whose Cardinals were the victims of what seemed like an unusually long list of injuries last year (although Castrovince notes that they were lucky to have four players, including Peralta, appear in at least 150 games). “One of the things we wanted to do was just make sure, as the season turns to July, August and September, is just make sure our guys are fresh.” Tejada presumably will take over for Jhonny Peralta at shortstop while Peralta recovers from a thumb injury, with Jedd Gyorko returning to the utility role the Cards originally planned for him. But Tejada doesn’t seem to be taking a starting job for granted. “I just came here to play, to do my best,” he says through an interpreter. “Whatever my performance is on the field, there’s going to be a decision made [off of that].”
- Tigers catcher Bryan Holaday is generating interest from other teams, Peter Gammons tweets. Holaday is out of options, and the Tigers have two more established catchers in James McCann and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. So there might not be a roster spot for Holaday, unless the Tigers want to carry three catchers. (The Tigers have also experimented with using Holaday at third base and in the outfield this spring.) The 28-year-old Holaday, who split his time between Detroit and Triple-A Toledo last season, has hit brilliantly this year in Spring Training, for what little that’s worth — he has 11 hits, including four homers, in just 21 at-bats. His previous track record, including a career .251/.283/.340 line in the Majors, isn’t nearly so Ruthian, but it’s not surprising there would be at least some interest in a relatively young, cost-controlled catcher.