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Arizona Diamondbacks

Updated Mar 2, 2013 - 1:40 pm

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson trying to find ‘the right mix' with batting order

Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson, right, talks with Tony Sipp during a spring training baseball workout on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

For the second time in a week, Gerardo Parra found his name next to the No. 3 on the lineup card.

"I never hit third in the big leagues," he said.

And it's unlikely he will once the regular season begins.

"When you're in third, it's a productive place," manager Kirk Gibson said. "You get multiple guys on you'd like to get multiple runs. You like to see guys drive the ball in gaps, occasionally hit one out of the ballpark."

That doesn't sound like Parra but there he was hitting third against the Reds Thursday in Goodyear. The move paid off with Parra going 3-for-4 with three RBI.

This spring, Gibson is tinkering.

"I think, all in all for the most part, the guys like to kind of know they're going to play and know where they're going to hit," he said. "Maybe that's ideal, but I think early in the year you're probably play more guys, move guys around more and try to find the right combinations. It doesn't always work out that way. You try and find the right mix and go with that and if you have to change it, you have to change it. You just got to do it."

The hope is Adam Eaton becomes the everyday leadoff hitter. After that though, all bets are off.

Aaron Hill, based off last season's success (.302 batting average, 26 HR and 85 RBI), could resume his role as the two-hole hitter. But with Justin Upton's departure perhaps Hill is better suited as the No. 3 hitter, which is where Gibson has inserted him the most this spring, including Saturday before he was scratched because of a tight left quad.

And then there is newcomer Martin Prado.

"He's hit the most in the second spot," Gibson said. "At the same time, you get a guy on base; you know he's going to put the ball in play. Part of me says that I may put him at five. At the same time, he gets on base a lot. He's comfortable at the top of the order. Do I change him; does he get away from what he does best? Maybe I take an at-bat a game away from him if I move him down too far as well. There's a lot of things that you look into. I'll move him around."

According to Baseball-Reference.com, Gibson moved a lot of guys around last season, using 140 different batting orders (not counting pitchers).

Parra may not get a chance in the regular season to hit third, but it's a good bet several will.

"[I] put him there (Thursday) just kind of balance the lineup out: left, right, left, right," Gibson said of batting Parra third. "And I just really sit back and watch how they react to the situation as well."

About the Author


School: Syracuse University, '96

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: December 1, 1999

Favorite sports memory: Game 7, 2001 World Series

Least-favorite sports memory: Game 1, 1988 World Series

Favorite all-time athlete(s): Larry Bird, Don Mattingly

Favorite sports movies: Hoosiers, Field of Dreams

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