Thursday, February 22, 2007

So I Guess 45 Million Dollars Can Indeed Be Wrong

Grady Little has just announced that Rafael Furcal will lead off next year, rather than the newly-minted Dodger Juan Pierre. Not one spring training pitch has been thrown or at bat has been taken, and yet Grady is already making announcements on Derek Lowe (Opening Day pitcher) and now Rafael Furcal. Whether right or wrong, it seems that Jason Schmidt and Pierre didn't have much of a chance to make their cases.

Little conceded he went back and forth over the decision, that "a ton" of factors went into it and he could change his mind if it isn't working out. He did not give a specific reason, however, for the final choice.

He said he would not ask Pierre to take on a more patient approach, as is usually the custom for a No. 2 hitter.

"We want him to handle the game as if he's a leadoff hitter," Little said of Pierre. "I don't want him to get out of character."

Little said his top two will likely be followed by Nomar Garciaparra, Jeff Kent and Luis Gonzalez. The final three spots leading up to the pitcher are likely to be filled by Russell Martin, Wilson Betemit and Andre Ethier, but Little would not commit to that.

So I guess all that's left is for Little to decide who will be the Opening Day catcher, Russell Martin or Kelly Stinnett.

UPDATE (6:09pm): To his credit, Pierre sounds very professional about not being the leadoff hitter:

"I've done nothing to warrant that I have to bat leadoff," said Pierre. "I'm not caught up on that. I'm in the lineup. If I wasn't in the lineup, we'd be having more of a discussion.

"There are bigger things to worry about than that. Sometimes you do things for the team, like Nomar [Garciaparra] last year playing first base. I'm not in the game to have prestige. It's not an ego thing. Whatever works, works."


Rob said...

Eh, not so fast.

Steve Sax said...

Actually, Rob, either leadoff candidate is plenty fast.