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03/31/08 3:58 PM ET
Bochy shuffles Giants' opening lineup
Aurilia inserted between lefties; Rowand dropped to sixth
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Even before the season officially began, manager Bruce Bochy felt compelled to stimulate the Giants' lineup. After stating all offseason and Spring Training that center fielder Aaron Rowand would bat fifth, Bochy dropped Rowand to sixth and made other accompanying changes to the batting order for Monday's season opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bochy explained that he wanted to alternate left- and right-handed batters against right-hander Brad Penny, the Dodgers' starter. The Giants finished the exhibition season by scoring three runs or fewer in their final five games, prompting Bochy's moves. "We've been sputtering a little bit offensively," he said. Thus, right-handed-hitting Rich Aurilia batted second, between left-handed leadoff man Dave Roberts and switch-hitter Randy Winn. After right-handed cleanup hitter Bengie Molina came switch-batting Ray Durham, followed by the right-handed Rowand. Right-handed batters Jose Castillo and Brian Bocock completed the batting order ahead of pitcher Barry Zito. For one day, at least, Bochy opted for experience over youth by starting Roberts in left field ahead of Fred Lewis and Durham at second base instead of Eugenio Velez. Bochy cited the veterans' familiarity with Penny as a chief factor in his decision. Roberts entered the game batting .344 (11-for-32) off Penny; Durham was hitting .261 (6-for-23) lifetime off the Dodgers ace.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.