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Weiss values versatility in Rox batting order


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Asked if he had begun putting together his batting order, new Rockies manager Walt Weiss answered: "About 65 or 70 of them."

Since being hired in November, Weiss has discussed the value of versatility and is willing to ask players to be prepared to be flexible when it comes to a lineup spot.

Realistically, center fielder Dexter Fowler in the leadoff spot, left fielder Carlos Gonzalez hitting third and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki batting cleanup are expected to be constants. Beyond that, there could be much tweaking.

Second baseman Josh Rutledge's speed and his ability to handle the bat and third baseman/first baseman/catcher Jordan Pacheco's inside-out swing make them candidates for the second spot. How Weiss employs slugger types Michael Cuddyer and Wilin Rosario, and where he places veteran first baseman Todd Helton, could be fluid.

"The thing I like is we've got some athletes, and we've got some versatile guys," said Weiss, whose willingness to be creative with his lineup is an offshoot from playing for Tony La Russa with the Athletics early in his career. "There's a nice combination of speed and power, and guys that are professional hitters. We'll mess around a little bit.

"There will be some moving parts in the lineup. When we start up, we may fall into patterns, but it comes down to communicating with guys. If there's something a little different, I'll mention it to them."

Weiss said he is open to looking at Rosario in the fifth position, where Helton has hit in recent years. Rosario hit 28 home runs as a rookie last year. Weiss said he has no qualms about putting a catcher at such a prime spot in the order, even though catchers have regular days off and the lineup may have to be shifted to accommodate that when he's not playing.

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