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Spot in batting order 'all the same' to Cuddyer

Spot in batting order 'all the same' to Cuddyer play video for Spot in batting order 'all the same' to Cuddyer

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies manager Walt Weiss wants to experiment with the batting order this season, and the presence of versatile Michael Cuddyer allows him to do it.

Cuddyer, who turns 35 on March 27, won the National League batting title last year with a .331 average. He also finished fifth in slugging and ninth in on-base percentage -- numbers that can make him a table-setter or an RBI threat.

After hitting Cuddyer primarily in the fourth and fifth spots last season, Weiss wants to bat him second in 2014. Cuddyer doesn't have a problem with the idea.

Cuddyer has hit mostly fourth and fifth (a total of 794 regular-season games in those two spots), but has 93 or more games in the third, seventh and eighth spots. He's only hit 12 times at No. 2.

"You don't change your mindset," Cuddyer said. "I've hit everywhere in the order, and it's all the same. If you have nobody on base, you try to get on base. If you've got a guy in scoring position, you try to drive him in. If you've got a guy on base, you try to move him around and you get on base. It's all about setting the guys up behind you and driving in the guys in front of you.

"There's no secret formula to being a two-hole hitter or leadoff hitter or anything like that. When you start over-complicating things, that's when you start struggling."

Weiss is thinking back to 1996, when the Rockies took a hitter with power, Ellis Burks, and used him in the No. 2 spot. Burks hit .340 with 20 home runs and 70 RBIs in 78 games while batting second, and .351 with another 19 homers and 54 RBIs out of No. 3. The following year, Burks hit .308 with 27 homers and 64 RBIs in 84 games batting second.

The Rockies had a .256 average and .290 on-base percentage from the second spot last season, and need to bolster that spot with a proven batter.

"Cuddy uses the whole field and hits with power," Weiss said. "He uses the whole field and is just a professional hitter that's dangerous. With the pieces we have or that we potentially have in our lineup, we can afford to move Cuddy up to that spot. You've got some power throughout."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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