Red-hot Arenado hits fifth behind CarGo, Tulo

Red-hot Arenado hits fifth behind CarGo, Tulo

DENVER -- Carlos Gonzalez returned to the third spot in the Rockies' lineup Saturday night against the Mets after missing a game with a broken blood vessel in his left index finger, but the more intriguing part of the batting order is finding Nolan Arenado.

Arenado, who took a 22-game hit streak into Saturday night, has batted mostly in the No. 2 spot since Michael Cuddyer injured his left hamstring April 17. But Arenado isn't exactly anchored there. He hit fifth Saturday, behind shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, with first baseman Justin Morneau getting a night off from the starting lineup.

"Usually, it's determined by the rest of the lineup," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "We thought Nolan was a good guy to protect Tulo, so it has more to do with what's around him than him. He's hit sixth, seventh."

Arenado entered the game with a .309 batting average. There is a huge performance range depending on his spot in the order, but that's partly because the sample sizes are small. He's hit .276 with two home runs in the No. 2 spot, with hits in all seven games. He entered Saturday 4-for-8 with a double in two games in the fifth spot, and is hitting .362 in 12 games batting sixth and .231 in 10 games hitting seventh.

All Weiss sees is an effective hitter.

"I think there's more made about it than there actually is," Weiss said. "I don't think it's that big a deal. The situation on the scoreboard will tell you how to take the at-bat most of the time. Unless you're maybe leading off or hitting third or fourth, I don't think it makes much of a difference."

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.