Maddon not afraid to use slugger in No. 2 spot

Maddon not afraid to use slugger in No. 2 spot

Maddon not afraid to use slugger in No. 2 spot
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Joe Maddon has never been one to adhere to conventional wisdom for the sake of adhering to conventional wisdom, which leads to the topic of the Rays' No. 2 spot in the batting order.

Right now there is a good chance that either Luke Scott or Carlos Pena will fill the second spot in the batting order. Using either of the sluggers in the second spot runs counter to conventional wisdom, a fact that doesn't rattle the Rays' manager in the least.

"I just think [conventional wisdom is] all based on the perception that a No. 2 hitter has to be a guy who can bunt, hit-and-run and move the runners," Maddon said. "It doesn't happen anymore. That's not part of the game right now.

"You might see it a little bit on the National League side, but it's not part of our game. That's the day of the shortstop, all-glove, no-bat guy that would move the leadoff hitter who got on. And hopefully the three or four guy [would drive them in], because at that time, the three-run homer was not as prominent as it is today. It was just a whole different way of thinking back then."

Maddon summarized by saying he didn't think he had to have a No. 2 hitter that fit "that old school schematic or template of what it's supposed to look like."

"It's not what it's supposed to look like anymore," Maddon said.

When asked if he remembered any power hitters hitting in the No. 2 spot and having success, he immediately brought the name Jim Edmonds into the conversation.

"Jimmy hit for some really good power numbers," Maddon said. "I think that was in '95, '96, '97, something like that. Jimmy hit in the two-hole very productively."

In theory, hitting Scott or Pena in the second spot would allow either slugger to see more fastballs when leadoff hitter Desmond Jennings reaches base because Jennings is a base-stealing threat. Conversely, when the pitchers go to breaking pitches to combat the No. 2 hitter laying in wait for the fastball, Jennings can take advantage by stealing second.