ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington decided to bat Alex Rios third and Prince Fielder fourth with Adrian Beltre out of the lineup because he wanted both players in spots that they're used to.
"Rios has hit fourth a little bit in his career, but he's not a fourth hitter," Washington said. "I want to put him somewhere where he's comfortable. I just switched them."
Rios has hit .280 in nearly 2,200 career at-bats in the No. 3 spot. It's something that's very familiar for Rios. Fielder has certainly spent some quality time as the cleanup hitter as well. He's batted .290 in 4,489 at-bats in the No. 4 position.
It means that Fielder protects Rios -- and it's never bad to have Fielder protecting you, just ask Miguel Cabrera and Ryan Braun, not to mention Elvis Andrus, in a small sample so far this season -- and with Kevin Kouzmanoff in the lineup, it will be Kouzmanoff hitting fifth and Mitch Moreland sixth, to break up the right-handed and left-handed hitters.
It's likely Washington will keep the middle of the order like this until Beltre returns. When that is hasn't been determined yet. We'll see how Beltre feels after getting some treatment and resting some this weekend.