ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – For the second game of the season, manager Buck Showalter has a different leadoff hitter. Nick Markakis led off on Tuesday, and a day later, he drops to third and Nate McLouth leads off.
McLouth, who didn’t play on Tuesday, batted leadoff after Markakis broke his thumb last year.
“There’s multiple guys capable of leading off,” McLouth, who didn’t know he was batting leadoff until told by reporters, said. “[Markakis] is good at it, and he’s also a good run producer.”
Showalter said that it was his best option for tonight.
“A lot of it is presenting as good a challenge as we can to the starter, but also to the bullpen,” Showalter said.
“Maybe it’s for a day. Maybe it’s for a while. I’m comfortable leading off, hitting second, eighth, wherever,” McLouth said.
Leading off may change his style on the bases.
“There’s more opportunity to run,” McLouth said. “If you’re leading off, especially if you get on the first at-bat of the game, that’s a good time to run. I try to be as aggressive on the bases as I can.”
On the other hand, it doesn’t change his at-bats.
“I just try to treat each at-bat individually, regardless of where I’m hitting in the lineup,” McLouth said. “Sometimes it’s a bigger deal made out of it than what it really is.”