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08/29/08 11:55 PM ET
Davis slides down despite hot streak
Washington keeping Rangers rookie in order's bottom third
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Rangers third baseman Chris Davis, after getting a day off in Kansas City, is starting to heat up again, but it's not earning him a promotion in the lineup. In fact, he's going the other way. Davis was in the ninth spot for Friday's game against the Angels, even though he was hitting .371 (13-for-35) with three home runs and seven RBIs in his last nine games. It was the second time this week that he had been at the bottom of the order. Davis normally hits either seventh or eighth. He has started 26 games in each of those two spots in the order. He has batted sixth just once, and manager Ron Washington plans to keep him in the bottom third of the lineup for the rest of the season, although not necessarily in the ninth spot. "He's inexperienced," Washington said. "I want to keep him somewhere where he can be successful. As soon as he learns what he's doing, he'll really do some damage. He needs to learn how to make adjustments from pitch to pitch, rather from at-bat to at-bat or from week to week." Washington took a similar approach last year with David Murphy after he was acquired from the Red Sox. Murphy had just 14 of his 105 at-bats last year in a spot higher than sixth in the order. This season, he was batting in the fifth spot most of the time until he went on the disabled list with a strained ligament in his right knee. Davis went into Friday's game hitting .278 with 14 home runs and 39 RBIs, but he was also hitting just .210 with runners in scoring position. "For me, as a player, it doesn't matter where you're in the lineup, you still have to make adjustments from pitch to pitch, whether you're in the eighth hole, the ninth hole or the No. 1 hole," Davis said. "I feel I'm pitched the same way that I was in the three, four and five hole. I'm still seeing a lot of breaking pitches. They're going to do whatever they need to do to get me out. "At some point I'd like to move up, but it's up to [Washington]. It's his choice. He knows how things work, and he knows what's best for the team." Hank Blalock was in the fifth spot again on Friday, even though he was just 5-for-28 with no home runs or RBIs since being activated from the disabled list. "He's got experience," Washington said. "He'll make his way through all this."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.