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Friday, April 13, 2012
Lefty-lefty look is Sveum's secret weapon

By Doug Padilla

ST. LOUIS -- Consider those back-to-back power left-handed hitters in the middle of the Chicago Cubs lineup as Dale Sveum’s late-inning trap.

While most managers might put a right-handed hitter between two left-handers, Sveum has been using Ian Stewart and Bryan LaHair consecutively. They were in the fifth and sixth holes Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals.

He admits the setup isn’t ideal and in a perfect world he would have a right-hander as a buffer between the two, but his bench personnel makes him worry less about it.

“It’s just the fact of if they want to bring a lefty [pitcher] in, our matchup is pretty good if they want to do something like that since [Jeff] Baker is one of the best hitters of left-handed pitchers there are,” Sveum said. “So it’s not a big deal.”

Stewart and LaHair might remain attached at the hip unless production patterns change. Sveum prefers to use Starlin Castro in the No. 3 hole since he is the club’s best hitter and wants the veteran Alfonso Soriano in the cleanup spot.

Unless somebody else emerges to take over the cleanup spot or Marlon Byrd gets on track and starts moving back up in the lineup to act as a Stewart/LaHair buffer, the back-to-back left-handed look could remain.