Ventura has parts to mix and match

January, 23, 2013
1/23/13
3:36
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Looking for a new tattoo idea? DO NOT get one of the Chicago White Sox's projected lineup in 2013.

There are a number of players who might not be permanent fixtures in their spots in the order for the upcoming season. Spring training will go a long way toward determining an Opening Day lineup, but even then there could be a lot of moving parts.

Manager Robin Ventura confirmed as much Wednesday, telling reporters that Alex Rios could end up as the No. 3 hitter this year, while Adam Dunn slides down to the No. 5 spot.

Also left to decide is where to put the versatile Jeff Keppinger, who is expected to pick up the bulk of his time at third base. Keppinger looks like a good fit at the No. 2 spot, but that would leave the White Sox without much on-base percentage at the bottom of the order. Keppinger, who rarely strikes out, could be asked to help keep the line moving from the No. 6 or 7 spots.

The idea to move Dunn to the No. 5 spot is a simple one really. With A.J. Pierzynski's departure, the White Sox only have two projected starters who hit from the left side: Dunn and Alejandro De Aza.

De Aza will handle the leadoff spot, and if Dunn is dropped to No. 5 that gives the lineup some space between left-handed hitters. Having the two lefties in the first and third spots becomes an issue late in games. Opposing managers can bring a left-hander for a three-batter stretch, simplifying their strategy.

If Ventura wants to keep lineup upheaval to a minimum, the following option could apply:

1. Alejandro De Aza, CF
2. Jeff Keppinger, 3B
3. Adam Dunn, DH
4. Paul Konerko, 1B
5. Alex Rios, RF
6. Dayan Viciedo, LF
7. Alexei Ramirez, SS
8. Tyler Flowers, C
9. Gordon Beckham, 2B

But if Ventura wants to find a better fit, his changes could be as drastic as the following:

1. Alejandro De Aza, CF
2. Bordon Beckham, 2B
3. Alex Rios, RF
4. Paul Konerko, 1B
5. Adam Dunn, DH
6. Dayan Viciedo, LF
7. Jeff Keppinger, 3B
8. Alexei Ramirez, SS
9. Tyler Flowers, C

The least of the White Sox's concerns, despite having just the two left-handed hitters, seem to be their ability to hit right-handed pitching. Alex Rios actually had the ninth best batting average in the American League against right-handers last season (minimum 275 plate appearances) at .308. Paul Konerko was 10th best at .307.

Whatever lineup the White Sox choose for the April 1 opener against the Kansas City Royals at U.S. Cellular Field, it would probably be best not to write it down in ink.

Doug Padilla

Chicago White Sox beat reporter
Doug joined ESPN Chicago in July 2010 and covers the Chicago White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Chris Sale
WINS ERA SO IP
9 2.03 110 102
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Abreu .292
HRJ. Abreu 29
RBIJ. Abreu 74
RJ. Abreu 51
OPSJ. Abreu .961
ERAC. Sale 2.03
SOJ. Quintana 115