ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura moved Alexei Ramirez to the leadoff spot Sunday as the team tries to generate some offensive power with a right-handed hitting lineup against Tampa Bay Rays left-hander David Price.
"When you do stuff like this, it just changes the mindset of him and the rest of the lineup," Ventura said.
It’s the first time this season Ramirez has batted first. For his career, he has started three games in the leadoff spot and had 17 plate appearances, batting .353 with one double, one stolen base and one run scored.
The White Sox leadoff men this season are batting .249 (85-for-342) with a combined 16 doubles, one triple, 10 home runs, 10 stolen bases, 40 RBIs and 47 runs. Alejandro De Aza has seen the most action in the leadoff role with 80 starts, while Dewayne Wise (three starts) and Gordon Beckham (one start) have also been at the top.
While De Aza ranks second on the team with 40 RBIs and third with 10 home runs -- including four leadoff homers, he has been slumping recently, batting .150 (3-for-20) in his last five games.
"Guys are in different spots just to shake it up," Ventura said when asked about replacing De Aza with Ramirez.
Ventura said facing Price was the primary reason for the switch, although he may consider keeping the batting order moving forward against lefties.
"It’s a possibility," Ventura said. "You never know if you kind of go to this as your right-handed lineup against a lefty."
In addition to De Aza, Adam Dunn was not in the starting lineup for the first time since May 30. Dunn had been on a tear before the White Sox’s trip to St. Petersburg, where he is 0-for-7 with five strikeouts.
Ventura also inserted Phegley back in as the starting catcher. The 25-year-old prospect made his major league debut on Friday, going 1-for-3 with two RBIs.
"With Price going, you can kind of add a little bit more of a right-handed lineup having Morel back in here and Casper in left," Ventura said. "It’s a little bit of a change, I think Alexei even batting at the top, just changing it up."