Now that the Detroit Tigers have plugged a pair of holes at both second base and in the starting rotation with Monday's Jacob Turner deal, manager Jim Leyland can truly begin to tweak his batting order heading into the final months of the season. And for the foreseeable future anyway, Leyland told MLive.com's Chris Iott that he plans to use Infante in a varied spot in the order depending on the opposing pitcher:
Omar Infante to bat second vs. left-handers and ninth against right-handers. #Tigers— Chris Iott (@Chris_Iott) July 24, 2012
A .277 hitter against righties and .273 against lefties for his career, Infante was used primarily in the No. 2 spot with the Marlins this year (121 at-bats), and batted ninth just four times with his old club this season. During his All-Star campaign with the Braves in 2010, however, he hit .305 from the leadoff spot and .321 overall, and was dominant when placed virtually anywhere in the order.
Though he isn't quite the same type of table-setter or base-stealer that he once was (he swiped 13 bases with Detroit in '04), Infante's ability to consistently make contact from the plate still make him an attractive option for the top of the order against any pitcher. His projected role seems to fit nicely into Detroit's current plans now, but it remains to be seen how long he'll stick in these two spots in the lineup (ninth especially).