Reds will have unconventional LF platoon

Reds will have unconventional LF platoon

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- However the Reds plan the platoon in left field between Chris Heisey and Ryan Ludwick, it certainly won't be conventional. For starters, both players are right-handed hitters.

When manager Dusty Baker writes out his lineup card this season, scouting reports and pitching matchups will play a large role in his decision-making for left field.

"Ludwick likes the ball more down and away, and Heisey likes the ball in and up," Baker said.

Heisey also likes to pull the ball, and is a lifetime .288 hitter vs. right-handed pitchers, compared to .180 against lefties.

"Everybody thinks put the right-hander up against the lefty," Baker said. "I remember Pedro Guerrero hated lefties. There'd be a lefty, and then they'd bring in this tough right-hander throwing sinkers and he'd say, 'Thank you.'

"It's part of my job to put [Heisey] in a situation where he will succeed. Everybody says, 'Oh, he should play every day,' but there are certain guys he will struggle against. And there are certain guys that he should have success against. It's not only left-handers he has trouble with. It's guys that throw to that side of the plate."

Over his career, Ludwick has also been better vs. right-handers, with a .272 average compared to .237 against lefties. Ludwick was signed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract as a free agent over the winter.

"It's difficult when a guy hits two or three home runs against a guy he should hit, and then you don't play him the next day," Baker said. "A few times, you say, 'OK,' and then play him the next day and they do nothing. How many times does that happen?"