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Baker has his ideal No. 8 hitter in Hanigan

Baker has his ideal No. 8 hitter in Hanigan

Baker has his ideal No. 8 hitter in Hanigan
CINCINNATI -- Reds manager Dusty Baker frequently hears suggestions from fans on how to construct his lineup. Apparently he's heard clamoring for catcher Ryan Hanigan to move out of the eighth spot and bat second.

Don't expect Baker to heed those wishes. Tuesday's game was an example of why, as Hanigan reached base three times with two outs -- on a second-inning intentional walk, a fourth-inning double and a sixth-inning single.

"More important than anything is to get the pitcher to the plate with two outs so he doesn't have to lead off the next inning," Baker said Wednesday. "That's huge. Most of the playoffs, when I've been in it and high-pressurized games that you don't win are games you don't get the pitcher to the plate, and you have to make a decision to pinch-hit for him in the next inning leading off -- even though you may not want to do that."

Hanigan entered Wednesday batting .282 with a .368 on-base percentage, two home runs and 13 RBIs.

"I know a lot of people are saying, 'Hey, he should hit second,'" Baker said. "He walks a lot, he gets a lot of intentional base on balls. He would be hitting higher if he ran any better. I think he's a perfect eighth hitter and perfect for what we need on this team."

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