Mills tinkering with new lineup

How about Hunter Pence batting third, Carlos Lee batting fourth and Lance Berkman batting fifth? That’s the way Astros manager Brad Mills filled out his lineup card for Saturday’s game against the Braves, and Mills admitted he’s going to give some consideration to that configuration when the season starts.

Mills would like to have as much consistency in the lineup as possible, and he’s sat down with the players and talked about where they might hit in the order

“It’s something I had looked at during the winter and then when position players got here last week I sat down Lance and we talked about a few things and he was very receptive to it, and I also talked to Carlos about some things,” Mills said. “I’m not going to tell you what those are right now because they might not come about, but we’re just taking a look.

“When we start the season, I don’t like to have things moved all over the place. When a guy comes to the ballpark I like him to know exactly what’s asked of him and where he’s going to hit in the lineup most of the time. Right now is a good time during Spring Training, at least during the first two weeks of Spring Training, to get a chance to take a look at what’s going on and so forth.”

Berkman hit primarily third last year, with Lee hitting fourth and Pence hitting sixth. Mills believes hitting Pence third will allow the Astros to take better advantage of his speed.

“You try to get more guys on base with more speed at the top of the lineup, getting better pitches to hit for Carlos with a quality bat behind him and getting big run-production from Lance hitting fifth,” Mills said. “There’s going to be a lot of guys on base for both Carlos and Lance, and if Carlos doesn’t pick them up then Lance is there to pick them up.

“We’re giving ourselves a chance to possibility score more runs with our two big guys right next to each other.”

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