Facing southpaw, Farrell unveils new lineup

Facing southpaw, Farrell unveils new lineup

Facing southpaw, Farrell unveils new lineup
TORONTO -- John Farrell unveiled a new lineup on Monday night as the Blue Jays were matched up against a left-handed starter for the first time this season.

Toronto's manager opted to move designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion into the cleanup spot while sliding Adam Lind down to the No. 5 hole.

Farrell also decided to give the left-handed-hitting Eric Thames a night off while Rajai Davis received his first start of the year. It's an alignment the Blue Jays could opt to use a lot this season when facing southpaws.

"One thing we talked about in Spring Training, or even in the first few days in Cleveland, is that hitters are going to find themselves in one of three groups inside of a lineup -- upper third, middle third or bottom third, and we've got some flexibility because of the balance on our roster," Farrell said.

"Rajai is in there because of the way he's swinging the bat and his overall production career-wise against left-handed pitching. But this year compared to a year ago, we're just more equipped, we have a lot more flexibility and guys that can combat different types of opposing pitchers against us."

Farrell stopped short of saying that Thames and Davis will form a platoon in left field, but Toronto likely will utilize its right-handed options off the bench against lefties.

Davis is a career .292 hitter against lefties compared to a .263 mark against right-handers. Thames' numbers are the opposite, as he hit just .209 against lefties with a .275 average against right-handers in 2011.

The 31-year-old Davis also could see some time in center field this year when Colby Rasmus needs a day off. The Blue Jays will find time for both Davis and fifth outfielder Ben Francisco in those type of scenarios.

"I don't sit here today and say that a platoon situation is the way that we would ultimately go, but we just want to take advantage of some certain matchups," Farrell said. "I think you might see Rajai in there Wednesday in possibly a different type of lineup as well. The fact is, we've got players that we can mix and match with."