Where will Derrek Lee bat?

Carroll County schools are opening two hours late today. I knew it was coming once I heard the forecast calling for that extremely light dusting of snow.

I guess it qualifies as snow. I've seen more of a buildup on my dining room table.

I'd love to know how people in Michigan and Illinois react to this delay. Their schools open on time in three feet of snow, but not here. Nope. We have a light dusting.

I hope you stored up on canned goods.

Everybody ... to the basement!

Anyway, I asked manager Buck Showalter yesterday if he's thought about his lineup and where Derrek Lee fits into it.

"What do you think?" Showalter replied, resisting the urge to add a "duh."

"There are a lot of ways to look at it. You look at both," Showalter said, obviously having two spots in mind.

(I figured this out by his use of the word "both." My mother didn't raise any stupid children.)

"He's a first baseman with power who doesn't strike out much compared to some other people. I think you'll see him in the three or four hole."

I suggested that Showalter's got a lot of flexibility with this lineup. Brian Roberts is the only guy who currently is locked into one spot.

I mentioned how Nick Markakis could bat second and Lee third, or Adam Jones could bat second, Markakis third and Lee fourth.

"With Adam's track record, you might want to look at the six hole," Showalter replied.

And here's why:

"It's always been my belief that you're better off moving a guy up the lineup as the season progresses, instead of starting him in a place that might be a reach and then having to work down. You have to keep that in mind," Showalter said.

"If you're doing the left-right thing, Derrek fits in the three-hole, but the other thought is, if not Nick second, you might look at (J.J.) Hardy second because there's nobody else really to hit there right now in this lineup. If you put (Felix) Pie there, then you have back-to-back left-handed hitters.

"It's a lot deeper batting order than it was last year."

Showalter said a good way to see how your team stacks up with the rest of the division is to compare the seven, eight and nine hitters.

He just has to figure how who goes where on this team.

So to review: Markakis and Hardy are more likely to bat second than Jones. Lee is likely to hit third our fourth. Luke Scott and Mark Reynolds will be slotted accordingly. And Pie will probably hit lower in the order, with ninth a strong possibility.

The vast majority of Hardy's at-bats (1,180) have come as the No. 2 hitter. He's a lifetime .268 hitter in that slot, his second-highest average. He's hit .277 while batting sixth, but that covers only 112 at-bats.

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