Today's lineup: Rare start in 5-hole for Howard

Today's lineup: Rare start in 5-hole for Howard
March 10, 2014, 11:45 am
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It has been 889 games since Ryan Howard started a regular-season game in any batting order spot other than fourth. (AP)

The last time Ryan Howard started a regular-season game in any spot other than cleanup was June 29, 2008, when he batted fifth for the Phillies. That was 889 regular-season games ago.

But spring training is the time for experiments, and Ryne Sandberg has Howard in the five-hole for Monday's game against the Braves and right-hander Brandon Beachy.

Marlon Byrd is batting in Howard's usual spot. Byrd is 8 for 22 this spring (.364 BA) with a double, a homer and four RBIs. Howard is 4 for 20 (.200) with two doubles, two RBIs and nine strikeouts.

Splitting up the Phillies' powerful lefties will likely be necessary at some point this season. Chase Utley has become susceptible to left-handed pitching, hitting .219 against southpaws the last three seasons. Howard has hit .173 against lefties the last two years.

Byrd led the NL last season with a .344 batting average vs. lefties.

Cliff Lee is on the mound for the Phillies for his third start of the spring. Lee has allowed two runs on five hits over five innings in two starts, with no walks and five strikeouts.

Here are the lineups for Monday's 1:05 p.m. game against the Braves, which is televised on Comcast SportsNet.

1) Ben Revere, CF
2) Jimmy Rollins, SS
3) Chase Utley, 2B
4) Marlon Byrd, RF
5) Ryan Howard, 1B
6) Carlos Ruiz, C
7) Domonic Brown, LF
8) Bobby Abreu, DH
9) Maikel Franco, 3B

Cliff Lee, SP

1) Jason Heyward, RF
2) B.J. Upton, CF
3) Freddie Freeman, 1B
4) Justin Upton, LF
5) Ryan Doumit, DH
6) Chris Johnson, 3B
7) Dan Uggla, 2B
8) Gerald Laird, C
9) Tyler Greene, SS

Brandon Beachy, SP