Bryan Price welcomed his position players to spring training camp in Goodyear, Arizona.
He spent the morning thinking about how his lineup would shake out.
"I have some general idea of what I'd like to see," Price said. "I'd like to see (Billy) Hamilton leading off, Joey (Votto) hitting third, Duvall probably hitting fourth. I think the big question is figuring out the best spots for Peraza, Devin (Mesoraco) when he's in there. Suarez. Is Cozart best at two or better hitting down the lineup/ There are a lot of question marks. It's just not clear cut as it was last year.."
"It will be fun," Price said. "Do we go with the speed at the top with Hamilton and Peraza? Where is Suarez most effective? If Perazah hits second, where is Cozart best suited to hit? It will be fun to mix and match."
Among the other questions that need to be answered.
"Is Devin going to be ready to start the season? Where does Schebler fit best in our lineup? Do I put speed at the top of the lineup?
Hamilton is the obvious choice leadoff . As long as he continues to get on base like he did the second half of last season. On May 6, Hamilton's on-base-percentage was .256. In his last 94 games it was .331.
"It was a boost for him," Price said. "The most important thing is that Billy sees himself as a leadoff guy and continues to build his confidence that he can do that job. I'm confident that he can."
Last year at this time Hamilton was coming off a shoulder injury.
"I felt his strike zone command and his two-strike approach was so vastly improved," Price said.
It is a given that Votto will bat third.
Peraza, Cozart and Eugenio Suarez batted second at times last year. Having Hamilton and Peraza at the top of the lineup is one option. Cozart had a career-high 16 home runs last season. Suarez hit 21 and drove in 70 runs. Saurez batted second in 34 games and fifth and sixth in 73 games.
"Do you go for the throat with Hamilton and Peraza one and two? Is it better t o divide up the speed component and have Peraza batthing in front of Cozart or Suarez?" Price asked. Those are the things I have to define over the course of spring.