Texas Rangers first baseman Michael Young, left, forces out Chicago White Sox' Paul Konerko (14) from the toss by Texas Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson (36) in the fifth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, May 25, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
It's that time of year again when the unfamiliar teams come to town, and of course, the lowly Astros and the meaningless Silver Boot. It's Interleague play! Hooray!
With 15 games against the "senior circuit" coming up and six in the NL parks, including this weekend's series in Atlanta against the Braves, the Rangers will have to adjust their lineup some to account for the pitchers having to hit in the NL parks and no DH available and the likely use of a deeper bullpen as pitchers are pulled for pinch hitters earlier in the games than they might normally be.
The lack of the DH this weekend has a few side effects, most notably being what do you do with Michael Young? The Rangers DH/Super Utility Man has kind of done it all this year and though he's in a slump right now he's been the best hitter for the entire season so you want to have his bat in the lineup.
It means Young will likely step in at first base, where he's still learning on the fly and shift Mitch Moreland to right field. That would shift Nelson Cruz to left field, and you guessed it, Josh Hamilton to his natural position in center field.
The three starting pitchers who will get to take some hacks at the plate? Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison and Alexi Ogando.
Lewis is a career .200 hitter, but hit .286 with two RBIs in seven at-bats in his first year back in the majors last year.
Harrison has a lofty career average of .000 in six at-bats as his ABs have been limited as a reliever most of the time in the past seasons.
Ogando? He's never had an at-bat in the majors but he was an outfielder in the Dominican so he obviously has some experience, at some level, swinging the sticks.
It's going to be interesting. Bring it on.