Hinch has fun at Haren's expense

Hinch has fun at Haren's expense

PHOENIX -- Each night following a game, A.J. Hinch clears the electronic lineup board and puts in the next day's starting pitcher.

The pitcher's name is always in the ninth spot in the order.

Following Thursday's game with the Giants, in which San Francisco pitcher Tim Lincecum hit eighth, though, Hinch listed Dan Haren's name in the eighth spot in the order. But Friday afternoon, when the D-backs' official lineup was posted, Haren's name was back in the familiar ninth spot.

"I put him in the eight-hole yesterday," Hinch said. "I told him I would at least mull it overnight. What I didn't tell him was that I had already made my mind up. I was giving him a hard time."

It's not much of a stretch to envision Haren hitting in a different spot in the order. After all, he came into Friday's start batting .400 with three doubles. His prowess at the plate has emboldened Hinch to use him as a pinch-hitter -- he's 1-for-1 in that role -- but the manager has no plans to hit him eighth, or to let him hit when the team plays Interleague games in American League parks.

"I would think about it in certain circumstances depending on the makeup of your team," Hinch said. "It does give the lineup a little different look. It's one of those things that's innovative and debatable, but I will generally go with the nine-hole."