By Jason Wojciechowski on February 24, 2006 at 5:09 AM
Thank the lord! Jay Payton is apparently ok with being the fourth guy in the outfield.
"At first I was unhappy,'' Payton said Wednesday. "But I realize being a fourth outfielder here is different than being the fourth outfielder in Boston (in 2005).''
Story. And he's right, I think. By my recollection, Ken Macha does mix and match in the outfield more than some managers.
That said, I think Macha could be hard pressed to do a lot of rotation this year. Milton Bradley and Mark Kotsay are locks to run out there every day that they're available. Nick Swisher probably won't sit too much, because I don't think Billy Beane likes to see the young guys rotting away on the bench. If I were Payton, I'd be worried about my playing time, too.
However, he does have the inevitable "Kotsay's creaky back" days to look forward to. Also, when ('cause it's not an if) Frank Thomas is hurt, someone can slide to DH, whether that's Dan Johnson, Swisher, Kotsay, Bradley, or Payton himself, freeing up more playing time for the benchies.