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Cowlishaw with some Wilky love

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Tim Cowlishaw has a column up on Brad Wilkerson, saying that he's lighter than last year, healthy, and looking like the guy the Rangers thought they were trading Alfonso Soriano for last offseason.

I've beaten the topics of why Wilkerson was good before his mid-2005 shoulder injury despite the strikeouts, and why it is important for him to bounce back this year, into the ground, so I want to touch on Cowlishaw's suggestion that Wilkerson will likely be hitting 7th in the lineup.

I've also seen it mentioned that Nelson Cruz is locked into the 7th slot, but regardless, I'd rather see Wilkerson a little higher up in the order.

Here's what I'm thinking...against righthanders, this would seem to be an ideal lineup:

CF Lofton
DH Cat
SS Young
1B Teixeira
LF Wilkerson
2B Kinsler
3B Blalock
RF Cruz
C Laird

An alternative, if you think that Wilkerson doesn't offer sufficient protection for Teixeira (and personally, I don't buy that, but whatever) would be:

CF Lofton
DH Cat
LF Wilkerson
1B Teixeira
SS Young
3B Blalock
2B Kinsler
RF Cruz
C Laird

You have three guys who should be very good OBP guys hitting 1-2-3 in front of Teixeira and Young, and while you also have three lefties in a row at the top of the order, Wilkerson's platoon splits are such that he's not going to be hurt that bad if he's facing a lefty.

Against lefties, you could run with this lineup:

2B Kinsler
LF Wilkerson
SS Young
1B Teixeira
DH Sosa/Botts
3B Blalock
RF Cruz
C Laird
CF Byrd

It seems like that gets you the maximum utility from the guys that are available.