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Two-fer Tuesday

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CHICAGO — Two leftover thoughts that did not make it into my story in today’s Tribune-Review about the No. 2 spot in the batting order:

&#149 Tracy said it sometimes is better to bat a talented young player second rather than eighth. That’s what Tampa Bay seems to be doing by using rookie Elijah Dukes, an outfielder with a bit of power, in the two spot.

“It’s hell to develop a young kid as a hitter by hitting him eighth,” Tracy said. “Because look at what (pitches) he’s going to get. With two outs and first base open, they want your pitcher to lead off the following inning, he’s going to get everything but the kitchen sink thrown at him.”

&#149 Former Pirates third baseman Bill Madlock, who was an outstanding hitter back in the day, said the evolution of No. 2 hitters — indeed, the way the entire lineup is skewed these days — is because chicks dig the long ball.

“That’s the whole thing,” Madlock told me. “That way, they can put together quick runs. It’s not as balanced. There’s a lot of free swinging. When I was playing, you wanted a fast guy, then a guy who will take pitches — not a guy like (Adam) Dunn.

The Cubs have (Alfonso) Soriano leading off. That might be 200 strikeouts. They don’t care, as long as they get home runs. The Cubs will have the first baseman, third baseman, left fielder, right fielder … they’ll probably have six guys in that lineup strike out 100 times each.”

A correction: In my entry from a few days back about the dear, departed GWRBI, I said Tracy lost out on the player of the week award to Gary Carter. In fact, it was Atlanta’s Bob Horner who won that week. My bad.

Wrigley Field would be a much finer place — and it already is damn near Baseball Nirvana — if only it had a press box elevator.
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