04/11/09 4:27 PM ET
Lillibridge latest to hit leadoff for Sox
Guillen rests Getz, also starts Betemit, Anderson, Miller
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
Yes, he is the next contestant on "Name your White Sox leadoff hitter."
But Lillibridge's start at second and at the top of the order on Saturday against the Twins has nothing to do with what Chris Getz didn't do, not after Getz reached base three times as the team's leadoff hitter in Friday's loss. That particular job belongs to Getz, at least for the time being.
Ozzie Guillen simply wanted to get some at-bats for his bench players against southpaw Francisco Liriano, meaning Wilson Betemit, Brian Anderson and backup catcher Corky Miller also found themselves in the lineup. Batting first for the White Sox appears to be a bit of a daunting challenge, judging by Dewayne Wise's struggles in the first two games and the daily focus on this spot as part of Guillen's interview sessions.
It's really no different from any other spot in the order for Lillibridge, as he clearly explained on Saturday.
"I've said the biggest thing with hitting leadoff is the misconception that there is a certain way you have to be as a leadoff hitter," Lillibridge said. "Nobody is going to complain if you get on base and that's the biggest thing, whether it's a walk or a hit.
"Again, if I swing at the first pitch and it's a hit, nobody is going to say a word. It's all about the style of player you are and what has made you good throughout your career.
"For me, I'm more aggressive and going to put the ball in play in the first two or three pitches," Lillibridge said. "Chris likes to take pitches and is really good with two strikes. You have to do what you do best. If in the end you get on base, that's all that matters."
Anderson started in center, with Betemit getting the call at first and Paul Konerko moving to designated hitter. Guillen wants to pick his spots to rest Jim Thome, keeping the 38-year-old sharp for the entire campaign.
"It's not easy to keep everybody sharp," Guillen said. "The way we swing the bats, I try to get the lineup [for a] different look. When you're not swinging the bat as a team, that can get contagious."
Guillen might give the slumping Alexei Ramirez a day off on Sunday, depending on how he produces on Saturday. One way or another, Guillen would like to get Lillibridge a couple of straight starts to keep him ready. Even in a reserve role, Lillibridge's swing hasn't felt this good since putting up big Minor League numbers in 2006.
"No player would want that, to be the guy who plays here and there and not consistently getting in the groove of baseball," Lillibridge said. "But in the end, just stick to what I do and how I play and I will be successful."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.