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Leyland likes Hunter for No. 2 spot in lineup


LAKELAND, Fla. -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland spends part of his offseason going through potential batting orders. He does the same at various points in Spring Training. He did it on Sunday night. Not surprisingly, he had Torii Hunter batting second in all of them.

So while Leyland isn't ready to finalize an order quite yet, he can end what's left of the speculation that Hunter could move down to the middle of the lineup behind the trio of Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez. Instead, he'll bat in front of them and support leadoff hitter Austin Jackson.

"I thought he was real comfortable in that two-hole," Leyland said Monday, "so I'm going to keep him there."

Hunter hit second for 381 of his 584 plate appearances with the Angels last season. He batted cleanup and hit fifth early in the season before settling in between two other great hitters, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. As a second hitter, Hunter batted .343 with a .376 on-base percentage, .854 OPS, 69 RBIs and 57 runs scored.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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