Richie Sexson is out of the lineup for the fifth consecutive game, replaced by Miguel Cairo, who’s batting eighth in the order.
Manager John McLaren addressed the situation at first base when he met with reporters before the game and said the recent shift in playing time at the position has more to do with Cairo’s performance than Sexson’s lack thereof. You can listen to McLaren’s explanation in an mp3 file linked right here. Or you can read on for a summary of the most pertinent quotes.
“We’ve put Cairo out there and to be honest, he’s energized us,” McLaren said. “He’s given us great defense. He’s given us a different look, gives us some speed, contact hitter and we’ve played pretty good. So in the situation we’re in, I’m not going to change it. We’re starting to play good. Again, it’s about Miguel, it’s not about Richie.”
Sexson was in the clubhouse before the game, but declined to talk about his recent absence from the lineup.
McLaren said he and Sexson have talked.
“He’s got pride,” McLaren said. “He wants to do well, and he knows he’s struggled and it’s not an easy situation for him. It’s not an easy situation for myself, but first and foremost, in which always will be No. 1 is the team. That’s where we are.”
Does Sexson understand that?
“I presume he does,” McLaren said. We’ve spoken … and I’ve told him how I feel about it and how I feel about him. I’ve tried to support Richie as much as anybody. I believe in Richie, he’s working hard at it behind the scenes with Pent [hitting coach Jeff Pentland]. I’m sure he’s anxious to get back out there. He can’t do anything sitting on the bench, but I’ve told you the reasons why he’s not out there.”
McLaren indicated that the move to Cairo was not permanent and that eventually Sexson will return to the position.
“As long as we’re running a little streak here, I’m going to go with the hot hand,” McLaren said. “We know he’s going to be back out there, it’s just a matter of when.”