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Braun moving to cleanup spot

Braun moving to cleanup spot

PHOENIX -- Manager Ned Yost likes the idea of left-fielder Ryan Braun batting cleanup behind Prince Fielder.

"They're gonna pitch around Prince, just because of Prince's intimidation factor," said Yost, who sat Braun for the Cactus League game Monday against the Cubs.

With Fielder on base, Braun will have more opportunities to knock in runs, something that he proved capable of doing in bunches [97 RBIs in 113 games] as a rookie last season.

"They're not gonna pitch around Prince too long with me behind him," said Braun without even a hint of cockiness. "Obviously, we have a lot of great hitters in the lineup.

"Whether I'm third or fourth, there should be plenty of protection. It doesn't make much of a difference to me."

But the key to Braun handling the duties of the No. 4 hitter is selectivity. He can't come to the plate hacking at just anything, Yost said.

"If he's not, then I've gotta change the order," Yost said. "Then I have to put him in front of Prince. ... If Braunie stays in his game, Corey Hart's gonna have a helluva year. Or Billy Hall. Or so will both Prince and Ryan."

Braun didn't disagree.

"Our lineup is dangerous all the way throughout," said the 24-year-old Braun, who spent most of last season in the No. 3 hole. "So I don't think they'll have too much of any opportunity to pitch around anybody."

Justice B. Hill is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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