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Leyland opts for defense, puts Kelly in left

Leyland opts for defense, puts Kelly in left

Leyland opts for defense, puts Kelly in left

OAKLAND -- After all the speculation over whether Jhonny Peralta would supplant Andy Dirks for a start in left field in this American League Division Series, Don Kelly has now been added to the mix. The veteran super-utility player, who became a hero in Game 2 of last year's ALDS between these two teams with a game-winning sacrifice fly, started in left field Saturday night.

It wasn't a decision based on the matchups. It was everything aside from offense that favored him.

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"I just stuck another lefty in there and went with the defense," Leyland said.

The move presented a couple strategy changes for Leyland. For starters, it meant that if Leyland went to Peralta as a pinch-hitter for Kelly, he would not have Kelly's defense to insert in left. He could still go with Dirks for the end of the game.

The flip side, though, is that Peralta could still pinch-hit for shortstop Jose Iglesias late in a game if Leyland so chose.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Paul Hagen 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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