Hurdle, Bucs keep mulling over lefty-hitting options

Hurdle, Bucs keep mulling over lefty-hitting options

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Clint Hurdle knows he won't be able to play lefty roulette much longer, so he's throwing all his lefty chips on the wheel any chance he gets.

"Our question marks going into Spring Training were how the right-field and first-base positions will play out," Hurdle said. "Those are questions we're still trying to iron out."

Monday's starting lineup included a quintet that figures into the competition for supporting roles at those two positions. The only one to distinguish himself was Michael Martinez, a switch-hitter who started at second base but who can and has played the outfield; he went 2-for-2.

Chris Dickerson and Travis Ishikawa both drove in a run in the 7-6 loss to Baltimore, on an infield single and force-play grounder, while combining to go 1-for-5. Chris McGuiness was 0-for-4 and Travis Snider had the weakest day, striking out each of his three times up.

Jaff Decker and Andrew Lambo each had a hitless at-bat off the bench -- and both will be in the starting lineup for the next game, Wednesday in Fort Myers against the Twins, which will again include Martinez, Dickerson, Snider and Ishikawa.

"We'll just keep giving them opportunities to play. We'll keep giving them at-bats and see where they take them," said Hurdle, who has begun to divide what he refers to as "separation" among the candidates. "But I'm not gonna seed them for you."

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.