Mike Fontenot is inching closer and closer to the starting 2nd base job. In 11 spring games, Fontenot has batted .371 with 2 home runs and 8 RBI’s. With the newly acquired Aaron Miles still dealing with throwing issues with his right shoulder, Fontenot has really made a strong case for winning the job outright.
Manager Lou Pinella originally envisioned Miles and Fontenot getting about 350-400 at-bats each, with starting shortstop Ryan Theriot getting around 500 at-bats. Theriot amassed a career-high 580 at-bats in 2008, and Pinella felt like Theriot struggled a little bit down the stretch despite the fact that he still hit .307 on the year. Pinella envisions Miles filling in for Theriot more often to limit his total at-bats, while giving Fontenot more playing time at 2nd base and even 3rd base every once in a while to spell Aramis Ramirez.
Pinella also likes Fontenot’s pop in the middle of the lineup. “For a little guy, he drives the ball well.” Fontenot hit 9 home runs in 119 games last year and has been driving the ball this spring training as well. Pinella sees Fontenot batting in the 6-hole a lot, with Kosuke Fukodome batting 2nd and Milton Bradley batting clean-up against right-handed pitchers. Will this revamped lineup work – we’ll have to wait and see.
Fontenot is a solid player with a great work ethic. He always seems to come up big when the game is on the line, so let’s hope he can continue to be productive on a more regular basis in 2009.