05/15/12 12:30 AM ET
Choo assumes leadoff spot in Indians' order
By Derek Wetmore / Special to MLB.com
Choo was hitting just .235 entering Monday, but Acta said he never looks at batting averages. Choo went 1-for-4 with a hit-by-pitch and delivered the go-ahead single in the ninth to help the Indians earn a 5-4 win.
"Right now, we feel Choo is the best option for us," Acta said before the game. "He's got a .360 on-base percentage and the league average is .319."
Johnny Damon, who has batted in the Tribe's leadoff spot, is hitting just .138 (4-for-29) against right-handers this season. He wasn't in the lineup on Monday with righty Carl Pavano on the mound for the Twins.
"We feel that Johnny is scuffling a little right now. He's going to continue to get his at-bats, but right now Choo is the best option for us to get on base at the top of the order."
And the move could stick for a while.
"I don't have a timeline for it, but he's going to [lead off] [Tuesday], too, I promise you."
Choo got the nod for the leadoff spot over hot-hitting outfielder Michael Brantley, who was 9-for-18 in his last four games entering Monday. Brantley went 0-for-4 in the sixth spot.
"I like Brantley everywhere, but I really like him in that spot because he doesn't strike out much, and he's one of those guys I really like to see at the plate when we have runners in scoring position," Acta said. "Some how, some way, he doesn't panic, and he gives us good at-bats in those situations."
Acta said Choo's strengths will play well atop the lineup.
"He's never changed. He's always been an on-base percentage guy," Acta said. "And that's something we made clear to him. If he wants to swing at the first pitch of the game, go for it. The quality of at-bats doesn't need to change no matter where you hit it. He's a guy that knows the strike zone and if it's there, he's going to whack at it, and if not, he's going to end up getting his walks."
Choo said he won't change his approach because of Acta's blessing to swing at the first pitch if he wants. Choo said he's going to continue to work counts and see good pitches.
"With [Jason] Kipnis and [Asdrubal] Cabrera, I have a lot of good hitters behind me," Choo said. "I'm not changing anything, but I'll focus more on [getting] on base."
Hannahan out of lineup with back tightness
MINNEAPOLIS -- Infielder Jack Hannahan was not in the starting lineup for Monday's series opener against the Twins.
Indians manager Manny Acta said Hannahan is day to day with tightness in his lower back.
Acta also said Hannahan may start on Tuesday, but that he felt the tightness on Sunday in the Indians' 12-1 loss to the Red Sox.
Jose Lopez started at third base and batted seventh on Monday.
Hannahan started at third base and later moved to short on Sunday in the series finale in Boston. He played the entire game, going 0-for-3 with a run scored.
Derek Wetmore is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.