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08/31/08 4:13 PM ET
Halos give 103rd batting order a whirl
Willits, Figgins, Anderson round out Sunday's top three
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- With injuries to Maicer Izturis, Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick -- who all have the capability to bat second in the batting order -- the Angels have been using Garret Anderson as the team's No. 2 hitter. But on Sunday, the Angels unveiled their 103rd batting order of the season with a new look at the top of the lineup, as Reggie Willits was slated first, Chone Figgins batted second and Anderson hit third. It marked the first time this season Figgins didn't bat in his customary leadoff spot, and just the 10th time Willits batted first. Anderson, however, has batted third 22 times this season and 241 times in his career. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said the lineup was created to help with the continuity of Figgins and Anderson paired together. "We're trying to see if Figgy and Garret connected is a grouping we want to stay with," Scioscia said. "If it is, then Figgy will be leading off and Garret will be second. In order to play that out, we have to keep those guys together." Willits has experience batting leadoff, as he batted first 71 times last year with the Angels. His ability to draw walks -- he has 16 this season and just 18 strikeouts in 60 games -- is why Scioscia likes him at the top of the lineup. "We're just going to see if that grouping works with Reggie leading off," Scioscia said. "It lengthens our lineup and, hopefully, we'll get a little deeper look."
Rhett Bollinger is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.