Some guys have to look at the lineup every day to see whether they're playing. Atlanta Braves infielder-outfielder Martin Prado has to look at it to see which position he's playing. It could be anywhere except pitcher or catcher.
There aren't many weeks like the one he had from Aug. 23 to Aug. 29, when he started at five positions: left field, first base, second base, third base and shortstop. But even when he starts at the same position for consecutive games, he might move somewhere else after the seventh inning. He keeps several gloves handy in the dugout just in case.
For the first half of the season, as he shuttled between left field and backing up third baseman Chipper Jones when Jones' knees wouldn't let him start, Prado said he didn't care where he played as long as he batted second in the order. Hitting in the same spot every day was his anchor.
Recently, manager Fredi Gonzalez has slotted him sixth in the order, hoping his consistent bat can lengthen the lineup. Prado has been able to keep his equilibrium despite the switch, going 9-for-27 (.333) in last week's seven-game home stand.
Sunday, in the finale of the three-game Mets series, Prado started at short then moved to third in the bottom of the ninth, replacing the sometimes iffy defense of third baseman Juan Francisco. But he was back in the second spot in the batting order.
Through nine innings, Prado was 0-for-3, including a masterful bunt in the first inning to advance center fielder Michael Bourn. He beat out an infield hit to lead off the 10th, got to second on a ground-out, reached third on a walk to load the bases and scored on a sacrifice fly for the 3-2 win.