Gerardo Parra might hit first in the Arizona Diamondbacks' lineup for quite some time, with nominal leadoff man Adam Eaton expected to miss six to eight weeks due to a slight tear in the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow.
And why wouldn't Parra remain atop the order?
Parra entered the season with a .298 career batting average in the No. 1 spot, and he built on that with a four-hit game in the Diamondbacks' 6-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in the season opener for both teams Monday. Parra had three of the D-backs' seven doubles and scored once. He added a single in four trips Tuesday in a 6-1 loss to St. Louis, one of Arizona's three hits.
While Parra is chomping to get back into the starting lineup after winning an NL Gold Glove as a regular in left field in 2011, he makes no demands.
"I like just staying in the lineup. Today was leadoff. Tomorrow might be something else. I just play my baseball and stay happy," Parra said.
Parra lost time when the D-backs brought in Jason Kubel to play left field last year, although he still had 385 at-bats. He hit .273 with seven homers, 36 RBI and 15 stolen bases. He got a lot of playing time early, when Chris Young missed a month because of a shoulder injury.
"He's wanted to play, you know that," manager Kirk Gibson said. "He won a Gold Glove a couple of years ago but didn't get to play as much as he wanted probably last year. He keeps himself healthy. He works hard, and here he is, a great game in the opening game. He wants to play every day, and it will be hard to take him out if he keeps playing that way, for sure."
Gibson believes Parra is his best option at leadoff as the roster composition stands now.
"Who else is going to be up there? I think (Martin) Prado in the two hole better than the one hole," the manager said. "When (Willie) Bloomquist is healthy, I'd probably lead him off a little bit. Other than that, I don't know who else I'd put up there. He's done it before."