Sledge hammer could drop

If Marcus Giles is hitting first in the Padres order, where does left fielder Terrmel Sledge hit?

Possibly eighth.

Padres manager Bud Black has said he wants to bolster the bottom half of the lineup and could use shortstop Khalil Greene and Sledge as the weapons.

"It's a big advantage if you have a good bottom to your lineup," Black said. "And I think that's a potential strength of our lineup, guys who give you good at-bats throughout the lineup."

Black has also mentioned third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff and catcher Josh Bard as candidates for the second half of the batting order.

Sledge said he doesn't care where he hits, although he admitted batting in the No. 8 slot is tough.

"You get pitched around a lot," he said. "But I don't care. I can adjust to wherever they want to hit me in the lineup."

If Marcus Giles is hitting first, there is also the question of who hits in the No. 2 slot. Brian Giles could be a possibility to move up. If Brian Giles were to remain at No. 3 ahead of Adrian Gonzalez, that would give the Padres consecutive left-handed hitters.

The Padres see Kouzmanoff eventually hitting in the middle of the order, but they probably won't put him under that pressure this season.

If the Giles brothers top the order, Mike Cameron would fill either the third or fifth slots. If Greene or Sledge hits second, Brian Giles would hit third with Cameron in the fifth slot.

Black said Sledge still could wind up in the leadoff slot.

"Nothing has been determined," the first-year manager said.

Notes:

Padres owner John Moores believes the team is a candidate to win the World Series this season.

"I was obviously disappointed as hell in the postseason last year," said Moores in a visit to the Padres' spring training camp. "But I think this team potentially is a notch or two above last year. Can this team win it all? Why not?"

Moores also contrasted the differences between Black and former coach Bruce Bochy:

"Black's a different guy than Bochy, and that's not taking anything from Bochy. I love Bruce, but Bud is different. He just interviews well, says all the right things and is a baseball nut. He seems to have superior baseball personnel skills."

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