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Manuel breaks up Phils' lefty sluggers

Manuel breaks up lefty sluggers

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel seemed a bit puzzled Sunday when somebody suggested he should split up the left-handers in his lineup.

"We played one game, man," he said after the 4-1 loss to the Braves on Opening Night.

But Manuel had Monday to think about it, and he decided to split up his left-handers for Tuesday night's game against the Braves. Instead of Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez in the third, fourth and fifth spots, Manuel moved right-handed-hitting Jayson Werth into the fifth spot and hit Ibanez sixth.

"I did it for you," Manuel said to the media.

Shane Victorino hit sixth Sunday, but Manuel moved him into the second spot because Victorino had hit .364 (4-for-11) against Braves right-hander Jair Jurrjens, who started Tuesday night. Manuel also prefers Victorino hitting second.

"I like hitting Victorino second, because of the talent that he has," Manuel said. "I could hit Werth either fifth of sixth. Werth is a high on-base percentage guy, but also with two strikes, he sends a lot of balls the other way. That's a reason why I'd like to get him out of the second-hole at times."

Ibanez, who replaced Pat Burrell in left field this season, said it doesn't matter to him where he hits in the lineup.

"As long as you're in the lineup, that's a good thing," Ibanez said. "That doesn't affect me, or bother me one way or another."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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