Blum's bat earns start at shortstop

Blum's bat earns start at shortstop

LOS ANGELES -- In an attempt to get a little more offense into the lineup, Astros manager Brad Mills has decided to start Geoff Blum at shortstop in place of the struggling Tony Manzella.

"It's strictly an attempt to get more offense," Mills said. "We put another good bat in our lineup and it stretches out our lineup, separating Pedro Feliz and Hunter Pence with a left-handed bat. A good left-handed bat at that."

Blum is leading all Houston batters with a .323 average in 62 at-bats. With the team hitting a league-low .228, Mills felt that he needed to do something to get his better bats into the lineup.

"Is it going to be a situation where he's going out there three or four times a week? I doubt that," Mills said, adding that, "Because of where he is in his career, it would be tough to do that."

Blum, who hasn't played there this season, has been working out at shortstop and has played there almost 200 times during his career.

As for losing Blum's bat off the bench, Mills admitted that it definitely weakens the bench, but added, "Hopefully we'll get into a situation where we won't need that bench as much."