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Black has method to lineup madness

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DENVER -- No Major League manager has used more different starting lineups this season than Padres manager Bud Black.

Going into Friday's game against the Rockies, Black had used 42 different lineups, a different one for every game this season.

Next on the list is Cubs manager Rick Renteria and John Gibbons in Toronto (38). On the other side of that equation, Ned Yost of the Royals has used just 17 different lineups. For the National League, this number is slightly skewed as it takes into consideration the starting pitcher.

Black's figure might be changing, as for just the second time since Sept. 5 of 2012, the Padres had Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin, Cameron Maybin and Yonder Alonso in the same starting lineup on Friday. Injuries have often kept one or more of the players from the starting lineup since 2012.

But why use so many different lineups, Black was asked.

"I think the way our roster sets up, we do have a couple of players who are built to play every day and some others who perform best when they get a day off from starting, when we can give them the best possible matchup available," Black said. "It's also keeping those guys who don't play every day fresh. I think our guys understand this is what's best for their performance."

Shortstop Everth Cabrera (40 starts before Friday), second baseman Jedd Gyorko (39), outfielder Will Venable (36) and first baseman Alonso (36) have essentially been in the lineup nearly every game.

Now that Headley, Quentin and Maybin have returned from disabled list stints this season, they could soon join the list of players getting starts more often than not.

Black said there are many factors to consider when putting together a lineup -- health, matchups, going with a hot hand (or bat) and also keeping in mind that a day off in April or May could benefit a player in, say, August or September.

"It is years of experience and knowing our players, communicating with them," Black said. "Some guys wear down quicker than others. Some guys need to stay fresh for bat speed, legs and the mental side. It's good for the team to get everyone involved.

"And I don't think there's a drop in quality and performance when we do mix and match those guys."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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