OAKLAND -- Mark Ellis arrives at the ballpark every day, glances at the lineup card, and then goes about preparing for the game. Seeing his name as the No. 3 hitter in the A's lineup for just the sixth time in his career on Saturday? No biggie. His name in the leadoff spot on Sunday, his fourth appearance at the top this year? Not a problem. "I could care less," Ellis said. "It's better if I hit at or near the top of the order but only because it means more at-bats. I think I've hit everywhere in the lineup and I don't really care as long as I don't hit 10th."
Ellis has hit everywhere in the order, twice as the cleanup hitter. He's been a leadoff hitter more often than not during his career and has been batting second most of this season. As far as Ellis is concerned, stick his name in a hat and pick any number. Just don't expect him to change his approach because of where he's hitting. "He's versatile enough to go to a lot of spots and he has the right attitude," A's manager Bob Geren said. "He doesn't need any warning. There are a lot of guys who want to know ahead of time where and why they're getting moved. Not Mark. He's just a confident player and a team guy." For the record, Ellis has his best numbers batting eighth, with a .307 average, a .373 on-base percentage, and a .828 OPS. Based on percentages, he powers up at the sixth spot. He goes deep once every eight at-bats there. In his five official at-bats as the cleanup hitter, Ellis has two hits (.400), a home run and three RBIs. "You're going to have good days and bad days and with a young team, it's about learning to have quality at-bats," Ellis said. "It's a process and you're always learning, even if it's about the new pitchers in your division. The most important thing is never taking an at-bat for granted."
Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.