Lewis trying to settle into leadoff spot

Lewis trying to settle into leadoff

SAN FRANCISCO -- Fred Lewis is the ideal leadoff batter among the Giants, even if he doesn't always feel suited for the role.

Entering Monday's series opener against Detroit, Lewis ranked fifth in the National League with 4.26 pitches seen per plate appearance, indicating that he possesses one of the requisite traits of a leadoff man. Lewis also ranked fourth among NL leadoff hitters with 41 runs and fifth with 59 hits from that spot.

Yet Lewis often doesn't feel comfortable "working" pitchers as he should.

"I'm not trying to get too deep in the count. I tend to strike out a lot," he said.

Indeed, Lewis led the Giants before Monday with 63 strikeouts. But the left fielder also had a team-high 29 walks, swelling his on-base percentage to .362. Only Aaron Rowand (.374) and Ray Durham (.378) were higher among the Giants.

Interestingly, No. 3 hitter Randy Winn, who leads off against left-handed starters when Lewis doesn't play, has compiled nearly identical statistics. Winn owns a .361 on-base percentage, 26 walks, a .454 slugging percentage (compared with Lewis' .459) and 10 stolen bases (Lewis has a team-high 12). Winn was hitting .301 to Lewis' .281 and had struck out 34 times, almost half as much as his teammate.

Manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged that he and his brain-trust have discussed batting Lewis lower in the order. But Lewis' and Winn's proficiency at their respective spots leaves Bochy content with the status quo.

"I don't want to change that right now," Bochy said.

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