Manager Ozzie Guillen on Sunday slotted Giancarlo Stanton into the cleanup spot for the first time since the slugger came off the disabled list on Aug. 7.
Stanton is now hitting directly behind Jose Reyes, who has been batting third since Hanley Ramirez was traded to the Dodgers on July 25.
The three/four tandem is something Guillen plans on doing not just for the rest of the season, but into 2013.
"The only reason we made the lineup like that is because I'm thinking about next year," the manager said. "What's the best lineup for us? We're going to try to go out and get a better view of those guys hitting third and fourth."
Reyes isn't a prototypical No. 3 hitter, because he's not a power bat. But he's a proven .300-caliber hitter, who can get on base, steal bases, and drive in runs.
"Reyes has been a leadoff hitter his entire life," Guillen said. "In my opinion, I think he fits us good as a third hitter. He's a free swinger. In the meanwhile, he can put the ball in play. And on top of that, he is not afraid to drive a run in."
Stanton, obviously, is one of the most feared sluggers in the game. The 22-year-old has 29 homers and 73 RBIs.
"Who is going to be behind Stanton? We will wait and see," Guillen said. "We don't know yet. But for sure, those guys are going to be the third and fourth hitters next year."