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Predicting the Blue Jays' Starting Lineup Halfway Through Spring Training

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Predicting the Blue Jays' Starting Lineup Halfway Through Spring Training
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Following the acquisitions of Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera and Maicer Izturis, along with the return of Jose Bautista, the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays' lineup will look dramatically different than the primary lineup used in the disappointing second half of last season.

Much of the Blue Jays' expected everyday lineup for 2013 has been set in place for months now, but we'll take a closer look at how the team's batting order for the regular season should shake out as we near the halfway mark in spring training.

The Blue Jays had some serious issues at the top of the batting order last season, but went out with the intent to fix those issues in the offseason by acquiring Reyes and Cabrera. Meanwhile, the return of Bautista paired with Edwin Encarnacion, who is coming off a breakout campaign in 2012, should solidify the heart of the lineup.

The Blue Jays still have some flexibility with their lineup, however. There is a real question as to who will offer protection behind Bautista and Encarnacion. There is also a debate about where budding star Brett Lawrie should bat.

Finally, the bottom-third of the order is not set in stone; there is still some competition at second base and uncertainty about who will bat seventh and eighth.

With that in mind, here is my effort to predict the team's everyday starting lineup at the midpoint of spring training. This may not be the batting order that appears on the Opening Day lineup card, as staff ace R.A. Dickey may require a personal catcher, but this is the lineup I believe we'll see for the most part early on in the 2013 season.

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