Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge said Brendan Ryan will be the starting shortstop - and veteran Jack Wilson the second baseman - when the 2011 season begins.
The decision was made, Wedge said, because he thought it was the best up-the-middle defense he could put in the field and it might help keep Wilson healthy.
It's a bit of a surprise in that Wilson has never started a big-league game at second base and Ryan has.
What's it mean, long term? With rookie Dustin Ackley in the wings, it almost certainly means Wilson won't have the job by mid-season. And once Ackley comes up, it's unlikely the Mariners will need another second baseman in the forseeable future.
Wilson is in the final year of his Seattle contract, a 33-year-old with a recent history of injuries. This spring he's been healthy and productive, batting over .400. Ryan, 28, was acquired in December from St. Louis, where he was among the National League's best defensive shortstops last season.
The issue now is how Wilson adjusts - on the field and emotionally - to being asked to change positions.
"It was a tough decision, but I'm confident it was the right move," Wedge said. "Now we're going to get them out there the last 10 days of spring and let them work together.