Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Joe's Moving Up

Things have changed in the month that Joe Mauer has been out of the Twins’ lineup, and the changes affect the former batting champion, too. If Mauer is activated on Friday, as the Twins are planning on, he will probably bat second in the lineup, not his customary No. 3 spot.

Manager Ron Gardenhire, concerned about generating more offense at the top of his lineup, has tentatively decided to insert the 2006 A.L. batting champion right behind leadoff hitter Luis Castillo, and leave his 3-4-5 core of Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau and Torii Hunter intact.

Gardenhire said he thought about making the move last year, too, but decided not to change things when the Twins were playing so well. This year is a different story, and the manager is ready to try a different tactic.

Mauer caught five innings in Fort Myers on Tuesday, and reported no problems in his strained left quad. He’ll suit up for the Fort Myers Miracle on Wednesday against Vero Beach, and fly to Minneapolis on Thursday.

Tonight’s lineups:

Castillo 2b
Tyner dh
Cuddyer rf
Morneau dh
Hunter cf
Kubel lf
Heintz c
Rodriguez 3b
Bartlett ss

Baker p

Willits dh
Cabrera ss
Guerrero rf
Matthews cf
Anderson lf
Kotchman 1b
Kendrick 2b
Molina c
Figgins 3b
Escobar p