PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Twins are conducting a competitioin for the center field job. Or so Ron Gardenhire has heard.
But the Twins' spring schedule has been a little travel-centric this spring, with five bus rides of roughly two hours or more already, trips that only about half the players make at a time. Tired of simply reading reports about his possible center fielders, the Twins' manager brought all four potential contenders with him today, and two of them will be in the starting lineup.
Aaron Hicks will start in center (and bat second, a little unusual) while Darin Mastroianni starts in left. They'll play five innings, then give way to Alex Presley and Jermaine Mitchell, all so Gardenhire can better gauge where each stands with two weeks remaining in spring camp.
Oh, and that unusual batting order? It's so Jason Bartlett can lead off and get as many plate appearances as possible. The Twins are waiting for Bartlett to show he can still hit -- "We're looking for some veteran leadership on this team," Gardenhire said of the 34-year-old infielder -- but he's now 0-for-19 in camp. He hit a couple of balls hard yesterday, but both were caught; Gardenhire said he hopes that Bartlett is beginning to regain some confidence.
Here are the lineups for Saturday's game with the Mets (or what Mets are left; much of the team is in Las Vegas for a weekend exhibition series against the Cubs):
den Dekker RF