FORT MYERS, Fla. — Brian Dozier hit a two-run homer while batting second in the Twins’ order on Sunday. Joe Mauer went 0-for-3 in the third slot.
There’s reason to believe they may soon swap places.
Manager Paul Molitor revealed a little more of his strategic thinking after the Twins’ 6-6 tie with the St. Louis Cardinals, and suggested he hasn’t decided which player is better suited for which slot.
“It’s kind of a Joe and Dozier conversation for me,” Molitor said, with Danny Santana likely hitting in the leadoff spot.
The attributes for the No. 2 hitter have changed over the past few seasons, Molitor said. “Ror a long time, it was a guy who could take pitches, and hit [between first and second base], and move runners and be a table-setter, all those type of things,” the manager said. “It’s turned into a little bit more of an offensive position in the lineup now, where you put arguably your best hitter there as opposed to the three-hole. [You] potentially gain a few at-bats along the way, and it’s being more of a power slot, especially if you have guys who can turn the lineup over to the top.”
Dozier has led the Twins in home runs the past two seasons, with a total of 41 in that time, so it’s not a stretch to say he can fill a power slot. And Mauer hasn’t hit more than 11 home runs since his MVP season of 2009, but he has maintained an on-base percentage of at least .360 every year of his career.
“I kind of go back and forth. I haven’t really put Joe in there yet,” Molitor said. “But as these guys start playing a little more frequently over the next few weeks, I’m going to try a couple of different combinations.“