When Ron Gardenhire approached Joe Mauer about the lineup the Twins manager was considering for 2013, he got the answer he expected from his three-time batting champion.
“I told him, however he thinks we can score as many runs as we can is what I want to have happen,” Mauer said Sunday. “This is just how our lineup shakes out right now.”
“This” is a return to the second spot in the order, a move up from Mauer’s traditional third position. Gardenhire said Sunday that “I believe we’re going to have Joe Mauer in the 2-hole. We’re trying to kind of ambush people” with the Twins’ five best on-base regulars stacked up at the top.
Gardenhire historically has preferred a good bunter batting behind the leadoff hitter, and while Mauer can bunt, the Twins are unlikely ever to ask a career .323 hitter to sacrifice. But the manager, speaking on his weekly radio show on 1500 ESPN, said there’s a trade-off to bunting that makes his choice easier.
“If you get in a situation where you bunt somebody over to Joe, they’re going to end up putting him on [and] pitching around him anyway,” Gardenhire said.
Second baseman Brian Dozier served as the No. 2 hitter throughout much of spring training, but Gardenhire said he wants to take pressure off the 25-year-old by moving him to the bottom of the order. Dozier will bat eighth, shortstop Pedro Florimon ninth, Gardenhire said, “and let those guys get comfortable.”
Of his 1,018 career starts, Mauer has hit second 73 times, and only 10 since 2009.
Target Field tweaks
From the new food lineup to a change in music, Twins fans will notice several changes to the game experience at Target Field on Monday. Among them, said Joe Pohlad, is the team’s pre-lineup video, which will be different every day.
“The video concept is ‘together.’ Fans and players, all in this together,” said Pohlad, the team’s director of productions and creative services, and a nephew of the team’s operating owner, Jim Pohlad. “We’ll record fans before each game, arriving, doing a number of things, and integrate that into the video,” which will be used to introduce the lineups.
The team has also hired Tim Miller as its new music director, a position he also holds with the Timberwolves.
Fans will also notice that the Gate 6 entrance in left field is a construction site, as the city and state work to build a transit hub connecting light-rail lines with commuter trains in a common station. The Twins don’t expect it to be too big an inconvenience, but lining up for trains postgame might be affected.
• The Twins made their roster official by placing veteran outfielder Wilkin Ramirez on the 40-man roster. “I never had Opening Day in the big leagues,” said Ramirez, who has 35 games of big-league experience with the Tigers and Braves. “It’s a blessing.”
• Liam Hendriks threw 52 pitches, only 26 of them strikes, in a five-inning exhibition start for Class AAA Rochester on Sunday. The righthander is scheduled to start for the Twins next Sunday at Baltimore.