Dozier is the latest Twins leadoff man to struggle


Twins second baseman Brian Dozier

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune file

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Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau are on hitting streaks. Ryan Doumit has hit three home runs in the past week.

With key hitters coming around — Josh Willingham has yet to heat up this season — the Twins could use more production from the leadoff spot. But they continue to miss what Denard Span and Ben Revere gave them last year before they were traded during the offseason.

Twins leadoff hitters entered Monday with the worst batting average (.193) and on-base percentage (.238) in the majors. Aaron Hicks, who hit his second homer of the season Monday night, struggled there for several weeks before being moved down in the order, and now Brian Dozier and his .226 average is there.

“We just need our leadoff guy to get on base and keep the ball out of the air and give yourself a chance,” manager Ron Gardenhire said.

And Dozier opened the first inning with a fly out to medium deep right field, which is what Gardenhire doesn’t want to see.

“He is trying to keep the ball out of the air,” Gardenhire said. “He’s definitely trying to do that but it has to happen on the field more than anything else. He just has to go out there and figure out a way to cover the ball a little bit more.”

The Twins are short on leadoff options. It’s up to Dozier to figure things out, or Hicks to heat up.

Or Mauer to be cloned and bat first and second.

Hendriks on DL

Righthander Liam Hendriks, trying to pitch his way back to the major leagues, has landed on the disabled list at Class AAA Rochester because of a sore elbow. A magnetic resonance imaging exam showed no structural damage.

“They looked at it and it seems to be OK,” Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said. “It’s just a sore elbow. So he’s not going to throw for a few days and then we will ramp him back up.”

On Thursday, Hendriks gave up six runs and 11 hits over five innings. It dropped him to 1-4 with a 5.21 ERA. On Sunday, he landed on the DL.

Hendriks opened the season with the Twins but was sent down after two starts, going 0-1 with a 4.66 ERA. That put his major league numbers in 22 career starts at 1-11 with a 5.63 ERA.


• Mauer, Dozier, Glen Perkins, Trevor Plouffe and Pedro Florimon on Monday modeled the throwback uniforms and gear the Twins will wear May 30 when they play host to the Brewers in a turn-back-the-clock game. The Twins will wear jerseys from the 1948 St. Paul Saints of the American Association. The Brewers were in the same league at the time; Major League Baseball didn’t have a team in either state until the Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee in 1953. The Braves left after the 1965 season. The Seattle Pilots moved to Milwaukee in 1970, becoming the Brewers.

• Former Gophers center and new Lynx player Janel McCarville threw out the first pitch before Monday’s game.

• Hicks returned to the starting lineup after sitting out two games because of a sore elbow.

• White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, batting only .214 with four homers and 16 RBI, was given Monday off. He is a career .280 hitter with 48 home runs against the Twins.

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