HOUSTON – On Wednesday, Twins manager Paul Molitor decided to start Oswaldo Arcia over Eddie Rosario in left field.
It wasn’t much of a decision at the beginning of the season, with Rosario coming off a decent rookie year in which he hit .267 with 18 doubles, 15 triples and 13 home runs. But Rosario has not been the same player so far this season.
Rosario entered Wednesday batting .188 with two doubles, no triples and three home runs. Over his previous eight games, Rosario was batting .094 with no walks and nine strikeouts, including a single in three at-bats Tuesday. Molitor has noticed the swagger Rosario was known for a year ago has not been there lately.
“We always talk about last year about him being somewhat unflappable, that he doesn’t seem to be fazed by who he’s facing, the magnitude of the game or whatever circumstances might be, but you come back and start a season and not get off to a good start,” Molitor said. “I think we see that even the steadiest of players mentally can get off track, and he has been forcing it a little bit, trying to find a way to get hits.”
Molitor doesn’t want Arcia to waste on the bench and will be looking for ways to get him in the lineup. He’s 4-for-13 over his past four games, which includes a pinch-hit appearance Monday. Rosario didn’t start despite being 3-for-8 in his career against Astros righthander Mike Fiers.
Rosario, meanwhile, is trying to work on mechanical issues with hitting coach Tom Brunansky.
“I think it’s a combination of him pressing a little bit and mechanically getting a little off track,” Molitor said. “I know Bruno has been trying to tighten up some things to give him a chance. He’s always going to be a free swinger, but when you are not getting hits, it becomes a little bit more.”
Eduardo over Eduardo
Molitor decided to go with Eduardo Nunez at shortstop Wednesday because he hits righthanded pitchers well and Eduardo Escobar has been struggling.
Molitor said that, considering the Twins’ record, he’s at the point where he can show confidence in the regulars and let them play their way out of slumps or try to shake things up. On Wednesday, he went with Arcia in left and Nunez at short.
Could Nunez force more of a platoon situation at short?
“Like most of those questions, it could or it couldn’t,” Molitor said. “I’m open-minded. We’re a month in and our record isn’t good by any means.”
If Nunez hits well, Molitor will keep looking to get his bat in the lineup.
Graham called up
Righthander J.R. Graham joined the club Wednesday from Class AAA Rochester, where he had a 10.80 ERA in eight appearances. That includes eight earned runs over his last 3⅔ innings.
“It doesn’t look good,” Graham said of his numbers, “but I’m here and that’s all that matters. I feel good and my pitches are working.”
Graham is expected to be with the club at least until Saturday, when a move will be made to make room for Ervin Santana to come off the disabled list to start in Chicago against the White Sox.
• Shortstop prospect Nick Gordon, the Twins’ first-round pick in 2014, has been placed on the seven-day disabled list because of a concussion after colliding with teammate Chad Christensen on Tuesday while catching a pop-up in short center field. Gordon made the catch, but both players had to leave the game. Tests on Gordon afterward revealed concussion symptoms.