CHICAGO — Brian Dozier is out of the lineup for the season’s final game, sidelined by a sore right quad, and Byron Buxton is in his place atop the Twins’ lineup. It’s a look that Twins fans have projected for a long time, and Buxton looks forward to making permanent. But manager Paul Molitor said he’s not ready to commit to that yet.
“I don’t expect that to happen in the short term. We’ll see how things unfold in the spring,” the Twins manager said before the season’s final game. “He most likely will need a little more time to evolve into a top-third-of-the-lineup hitter.”
That said, it sounds like Dozier might not be the leadoff hitter next year, either. He became the second hitter in Twins history to eclipse 40 home runs this season, finishing his season with 42 and 99 RBIs. “I’m going to have to sort out where his bat’s going to be most valuable, given the power trend we’ve seen the last three years,” Molitor said. “But he knows I appreciate his steadiness.”
The Twins haven’t won a Jose Berrios start since Aug. 1, a drought of eight starts. He faces Chicago ace Chris Sale today.
Here are the lineups for the Twins’ final game of the 2016 season:
L. Garcia CF