ANAHEIM, CALIF. – Brian Dozier thinks he’s found something.
The second baseman batted .341 during the Twins’ 10-game homestand and is batting .231 after going 1 for 4 on Monday. with seven homers and 25 RBI. Dozier had bottomed out at .199 and was dropped in the batting order until his recent surge.
“I feel like I’m clicking at the plate,” he said. “I feel more comfortable, for a while actually. Driving balls, getting on base, everything feels natural.
“Something clicked about a month ago. I got back to my old self and started staying behind the ball rather than trying to jerk everything and getting everything out in front.”
The numbers support that. Dozier pulled 60.2 percent of his hits last season, tops in the league. Teams attacked that with shifts this season, and he struggled to adjust.
But he’s started to hit the ball up the middle and to the opposite field more as he’s stayed behind the ball. He’s hit the ball to center 34.6 percent of the time this year, up from 24.2 percent last year. He’s pulling the ball less this year, at 53.1 percent.
Twins manager Paul Molitor thinks opponents have already taken notice.
“I think that he’s trying to [use the whole field],” Molitor said. “We still see the hook swing, which is fine. One of the things I’ve noticed is that how he is swinging at some of the balls he has hit has minimized the shifts he has seen and, thusly, he has been able to hit some balls through the left side of the infield that were getting gobbled up earlier in the year.”
Carew to be honored
On Tuesday, the Angels will announce that they are joining the Heart of 29 Campaign that the Twins started in January for Rod Carew, who suffered a massive heart attack on Sept. 20 and is now awaiting a transplant.
The campaign raises funds for the American Heart Association while raising awareness about heart disease. Carew, who played 12 years with the Twins and seven with the Angels, is surviving now with the help of a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), which pumps blood into the aorta.
Carew will throw out the first pitch before Tuesday’s game.
More bullpen problems
The bullpen has been worked hard in recent games. Everyone’s had to throw a couple innings. And Phil Hughes is out indefinitely after taking a line drive off his left knee Thursday.
Consequently, the Twins really don’t have an innings eater in the bullpen right now. That could lead to major jugging if starters get knocked out early during this series.
Molitor mentioned Taylor Rogers, Michael Tonkin and Buddy Boshers as the best candidates to pitch a turn through the batting order. But he just can’t afford to do it right now.
“I’ve had to use them more frequently and it kind of eliminates the length,” he said. “We’re kind of in that position now where, until we get a couple long starts, that I have to keep these outings to two innings or less to keep people available.”
• Lefthander Glen Perkins, who has suffered a setback in his recovery from shoulder soreness, is getting his second opinion at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles on Tuesday. He will be examined by Dr. Neal S. ElAttrache. Perkins will return to the Twin Cities on Tuesday night.
• Outfielder Danny Santana is off to Class AAA Rochester for rehabilitation assignment. He has been out since May 30 with a left hamstring strain.