TORONTO — Paul Molitor was looking to make a change, but not too big a change, in order to shake up his lineup. He decided to start right at the top.
Aaron Hicks will lead off for the Twins tonight, with Brian Dozier moved down to second in the lineup. It doesn’t really have much to do with how either player is hitting, the Twins manager said, although Dozier is 5-for-33 (.152) in his last eight games. Proof of that: Hicks is 1-for-19 in his last five.
It’s more about not sitting still during a teamwide slump — the Twins have scored seven runs in their last five games, after all.
“You try to balance [not] getting too crazy and still trying to make it look a little different,” Molitor said. “If you look at what Brian’s done, his body of work, he’s a very impactful guy at the top of the lineup. To take him out of there wasn’t an easy choice, but I thought we’ve scuffled enough to say, hey, if we’re going to do something a little different, let’s try it.”
He emphasized that the change may be only a one-day event, especially since lefthander Mark Buehrle is on the mound tomorrow. It’s Hicks’ second opportunity to lead off this season, but the other one came on a day that Dozier was sitting out.
Torii Hunter gets the night off, in part to protect his legs during four days on the artificial turf, and in part to simply keep him fresh with two months to play. Understandable, but Hunter is the only Twin with an RBI in the first two games here.
Tyler Duffey makes his major league debut tonight, and Molitor said he hopes being here for the first two games is a help to him.
Here are tonight’s lineups for the third game of the series: