Paul Molitor has tried batting Brian Dozier first, second, third, even sixth. On Monday, the Twins manager decided to try a new spot for his slumping second baseman: the bench.
It might only be for one day, or it might last a few more, but Molitor decided that the time had come to take a little pressure off Dozier, whose season batting average once again has fallen below .200.
“We are always taking a look at where people are at, and who needs a little bit of a break, in terms of the pressures the game can put on you,” Molitor said. “It’s going to happen. And it seems to get a little bit intensified when your team is struggling.”
Still, it wasn’t an easy decision, Molitor said. “He’s meant a lot here. He was a big part of what we did last year. He’s earned the right to be talked to when I decide to sit him down for a day or two,” Molitor said. “It’s tough. You want to get these guys back on track. That’s the main goal, and sometimes taking a step back is the best way to do it.”
The timing was right, too. Eduardo Escobar is back from a groin injury, activated today from the disabled list and ready to play. He’s at his usual shortstop spot, with Eduardo Nunez, enjoying the best start of his career, moving over to second base.
The Royals’ lineup has a different look, too; Alex Gordon has a broken bone in his right wrist, an injury suffered in a collision with Mike Moustakas on Sunday, and he’ll be out for four weeks, the team said. Moustakas suffered a bruised knee and is out of the lineup, too, though he could return this week.
Here are the lineups for the first of a three-game series: