Brian Dozier didn’t want to wait till he got to the ballpark. What if Paul Molitor made out his lineup before he got there?
So Dozier, who sat out Saturday’s game with a bruised right knee, texted his manager early Easter morning with a message: The knee is fine. I’m ready to play.
“I followed up with the trainers to make sure they were OK with that,” Molitor said. “He’s doing some [drills today], just to give peace of mind to the trainers, more than anything. He says he knows his body, and has no issues.”
With that assurance, Dozier is back on top of the Twins’ lineup for their finale against the White Sox. It’s yet another different look for the Twins’ batting order, with Robbie Grossman moving to fifth for the first time. Even more unusual, the Twins’ sort-of-regular designated hitter is in right field today.
“It’s been awhile since he’s been out there. It’s just day to day — you look for opportunities to get people to do what they do, in addition to just taking at-bats,” Molitor said after making Kepler his DH and putting him second in the order. “He’s been a little antsy with not playing defense.”
Hector Santiago will try to follow Ervin Santana’s one-hit masterpiece today, opposed by Chicago righthander James Shields. Santiago has given up just seven hits in 11 1/3 innings this season, and was 4-0 with a 1.03 ERA against the White Sox in 2016. Shields had a 6.19 ERA in three starts against the Twins, and has lost three straight games in Target Field.
Here are the lineups for the late-start (3:10 p.m.) Easter matinee:
L. Garcia SS
A. Garcia RF
W. Garcia LF