The Twins will use their 42nd different lineup of the season tonight in their 45th game, and this one’s unique feature is easy to spot: Robbie Grossman has gone from out of baseball one week ago to the fifth spot in the Twins’ lineup.
“For some guys out there who are floating around, to come to Minnesota, with where we’re at right now, they might think they have a good chance to get an opportunity to play,” said Twins manager Paul Molitor, sounding a little amazed at this turn of events. “And that’s what’s happened for him.”
It’s a wonder that Carlos Quentin and Ryan Sweeney, who walked away from the game when they didn’t make the team in spring training, haven’t called back.
Grossman, though, has had an immediate impact, collecting hits in three of the four games he’s played, six hits in all, four of which drove in runs. He’s drawn a couple of walks, too, and has had no problems in the outfield.
“[There’s] not a huge splash when you sign Robbie Grossman, but a lot of times opportunities come and people kind of wedge their foot in there a little bit,” Molitor said. “… He’s been a nice little spark for us.”
And now he’s right in the middle of the lineup, which is a first; in his 195-game major-league career, Grossman has never started a game in the third, fourth or fifth slot.
That lineup, for a second straight day, doesn’t include Brian Dozier, who is still getting a break while working to bust out of his slump. And it doesn’t include Byung Ho Park, either, considering the Korean slugger is 1-for-21 (.048) over the past week. Molitor said he talked with both players on the field before batting practice today. “I asked [Park] what he did when he had to get back on track over in Korea,” Molitor said, “and he said he never got off track.”
Here are the lineups for tonight’s second game of a three-game set with Kansas City, which is now 4-0 against Minnesota this season:
D. Santana CF
E. Santana RHP