HOUSTON — Even the man who wrote out the Twins’ lineup tonight acknowledged that it feels a little historic, like the start of something big. For the first time tonight, the Twins outfield will include Eddie Rosario in left field, Byron Buxton in center and Aaron Hicks in right, three young players who might hold those jobs for a long time.
“Having that trio of athletes roaming your defensive outfield, that’s an exciting prospect for your future,” Molitor said. “Things change. That’s something that could unfold, but you have to see how they do over time, obviously.”
Still, Hicks is the oldest at 25, while Rosario is 23 and Buxton just 21 — so all three are projected to develop and improve with experience. “They have an opportunity to be a very athletic trio out there, as far as their range, their instincts to play the outfield, [and] they all can throw,” Molitor said. “Tonight was a good time for them to get out there collectively, and hopefully they all have a good night.”
He’s hoping Ervin Santana does, too, after the veteran right-hander broke out of his slump last Sunday against these Astros. Santana didn’t allow a run in seven innings last weekend, striking out 10. Now he faces a rematch with Houston rookie Lance McCullers.
“One thing I liked [about Santana’s last outing] — after the game, I complimented him on the improvement, and his first reaction was, ‘I still made a lot of mistakes,’ “ Molitor said. “He’s been working hard.”
Here are the lineups for tonight’s 6:10 p.m. start from Minute Maid Park: