I've seen a handful of "projected lineups" for the Twins lately, from fans and media both, and most of them seem to have one notable thing in common: Joe Mauer isn't near the top anymore. Most appraisals expect Mauer to bat sixth or seventh, ceding the spots above him mostly to power hitters, usually Trevor Plouffe or Brian Dozier.
We'll see what happens come spring training, but the actual decisionmaker on this issue doesn't sound nearly as eager to demote the three-time batting champion to the bottom. Paul Molitor talked about his lineup a couple of weeks ago at Torii Hunter's news conference, and among other things, defended his inclination to bat Mauer second or third.
"I know everyone likes to speculate [about], am I going to have the courage to put him down there at some point in his career? I don't look at it that way," Molitor said. "Look at how he fit into our lineup last year. I was fairly candid about my desire to at least look at options with him, but right now, it's still near the top."
Twins Insider: startribune.com/twins