Torii Hunter did not play Friday against the Cubs, and the resulting batting order upheaval led to Eddie Rosario being placed in the No. 2 hole.
It’s really a reflection of the coaching’s staff’s growing confidence in him.
Rosario made his major league debut May 6 by hitting the first pitch he saw for an opposite-field home run. He promptly went 4-for-25 with 10 strikeouts over his next six games, and manager Paul Molitor expressed concern about his poor plate discipline.
But Rosario responded. He went 2-for-4 with two runs in the Twins’ 7-2 victory, putting his average at .311 over his past 27 games. He is also hitting .381 in 18 games at Target Field.
“He’s been good,” Molitor said. “A lot of good at-bats, making adjustments on the fly. For a young guy to do some of the things in-game that he has been doing, I think that has been pretty good.”
Hitting coach Tom Brunansky was impressed with a sequence last weekend at Texas when Rosario chased a 2-0 changeup out of the strike zone. Brunansky talked to him after the at-bat, and Rosario said he knew what he did. Later in the game, Rosario got another changeup, but he made sure it was in the strike zone and drove it.
“He’s able to take an at-bat and apply what he learned and take it into another at-bat,” Brunansky said. “For a young player, that’s pretty special.”
Byron Buxton was asked about Cubs rookie Kyle Schwarber, and his head snapped back from the memory.
Buxton was 20-for-22 in stolen base attempts at Class AA Chattanooga before being called up Sunday. One of the two catchers to throw him out was Schwarber, who was playing for Tennessee at the time.
During a June 5 game, Buxton knew that Smokies pitcher Ivan Pineyro didn’t have a quick delivery and took off for second. He did not get the desired result.
“I felt like I got a great jump,” Buxton said. “He just threw a bullet. And I’m like, ‘There’s no way I’m getting around this one.’ Right to the bag, right in front of the bag. Right where I slide. The ball was there. Unbelievable.”
Buxton had stolen bases twice with Schwarber behind the plate earlier in the season. He sounded as if he still couldn’t believe he was thrown out.
“I looked back like, ‘Where did this come from?’ ” Buxton said.
The Cubs called up Schwarber, the No. 4 overall pick last year out of Indiana, to be the designated hitter during road interleague games. He is headed to Class AAA Iowa after the series.
Schwarber remembered throwing Buxton out when he was asked about it Tuesday, when he was called up.
“He’s one of the best base stealers in minor league baseball — now in the major leagues,” he said. “So, you know, it was cool, a feather in your cap.”
• The Twins said they have signed 20 of the 40 players they drafted this month. That includes eight of their first 11 picks. They had hoped to sign 20 out of the class, but scouting director Deron Johnson said Friday he hoped to sign a couple more. That includes Kyle Cody, a University of Kentucky righthander taken 73rd overall during the competitive balance compensation round.
Fourth-round pick Trey Cabbage, a third baseman from Grainger High School in Rutledge, Tenn., signed Friday, met Molitor and some members of the team and took batting practice.
• The Twins hope righthander Ricky Nolasco, who has been fitted with orthotics in an attempt to deal with an impingement in his right ankle, can throw a bullpen session Wednesday.