NEW YORK — The Twins’ batting order is the same today as it was for last night’s 5-3 loss to the Yankees, something that Paul Molitor has been able to do only three other times this season.
It’s nice to have a little consistency, Molitor said before the game, and he hopes it helps some of his players play better, too. But he made it clear that this isn’t the lineup, and certainly not the performance level, that he’s after.
“I don’t know how many people who are hitting in certain places now will be hitting there in the future if you get everybody healthy and developed,” Molitor said. “For now, guys are getting a chance to hit in a production slot in the lineup, and we’ll see how they respond.”
He didn’t name names, of course, but his meaning isn’t hard to understand. For one thing, the Twins have been trying to survive for nearly a month now without Miguel Sano, their best hitter. Somehow they have managed to score a half-run more without Sano in June (4.6 per game) than they did with him in May (4.1), but nobody is suggesting the team is better off without him.
“Some of the young guys that are just gaining experience hopefully are starting to let their talents surface more consistently,” Molitor said. “I’m looking for more offense, to be honest. But at least we’re seeing guys with a little more confidence in their at-bats.”
Sano will play seven innings at third base tonight in Rochester. He should be back in a Twins uniform next week, a month after straining his hamstring in Oakland.
The big news in the Yankees dugout is the return today of Mark Teixeira, out since June 4 with a cartilage tear in his right knee. The Yankees returned Rob Refsnyder, who had an RBI single last night, to the minors to make room.
Here are the lineups for the second game of the three-game series in Yankee Stadium, where the Twins have lost five of their last six games: