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Updated: March 31st, 2013 10:08am
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire confirms Joe Mauer will occupy 2-hole

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire confirms Joe Mauer will occupy 2-hole

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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Audio Clip
3/31/2013
Ron Gardenhire says Joe Mauer will start the season batting second
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is back for another year of the Ron Gardenhire Show on 1500ESPN. Gardy breaks news by announcing Joe Mauer will bat second on Opening Day and also talks about the challenges of playing a game in 30 degree weather.
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The Minnesota Twins will open the season on Monday with a unique-looking lineup, at least by their standards.

Manager Ron Gardenhire confirmed on his weekly 1500 ESPN radio show Sunday that Joe Mauer will occupy the No. 2 slot in the batting order for the foreseeable future, followed by Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau.

Gardenhire has a history of using lighter-hitting players in the 2-hole -- guys who can "handle the bat," so to speak, and drop down the occasional bunt. Mauer has batted second just 73 times in 1,065 career games, but with no clear-cut, established alternative on the Twins' roster, it makes sense to simply move Mauer up behind rookie Aaron Hicks.

As Gardenhire put it, the Twins are looking to "ambush" teams with high on-base percentage hitters early in the lineup.

Mauer (.405), Willingham (.362) and Morneau (.351) all reach base at high clips for their careers, and Hicks (.379) has done so in the minor leagues and during spring training.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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