Twins manager Ron Gardenhire confirms Joe Mauer will occupy 2-hole
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
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.