Gardenhire says Joe Mauer will bat No. 2 to start season


June 25, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Minnesota Twins designated hitter Joe Mauer (7) celebrates with Minnesota Twins shortstop Brian Dozier (20) after scoring a run in the seventh inning against the Chicago White Sox at Target Field. The Twins won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

In his time as the Minnesota Twins skipper, Ron Gardenhire has been reluctant to bat catcher Joe Mauer No. 2, opting instead bat him at No. 3.

Gardenhire changed course and decided to bump his batting champion up the batting lineup—at least for the start of the 2013 season.

During his weekly show on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities Sunday morning, Gardenhire said he will bat Mauer at No.2, as well as bat second baseman Brian Dozier No. 8 and shortstop Pedro Florimon No. 9. He says he plans to “ambush” other teams with high on-base percentage batters at the top of the lineup.

It was previously believed that the team planned on batting Dozier No. 2, simply because they had limited options available. In Mike Berardino’s article from the Pioneer Press on Saturday, Gardenhire said he was comfortable with Dozier batting second:

"“I feel comfortable right now with Dozier right there,” Gardenhire says. “I feel OK. He’s been swinging good; he’s having quality at-bats. He’s been able to handle the bat. We’ll see how it goes.”"

Gardenhire also acknowledged that Mauer was an option, but didn’t sound completely on board to the idea:

"“People say Joe Mauer should hit second or whatever, but do we really want ‘Man on second base and Joe Mauer coming up,’ and he’s shooting it over the other way? I don’t know about that. That’s not his game. Just hitting is his game, but he could do it.”"

Dozier will likely be the long-term option to bat second, if he can improve his numbers from last season. Dozier hit just .234/.271/.603 last season for the Twins, despite tearing it up the minors the previous three seasons.

Minnesota will likely enter the 2013 season with the following batting lineup:

No 1. Aaron Hicks
No. 2. Joe Mauer
No. 3. Josh Willingham
No. 4. Justin Morneau
No. 5. Ryan Doumit
No. 6. Trevor Plouffe
No. 7. Chris Parmelee
No 8. Brian Dozier
No. 9. Pedro Florimon