For the first time in more than three years, the Minnesota Twins had their shortstop batting leadoff.
Veteran infielder Jamey Carroll got the start Tuesday at shortstop, his first game there this year. He was also penciled into the lineup as the Twins’ leadoff batter. Second baseman Brian Dozier had been handling leadoff duties since mid-April but was moved down to ninth in the order for Tuesday’s game.
Carroll, 39, entered Tuesday’s game with good numbers in his career against Dempster, as he has six hits in 14 at-bats (.429 average). Pedro Florimon, who has been Minnesota’s every-day shortstop this year, had the day off Tuesday.
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“We kind of worked it around and looked at a lot of different situations, but the bottom line is (Carroll) has good numbers against the guy,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told mlb.com. “He’s been swinging good the last couple of times, and we’ll see if he can continue to do that.”
With the shortstop Carroll leading off Tuesday, it marked the first time since June 20, 2009 that Minnesota had a shortstop bat leadoff — Brendan Harris did so more than three years ago. Last season, Carroll was the only non-outfielder to lead off, and he did so just once as the second baseman.
Carroll hasn’t been used as much this season as he was last year. With Dozier handling second base on a regular basis and Florimon at shortstop, Tuesday was Carroll’s 13th game of the season. Prior to Tuesday, he was batting .321 (9-for-28) with three RBI.
Swarzak won’t pitch Tuesday: Twins reliever Anthony Swarzak was a big reason why Minnesota sent Monday’s game to extra innings. The right-hander pitched three scoreless innings and struck out four Red Sox batters.
But Swarzak needed 54 pitches to get through three innings of relief and Gardenhire told reporters he won’t be using Swarzak out of the bullpen Tuesday and possibly Wednesday.
“It was really important but the worst part about it is that he can’t go three innings tonight; he’s going to have to sit out a day or two,” Gardenhire said. “But those were huge innings last night. Any time you have one of those extra-inning affairs you need someone who can eat up those innings, and he came in last night with a tie game and threw the ball good and gave us a chance.”
Morneau moves up the list: Twins first baseman Justin Morneau singled in the top of the second inning Tuesday against Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster. In doing so, he moved into a tie with former outfielder Torii Hunter for eighth on the team’s all-time hit list with 1,218.
Morneau’s current teammate, Joe Mauer, ranks ahead of Morneau on the hit list with 1,302 entering Tuesday’s game. The late Kirby Puckett is the Twins’ all-time hits leader with 2,304, while Sam Rice is the franchise leader with 2,889 hits with the Washington Senators.