05/21/09 3:27 PM ET
Gardenhire tinkers with Twins' lineup
Manager moves Mauer to No. 2 hole, Kubel to cleanup spot
By David Just / Special to MLB.com
Just a day removed from saying he thought the lineup was working, Gardenhire shook things up Thursday, moving Joe Mauer up to the No. 2 hole, Jason Kubel to the cleanup spot and giving catcher Jose Morales the start in the seventh spot.
Mauer served as the team's designated hitter and Nick Punto, batting last, started at shortstop.
"We've been struggling in those spots," Gardenhire said. "I just mixed it up, and we'll see what happens.
"I like it better the other way, guaranteed," Gardenhire continued. "But I got to find somebody to get more consistent batting in front of [the middle of the order] and getting on base. Right now, I don't have anybody swinging good enough to do that."
The Twins' performance Thursday will not necessarily dictate the club's lineup upon returning to Minnesota on Friday for a three-game Interleague series against Milwaukee. Mauer could return to the two-hole, or Gardenhire might go back to Brendan Harris, who has started there 12 times this season.
"Who knows? I would really like to have a guy that handles the bat and a guy that can bunt -- all those things," Gardenhire said of the No. 2 hitter. "That's my preference. That's the way it's supposed to be in the lineup. Alexi Casilla should be there. When he gets his act together, he should be there. If we can get Alexi back to playing good -- and get his confidence up -- he should go right back in there."
Gardenhire has been impressed with Morales' at-bats this season and chose to start him Thursday, giving Mauer a break behind the plate.
David Just is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.