05/11/2013 8:01 PM ET
Twins look for more leadoff production
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins would like to see more production out of their leadoff spot, as Minnesota's leadoff hitters have combined for an MLB-worst .191 average and .238 on-base percentage entering play on Saturday.
Most of those struggles came when rookie Aaron Hicks began the season as the club's leadoff hitter and hit just .047 (2-for-43) with a .109 on-base percentage in 10 games.
The Twins have been using Brian Dozier and Jamey Carroll atop the lineup since Hicks lost his job as leadoff hitter on April 16. Dozier is hitting .283 with a .313 on-base percentage in 14 starts as leadoff hitter, while Carroll is hitting .250 with a .308 on-base percentage in five games.
"Dozier goes through a little bit of a cycle where he gets a couple hits and gets on base and then has a couple games where the swing starts coming off and he starts hitting the ball up in the air," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "So with him, he just needs to keep the ball out of the air a little better and he'll be fine.
"Jamey Carroll takes a lot of pitches and good things like that. But really, we just don't have a prototype leadoff guy. So we just have to ad-lib with that and hopefully find somebody who can put a good swing on it and get on base."
Perkins remains out with soreness on left side
MINNEAPOLIS -- Closer Glen Perkins is still bothered by soreness in his left side and was unavailable for a second straight night on Saturday against the Orioles.
Perkins, who felt the discomfort in his side while pitching against the Red Sox on Thursday, played catch before Saturday's game to stay loose.
"He doesn't want to sit around and not throw for a few days, but he's not available," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
With Perkins out, Jared Burton will serve as closer. Gardenhire said that the bullpen is in much better shape than it was in Friday's 9-6 loss to Baltimore, as Brian Duensing and Ryan Pressly were also unavailable to pitch because of heavy workloads in previous games. But left-hander Pedro Hernandez, who is slated to start Monday against the White Sox, will be available out of the bullpen, in case he's needed.
"We have a little bit better chance today with some people," Gardenhire said. "Burton would be a third day in a row, but said he feels great. [Anthony] Swarzak is always gonna say he feels good. Duensing is OK. [Josh] Roenicke says he feels good. And Casey [Fien] says he feels fine."
Hicks, Florimon and Willingham get night off
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins held center fielder Aaron Hicks, shortstop Pedro Florimon and left fielder Josh Willingham out of the lineup with minor injuries on Saturday against the Orioles.
Hicks has a sore right elbow and was replaced by Wilkin Ramirez in center field. Hicks said the injury isn't serious and is considered day to day.
"It feels a little sore," Hicks said. "I probably just slept it on it wrong. It felt great yesterday. I just woke up this morning and it didn't feel good."
Florimon, who left Thursday's game with a tight right hamstring, ran in the outfield for a second straight day and felt fine. But the Twins held him out for precautionary reasons and Eduardo Escobar made his second straight start at shortstop in his place.
"He did OK out there today," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Everything went well. He ran hard and thinks he can play. But when he really stretched it out there at the end, he still felt it a little bit. So with the cold weather tonight, that's not good. But he's an emergency player if we need him."
Willingham, who was hit on his left wrist by a pitch on Wednesday, was also given a day off to let his sore wrist heal. He went 0-for-4 on Thursday and 0-for-3 on Friday. Oswaldo Arcia started in left, with Chris Parmelee getting the start in right.
"He's had a little bit of a sore wrist," Gardenhire said. "He's kind of scuffling out there a little bit. You could see it's a little sore and I just didn't want to push it. He said he was good to go if needed, but after watching him swing last night, he didn't have the same swing."