First year Minnesota Twins manager Paul Molitor still doesn’t know what the batting order on Opening Day will look this in April, but he guarantees that first baseman Joe Mauer will bat no lower than third.
The 2009 American League MVP and six-time All-Star is coming off arguably the worst year of his career after he batted just .277 in 2014, while being limited to just 120 games but still won’t see a drop in the order heading into Molitor’s first season at the helm of the Twins.
Mauer, who like Molitor attended Cretin-Derham Hall High School in Saint Paul, split time last season hitting second and third and he is expected to be in one of those two spots in 2015 as well.
The three-time batting champion has started 1,010 games in batting third, by far the highest total in his career but he’s still had a good amount of experience batting second as well, appearing in 207 games in that spot of the order.
Where Mauer hits might depend on what other players show around him in Spring Training. He began last year as the regular second hitter, batting behind second baseman Brian Dozier, but both players shifted down a spot in the lineup when Danny Santana emerged and took over leadoff duties.
Dozier, who leads all second baseman last year in home runs, and was second among the group in extra base hits, is all but a lock to be the Twins regular second baseman, but Santana’s status is currently up in the air as he is in a battle with Eduardo Escobar for the starting shortstop position.
With Santana the slight favorite to win the shortstop job heading into camp, it seems likely that Mauer will be batting third for the Twins on Opening Day.