Mauer leads off as Molitor tinkers with lineup

First baseman was 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs and a run scored vs. Cards

Mauer leads off as Molitor tinkers with lineup

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins manager Paul Molitor continues to tinker with his potential lineups this spring.

In Wednesday's 8-0 win against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday, first baseman Joe Mauer batted leadoff while the fleet-footed Byron Buxton batted fifth.

"There's some combinations that I want to look at but not having your guys play together that often, you don't get a lot of opportunities to do that," Molitor said. "Today was a day to change it up just to see what it would look like and how it would play out."

The move ended up paying off in an unexpected way when Mauer came to the plate with the bases loaded and nobody out in the third inning. Mauer responded with a two-run double down the left-field line. He finished the afternoon 2-for-3 with a run scored.

Buxton finished the day 1-for-2 with an RBI double.

Buxton's RBI double

Mauer, who has a career .391 on-base percentage, hit leadoff eight times last season. Buxton has never had a regular-season plate appearance in the five-hole. Monitor admitted that he would be trying out some other lineups as the spring winds down.

"Not that I have a tendency to write the same lineup down very often," Molitor said. "But you might see a couple more combinations going forward."

Worth noting

• Right-hander Tyler Duffey, originally scheduled to start Wednesday's big league game, instead pitched on the Minor League side of the CenturyLink Sports Complex.

Duffey threw three innings, allowing three runs on three hits while striking out two and walking one.

"He got into trouble in one inning over there where he couldn't get off the field with two outs," Molitor said.

Duffey, who is in the mix for the final rotation spot, has allowed five earned runs in 6 2/3 innings with the Major League club this spring. Opposing hitters are batting .357 against him.

J. Scott Butherus is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.