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Monroe gets the call over Kubel

Monroe gets opening call as DH

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said recently that he would not use a platoon for the club's designated hitter spot. Instead, he would rotate left-handed hitter Jason Kubel and right-handed hitter Craig Monroe based on matchups and other factors.

In Monday's season opener against the Angels, it was Monroe who got the nod in the DH slot.

It seemed an interesting choice to use the right-handed hitter since the fact the Twins were facing Angels right-hander Jered Weaver. Numbers weren't the deciding factor either, as Kubel was 1-for-5 off Weaver in his career while Monroe was 0-for-3.

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Gardenhire said he chose to go with the veteran player who was coming off a "good" spring. Monroe hit .265 with two home runs and seven RBIs. The skipper also said history had a little something to do with it.

"It was a gut thing," Gardenhire said. "I saw [Monroe] hit a ball that was over the fence until their center fielder [Torii Hunter] brought it back. So I thought that was a good omen."

Another reason for the move was that Gardenhire likes the idea of having an extra left-handed bat with power on the bench in Kubel. But that doesn't mean that Monroe will be used in the spot everyday.

"We're going to mix them both in, as I said," Gardenhire said. "We're going to put Monroe in there today and tomorrow might be a different story."

For Monroe, getting the start on Opening Day had a little extra meaning considering that he's coming off the worst season of his career. The goal has been to try to put 2007 behind him and he felt like Monday was a good start.

"Leaving spring, I didn't know what the situation was going to be for me," Monroe said before the game. "So to walk in and see you're in there, it was a great feeling. It just made it that much easier to erase last year."

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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