Slumping Gomez sits out Fenway finale

Slumping Gomez sits out finale

BOSTON -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has recognized that Carlos Gomez will go through his share of ups and downs this season. And sometimes, in the midst of a slump, the center fielder will need a break to get himself back on track.

Wednesday was one of those days.

Gomez, who is currently in an 0-for-10 streak, was not in the starting lineup for the series finale against the Red Sox. Denard Span instead got the nod in center field.

It's been a struggle for Gomez lately at the plate. He has just two hits in his past 22 plate appearances, giving him a .095 batting average over that time with no walks and seven strikeouts.

"He's pressing a little bit," Gardenhire said of Gomez. "Every once in a while, you just have to take a mental blow and let him sit back for a minute."

Gomez's recent troubles led to Gardenhire pinch-hitting for the leadoff batter in the ninth inning of Tuesday's 6-5 loss. With one out and the tying run at third base, Gardenhire chose to have Jason Kubel bat for Gomez against Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon. Kubel ended up striking out swinging.

"Off that guy, throwing gas, I think Kubel is our best fastball hitter," Gardenhire said. "It was the right thing to do. It just didn't work out."

The change in center field was one of a few lineup alterations on Wednesday. With Span in center, Kubel got the nod in right field. Justin Morneau was slotted in as the Twins' designated hitter, a move to give the first baseman a breather from playing the field. Mike Lamb, who is 4-for-5 in his career off Red Sox starter Josh Beckett, got the start at first base in place of Morneau. It marked only the third time that Lamb has been in the starting lineup since June 13.

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