MINNEAPOLIS -- After serving as the Twins' starting shortstop in the early going last year, Jamey Carroll has seen his playing time diminish in a utility role so far this season.
Carroll, who has played in at least 130 games in each of the last three seasons, has made just two starts in the club's first 13 games and wasn't in the initial lineup on Wednesday before the game was postponed. But Carroll, a 12-year veteran, is doing his best to take it in stride and said the key is staying prepared for every game even if he doesn't play.
"You just come in and wait and see and then you adjust otherwise," Carroll said. "But you have to go out and try to get and stay as game-ready as possible. When you get that opportunity, you also understand that it may be a long time since you played and to not try to put that extra pressure on yourself, which is tough. But at the same time you understand your expectations of what it is and you hope that on the other side they understand that expectation level as well."
Carroll said the anxiety of not knowing his role on a particular day is the toughest part of the job, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he plans on playing Carroll more as the season goes along.
"He'll get plenty of playing time," Gardenhire said. "We'll mix him around. He can play anywhere. He's a professional hitter and player. He knows the job as a utility guy, sometimes you have to sit for a few days and if anyone can handle it, he can."
Carroll has been on the bench more this year with shortstop Pedro Florimon and second baseman Brian Dozier getting the bulk of playing time and Eduardo Escobar also seeing action as a utility infielder. But Dozier said Carroll is still a key member of the team and one of the players many of his teammates look up to.
"He's one of a kind," Dozier said. "He's my biggest mentor to be honest with you with everything like on the field stuff and how to prepare. He works harder than anyone. He's 39 going on 24."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.