Twins give Thomas a chance at leadoff spot

Twins give Thomas a chance at leadoff spot

Twins give Thomas a chance at leadoff spot

MINNEAPOLIS -- Center fielder Clete Thomas made his first start of the season in the leadoff spot for the Twins on Saturday against the Tigers.

It was the first time for Thomas to bat leadoff since the 2009 season, when he was with the Tigers. Thomas started six games as leadoff hitter for Detroit in '09 after starting 13 games at leadoff in '08.

Thomas, who is filling in for Aaron Hicks in center field with Hicks on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring, entered Saturday's game hitting .273 with a .304 on-base percentage in eight games.

"He's been having good at-bats," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Right now we're kind of desperate and looking for somebody to give us quality at-bats. He's been swinging the bat good, and so you take your chance."

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.