Dozier's range of abilities land him in two-spot

Dozier's range of abilities land him in two-spot

Dozier's range of abilities land him in two-spot

MINNEAPOLIS -- After being shifted from the Twins' leadoff hitter to the club's No. 3 hitter on Sept. 1, Brian Dozier moved into the two-hole against the Rays on Saturday night at Target Field.

It marked the first time he's been the team's No. 2 hitter since July 10, and just the 11th time this season. Ryan Doumit, who is hitting .283 with a .338 on-base percentage against lefties this year, hit third in the lineup with left-hander Matt Moore on the mound for the Rays.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he believes Dozier has the potential to be a solid No. 2 hitter moving forward, but has had to move him around the lineup because the club has lacked a true leadoff hitter throughout most of the year.

"I think he fits there," Gardenhire said. "We've had to maneuver a few things around with a couple guys gone. So I decided to go this way today. Doumit actually has good numbers against lefties with a good on-base percentage."

After a slow start to the year, Dozier has been solid offensively, as he leads all Major League second baseman with 26 extra-base hits since the All-Star break entering play Saturday. He also leads the American League with 26 doubles since June 16, which is the second-highest total in the Majors. And he's been playing just about every day recently, as his last day off was July 31.

"He's a good player," Gardenhire said. "He's figured out the game a little bit. He's playing like himself now. If he needs to drop a bunt down, he can do that. He's a good baserunner. And just comes to play every day. He's a little beat up, but he doesn't want to take a break out there."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for 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.