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Colabello remains in lineup as DH following big day

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Colabello remains in lineup as DH following big day play video for Colabello remains in lineup as DH following big day

CLEVELAND -- After driving in a career-high six runs in Thursday's 10-9 win over the White Sox, Chris Colabello got the start at designated hitter over Jason Kubel on Friday, even with right-hander Danny Salazar starting for the Indians.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he won't be using a strict platoon with Colabello and Kubel at DH this season, as he'll go with the hot hand. And after Colabello's impressive performance on Wednesday, which included a three-run double and a two-run double, he got the nod over the left-handed-hitting Kubel.

"He had a big day yesterday, so righty-lefty, it doesn't matter to me," Gardenhire said. "If a guy is swinging good, I'm going to put him out there."

Gardenhire said he's noticed a difference in Colabello's mechanics dating back to Spring Training, as he's worked to shorten his long swing that saw him hit .194 with seven homers and 17 RBIs in 55 games as a rookie last year.

Colabello, who was the International League MVP while playing at Triple-A Rochester last season, fared much better in spring, hitting .349 with a homer and eight RBIs in 23 games. He's off to a strong start this year, going 5-for-10 with six RBIs and three doubles through his first three games entering Friday.

"He's a swinger, we know that," Gardenhire said. "He knows he had to work on a few things from last year, and work on some of the kinks that allow him to get to the ball more consistently. He's shortened some things up and cut down on some of the movement with his hands. Ultimately, the guy can hit. He's fun to watch."

Colabello continued his hot streak at the plate with a solo homer in the first inning Friday, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead.

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.

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