KANSAS CITY -- A power-hitting second baseman is a precious commodity and the Twins have one in Brian Dozier. With five home runs through the club's first 15 games, Dozier entered Friday's series opener against the Royals tied with Mike Trout for second place in the American League. They trailed only Jose Bautista, who had six homers.
Stationed at the top of the lineup, Dozier's instant offense has loomed large for a Minnesota attack which had scored 86 runs through Thursday, the second-highest total in the AL.
"Bruno [hitting coach Tom Brunansky] and I have been working hard on creating more power," Dozier said. "But my job as a leadoff hitter is to get on base and the power is secondary. Let the big boppers behind me drive me in."
Dozier flashed a power stroke last year when he hit 18 homers. His 23 jacks since the start of 2013 rank second among AL second basemen behind only Robinson Cano.
"The last couple of years, I've kind of learned when to take my shots, rather than go up there swinging for the fences," Dozier said. "That comes with experience."
Dozier moved from the leadoff spot to the No. 2 hole on Friday as manager Ron Gardenhire tweaked his lineup to go against crafty Royals left-hander Jason Vargas. It was just the second time this year that Dozier has batted second.
Dozier was delighted to walk out to batting practice Friday with the temperature around 70 degrees. After playing in 31-degree weather at home on Thursday, the Twins were truly basking in the sunlight.
"That [Thursday weather] was the coldest I've played in," Dozier said. "Today feels like 100 degrees."
The Twins can only hope that warm weather this weekend will translate into even more power performances from Dozier, who is now tied for fifth place on Minnesota's all-time leadoff homer list with six. Jacque Jones is the all-time leader with 20.
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less