Parmelee given rare start in left field

Parmelee given rare start in left field

MINNEAPOLIS -- Chris Parmelee, who usually plays first base and right field, got the start in left field against the Rangers on Tuesday night.

It's only the second time in Parmelee's four-year career that he started in left, and the first since April 23, 2012, when he went 1-for-4 against the Red Sox at Target Field. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is not worried about the decision to make Parmelee swap sides.

"He's fine," Gardenhire said. "Parm can play anywhere out there. He's versatile. He can move around pretty good. I don't worry about him."

The 26-year-old will be in left for strategic reasons: Gardenhire didn't want to start Parmelee at designated hitter, which would essentially preclude the manager from switching Parmelee to first base if a substitute is needed. With Josh Willingham in the DH spot, a potential switch is much more manageable.

Parmelee -- called up after 32 games in Triple-A Rochester -- has made 14 appearances for the Twins this season and played right field in all of them. He did switch to left field for a half inning against the Giants on Friday after Chris Colabello pinch-hit for Jason Kubel, and Gardenhire said Parmelee took some extra fielding and throwing practice before Tuesday's game.

"Left field's not an easy position out there," he said. "With the sun, the short fence and the way the ball travels. This is not an easy ballpark, because the wind circulates a little."

Willingham still figures to be the long-term option in left.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. Alex M. Smith is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.