Lamb gets early break in season
Manager Gardenhire willing to shuffle lineup by situation
MINNEAPOLIS -- Third baseman Mike Lamb is entering his first season as an everyday starter and he said, earlier this spring, that there will be some adjustments to the new role.Lamb stressed that he will have to get accustomed to the wear and tear that playing every day can take on his body, especially playing on the field turf inside the Metrodome. But it seems that Lamb will have to wait before testing that durability. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire gave Lamb his first break of the season a little early, sitting the third baseman against Angels' left-hander Joe Saunders for Wednesday's game and slotting in Nick Punto at third. "He's going to get some breaks here and there," Gardenhire said of Lamb. "We use everybody and move them around. If you're going to have a day game following a night game and you're going to give him one off, you do it against a left-hander." Lamb, a left-handed hitter, spent the last few seasons as a platoon player in Houston and rarely faced lefties. He has a .268 career average against lefties in 377 at-bats, compared with a .284 average in 2044 career at-bats against right-handers. Gardenhire stressed that he's not about to sit Lamb against every left-hander. "He's our everyday guy," Gardenhire said. "But you still are going to give a guy like that a blow. He's never done that [play everyday]." Lamb wasn't the only lineup change from the previous two games. With a noon game on Thursday following Wednesday's night contest, Gardenhire also sat catcher Joe Mauer against the lefty Saunders and put Craig Monroe back in the designated hitter spot, replacing Jason Kubel. One other lineup switch came as a late scratch. Shortstop Adam Everett was replaced by Matt Tolbert, after Everett had to leave the Metrodome to deal with a family issue. It will mark Tolbert's first start of the season. Mixing things up is nothing new for the Twins, though. Gardenhire has long been a proponent of trying to play everyone early in the season and not give them too much time to rest. "Once you get going, you try to make sure everybody is a part of it, and playing and getting an opportunity to get out there on the field," Gardenhire said. "And you know, when you have a night game/day game like we do here, it makes it a little easier to run them out there."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.