Grossman cements himself in Twins' lineup

Grossman cements himself in Twins' lineup

ANAHEIM -- Twins manager Paul Molitor wasn't sure what he was going to get when his team signed outfielder Robbie Grossman to a Minor League contract on May 16.

The 26-year-old, who had been released from the Indians' Triple-A affiliate earlier that day, had not produced eye-popping numbers through parts of his three seasons in the Majors. His best season, in 2014 with the Astros, saw him hit .233 with six homers and 37 RBIs but also have more strikeouts (105) than games played (103).

While Molitor said the team had monitored and researched Grossman for a while, he wasn't expecting to see him where he is now -- hitting with a slash line of .325/.464/.623 with five homers and 15 RBIs entering play Tuesday and securing the No. 2 spot in the lineup. That is, at least not this quickly.

"I don't think anyone would have expected [Robbie] to maybe get an opportunity to not only get up here as quickly as he did, but become a regular," Molitor said. "He's playing well enough to earn a chance to be in there on an almost everyday basis for now."

Grossman has emerged as the everyday left fielder for the Twins since being called up to the big leagues on May 19, complementing his solid numbers and improved eye at the plate (he has 20 walks and 19 strikeouts) with above-average defense.

"In terms of reads and decision-making with the ball in his hand, he's above-average," Molitor said. "His arm has only played to about average so far, but I think he might have a little more in there. He's aggressive and has no fear of fences, and that's what I like about how he plays defense."

Grossman's diving catch

Park looks to regain confidence: Twins designated hitter Byung Ho Park has long had the ability to hit. Whether it be in his native South Korea or in his first couple months in the Majors, this has been true.

As of late, however, he's found himself mired in a slump. He's hit .179/.289/.385 with two homers and two RBIs in 39 at-bats this month entering play Tuesday, and has seen more time on the bench. The 29-year-old slugger signed with the Twins for four years and $12 million this offseason.

Park was out of the lineup for Tuesday's game against the Angels as Oswaldo Arcia earned his first start since June 9.

Manager Paul Molitor said much of Park's struggles have come from him doubting himself in adjusting to Major League pitching.

"Byung Ho is having a hard time trusting right now," Molitor said. "We see a lot of in-between approaches where he gets beat a little bit by the fastball, but out in front of the off-speed pitches. No complaints about how he's going about trying to fix it."

Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Anaheim. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.