Dozier gets mental break in his homer chase

Twins second baseman's streak of 113 starts ends in KC

Dozier gets mental break in his homer chase

KANSAS CITY -- Twins second baseman Brian Dozier was slated to remain in the lineup until the end of the season on Sunday, but manager Paul Molitor changed his mind amid Dozier's 1-for-30 slump. Instead, Dozier was held out of the lineup in Thursday night's 7-6 win over the Royals.

Molitor said on Tuesday that he planned to play Dozier the rest of the year, but met with him before Thursday's game to tell him he was going to get a mental break because of his slump. It was Dozier's first time out of the lineup since May 23, snapping a streak of 113 straight starts.

Dozier, who has 42 home runs, is one homer shy of tying the Major League record for homers hit by a player who primarily played second base. Dozier is also two away from tying the MLB record for homers by a second baseman, as he hit two as the designated hitter.

"We talked about playing the season out and I was on board with that line of thought, but last night kind of pushed me in the other direction," Molitor said. "I just think he's been pushing so hard for so long. He's been trying to set an example playing every day and obviously has some personal things still on the table."

Molitor, though, said he still plans to play Dozier in the final three games this weekend against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. Dozier, 29, is hitting .270/.341/.551 with 42 homers, 35 doubles, 102 runs and 99 RBIs in 153 games. With one more RBI, he'll become the first Twins player to have 100 RBIs and 100 runs in a season since Michael Cuddyer in 2006. It would also be just the third time a Twins player had at least 40 homers, 100 RBIs and 100 runs scored, joining Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, who accomplished it in 1967 and '69.

"I'm hoping just backing him off mentally will get him through the weekend in Chicago," Molitor said. "When you get tired, you try to muscle the ball. I've seen his swing change a little bit and he's been a little bit more impatient. He's down to 12 at-bats over the last three games. So we'll give up three to make the last 12 really good."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.