MINNEAPOLIS -- After a slow start to the season as the club's leadoff hitter, rookie center fielder Aaron Hicks moved down to the No. 8 spot in the lineup against the Angels on Tuesday.
Hicks entered Tuesday's game hitting .047 (2-for-43), with 20 strikeouts and four walks in 11 games. With Hicks not in the leadoff spot, Darin Mastroianni was set to take over and start in left field but was a late scratch from the lineup with a sore left ankle.
Instead, second baseman Brian Dozier made his first career start in the leadoff spot, and Wilkin Ramirez moved from designated hitter to left field. Hicks, who was initially penciled in at the No. 7 spot, slid to No. 8, with Ryan Doumit joining the lineup as DH and batting fifth.
"We're just moving it around and mixing it up a little bit," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We'll see if [Hicks] can put some swings out there and take all thought process out of it and just go up there and take a whack."
Third baseman Trevor Plouffe moved up in the lineup with left-hander Jason Vargas on the mound for the Angels. Plouffe, who has a career .271/.339/.528 line against lefties, hit cleanup for the first time in his career.
"We've seen when he gets that backspin going he can get as hot as anyone, and he did that last night, when he put one in the seats," Gardenhire said. "He's been swinging good lately."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.