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Gardenhire may shuffle Twins lineup

Gardenhire may shuffle Twins lineup

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NEW YORK -- The Twins have stuck with virtually the same lineup for the past three weeks, but manager Ron Gardenhire acknowledged that perhaps a couple of changes could be coming for Friday's Game 2 of the American League Division Series.

Since shifting Michael Cuddyer from right field to first base when Justin Morneau went down with a stress fracture in his lower back, Gardenhire has started Jason Kubel in right field for almost every game.

But the Twins haven't been getting a lot of production from their unofficial designated-hitter platoon of late. Jose Morales has been in a slump, entering the playoffs on a 4-for-29 skid, and Brendan Harris has batted .185 over his past eight games while primarily playing against left-handers.

Division Series
Gm. 1NYY 7, MIN 2WrapVideo
Gm. 2NYY 4, MIN 3 (11)WrapVideo
Gm. 3NYY 4, MIN 1WrapVideo

So there is a chance, with the club facing Yankees right-hander A.J. Burnett in Game 2, that Gardenhire could slot Kubel as the DH, the spot he occupied for most of the season. That would allow Gardenhire to start Carlos Gomez in center field while shifting Denard Span to right field, which is the outfield setup that the Twins have been using late in games to provide more defensive coverage.

Kubel went 0-for-4 in Wednesday's 7-2 Game 1 loss at Yankee Stadium, while Span notched two hits in five at-bats. Gomez didn't play in Game 1.

"We have been looking at a lot of things, and that is something I have thought about," Gardenhire said of the lineup changes. "Gomez brings another element. Even though his at-bats aren't always quality, he runs all over the place. So that's something that may be a possibility for [Friday], because we've been struggling at DH."

Gomez has just 35 at-bats since the start of September, and he's hitting .143 over that span. But the outfielder went 1-for-2 and scored the winning run in the 12th inning of Tuesday's tiebreaker after entering the contest in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement.

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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