Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Morneau Passed By as White Loses Cleanup Spot

Designated hitter Rondell White, 34, has been dropped from the cleanup spot to No. 7 in the Twins batting order. Third baseman Tony Batista, 32, who is swinging a hot bat but is a .240 lifetime hitter, has been switched from No. 7 to cleanup, at least temporarily. Manager Ron Gardenhire continues to pass over power hitting first baseman Justin Morneau, 24. Morneau, who struggled through a myriad of injuries last year but who has not been forgiven for flopping in the No. 4 spot, will remain hitting sixth behind Torii Hunter. Gardenhire says he wants to avoid tinkering with the batting order any more than absolutely necessary, but felt compelled to drop White, who was batting .083. Though White is one of the most injury prone players in baseball, Gardenhire plans to give White playing time in the outfield to let 40-year-old Ruben Sierra start at DH from time to time. Gardenhire says he's making the moves to keep his batters sharp. Too bad there's no moves to keep a manager sharp.