Twins thinking about using Joe Mauer in the leadoff spot

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Joe Mauer has been hitting well to start the season, batting .308 coming into Sunday’s action, but he has yet to homer and is slugging just .396. The Twins have written him into the number three spot in the lineup all season, but they’re considering a change. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Twins are discussing moving Mauer to the leadoff spot.

“You can go to your sabermetrics experts and a lot of them have him high in the order,” Molitor said. “How that would play in terms of him getting chances to get hits with men in scoring position and do some other things he’s been doing pretty well, I’m not sure. There are some things about that as a consideration. I don’t know if it is something that will happen or not, but we’re looking at various options.’’

Indeed, a Sabermetrically-optimized lineup would likely have Mauer batting first. For instance, using this lineup analysis tool from Baseball Musings (using Twins’ stats entering Sunday), all of the lineup variations that result in the highest runs scored average have Mauer first. There’s no doubt Mauer can hit for a high average, but he hasn’t shown his power stroke since 2013. Without power, the Twins would get the most use out of Mauer moving him from third to first in the lineup. Then, he could use his high on-base percentage to set the table for those who do have power, like Trevor Plouffe.

Nick Pivetta to rejoin Phillies’ rotation

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Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Nick Pivetta will rejoin the Phillies’ rotation, starting Tuesday’s series opener at home against the Cardinals. Vince Velasquez will remain in the bullpen.

Pivetta, 26, allowed 17 earned runs on 31 hits and eight walks with 16 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings across his first four starts of the season. The performance resulted in a demotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. In six starts there, Pivetta had a much better 3.41 ERA with a 50/20 K/BB ratio in 37 innings of work.

Velasquez, 26, was solid as a starter, posting a 3.99 ERA across six starts. However, he averaged under five innings and 92 pitches per start. The right-hander tossed two scoreless innings out of the bullpen on Friday against the Brewers but was torched for four runs in two-thirds of an inning on Sunday. Mixed results, to say the least. The Phillies are trying to do what they can with their bullpen, currently missing David Robertson, Tommy Hunter, Pat Neshek, and Vìctor Arano.