MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Paul Molitor relied on Friday’s stormy weather to accomplish what he’s struggled to do this year: give Brian Dozier a rest.
Friday night’s game between the Los Angeles Angels and Minnesota Twins was postponed because of rain. The teams will make it up in a split doubleheader on Saturday.
Saturday’s first game will start at 12:10 p.m., with the second game set for 6:10 p.m.
Dozier, a late addition to the AL All-Star team, has started all but three of Minnesota’s games this season. But since the All-Star break, he’s batting just .209 and has one home run since Aug. 25.
“His strength is being able to pull the best fastballs in the game,” Molitor said. “It’s hard to maintain that for 600-plus plate appearances. He’s trying to make some adjustments. He’s not getting on top of some of the balls he was earlier.”
Molitor added that he wasn’t certain a day off was the right prescription for what’s ailing Dozier but said he sees signs of wear-and-tear compounding on his star second baseman.
“I don’t know how much you can expect at this stage of the season in one day to regain a lot,” Molitor said. “But the mental grind, when you’re making your fair share of outs, it’s tough. You can see that he knows he’s in a situation he’s never been in before. He’s trying to be a guy that picks us up, and when it doesn’t happen as regularly as you like, that’s the mental grind.”
The Twins have lost three straight and entered Friday 1 1/2 games back of Houston in the AL wild-card race, with the Angels trailing them by another game.
Andrew Heaney (6-3, 3.32 ERA) was supposed to pitch for Los Angeles against Mike Pelfrey (6-9, 4.09) on Friday. Heaney will start Game 1 on Saturday, while the Twins will hold Pelfrey for Game 2, instead throwing Kyle Gibson (10-10, 3.71) in the first game. Garrett Richards (13-11, 3.81) will pitch the nightcap for Los Angeles.
“Split doubleheaders are never a favorite for anybody,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “But we’ll be ready to go at noon.”
Angels: RHP Matt Shoemaker (strained forearm) threw in the bullpen on Friday afternoon. Shoemaker hasn’t pitched in a game since Sept. 1. The Angels had not named a starting pitcher for Sunday’s game against the Twins, but Scioscia confirmed Friday night that Shoemaker would get the nod if he has no further setbacks.
Twins: LHP Glen Perkins (back) declared himself fit to pitch for the first time since Sept. 1. Molitor said his All-Star closer would serve as a set-up man for Kevin Jepson as he eases his way back into the mix.
(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)