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Escobar's hot bat earns him spot in lineup

MINNEAPOLIS -- Eduardo Escobar is off to a hot start offensively this season, and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he plans to keep using him at shortstop as a result.

Escobar entered Friday's game against the Mariners hitting .347/.367/.533 with one homer, 11 doubles and eight RBIs in 27 games. He made his 14th start of the year at shortstop Friday over rookie Danny Santana, and Gardenhire said he's going to continue to find ways to keep Escobar in the lineup.

"With our situation right now, I'm just going to keep playing him at short because he's swinging so good and playing well," Gardenhire said. "We'll use the other guys as best as we can. We've always liked what he's brought to the table as energetic kid but he's a talented one, too. He won a Gold Glove in Venezuela and he's swinging the heck out of it so he's fun to put out there."

As Gardenhire noted, Escobar did win a Gold Glove for his efforts at shortstop during the Venezuelan Winter League during the offseason. He rates as an above-average defender but Gardenhire admitted he's not quite as good defensively as fellow shortstop Pedro Florimon, who was optioned to Triple-A Rochester on May 8 because of his struggles offensively.

"He's doing fine," Gardenhire said. "He's moving all right. But you get spoiled around here with Florimon moving all over the place. He has those long arms and it seemed like he could reach and get anything. But Escobar handles himself just fine. He gets to the balls he's supposed to catch and has a really strong arm. So he does fine but probably not as much range as the other guy but still a lot."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger.
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