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Mauer open to batting anywhere in order

Twins 1B makes spring debut, taking slow approach to camp
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins first baseman Joe Mauer made his Grapefruit League debut on Wednesday, going 0-for-1 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch in a 3-1 loss to the Pirates at Hammond Stadium.

Mauer batted second behind prospect Zack Granite and ahead of second baseman Brian Dozier, who hit third. Twins manager Paul Molitor said earlier this week that he's debating where to put Mauer in the lineup this year, but he has cautioned everyone not to read too much into a lineup that contains very few regular players.

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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins first baseman Joe Mauer made his Grapefruit League debut on Wednesday, going 0-for-1 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch in a 3-1 loss to the Pirates at Hammond Stadium.

Mauer batted second behind prospect Zack Granite and ahead of second baseman Brian Dozier, who hit third. Twins manager Paul Molitor said earlier this week that he's debating where to put Mauer in the lineup this year, but he has cautioned everyone not to read too much into a lineup that contains very few regular players.

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Mauer, though, said he's open to hitting wherever the Twins want him, but he's used to hitting early in the order and wants to bat where he'll get the most RBI opportunities.

"I'm open to anything, really," Mauer said. "Whatever helps us score more runs, I'm for it. Wherever that may be."

Mauer faced right-hander Josh Lindblom in his first plate appearance, and was hit on the forearm from a cutter, but shook it off. He drew a walk in the third against Jared Hughes before striking out in the fifth against lefty Dan Runzler.

"It just felt good to get out there," Mauer said. "I was chomping at the bit to get out there but I had to remind myself I have a month to get ready. But once the games start going, I want to be in there."

In recent years, Mauer has generally played in 16 to 19 games, getting roughly 45 to 50 at-bats before the start of the season. Mauer likes to ease into spring and then ramp it up once he gets closer to the season. This approach was evident on Wednesday, as Mauer didn't even swing the bat until his third plate appearance.

"I don't think it'll be too different, but we just started later," Mauer said. "I'm not a guy who says I need a certain number of at-bats. I just like to get them at the end."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.

Minnesota Twins, Joe Mauer