MINNEAPOLIS -- After serving as the Twins' starting shortstop in the early going last year, Jamey Carroll has seen his playing time diminish in a utility role so far this season.
Carroll, who has played in at least 130 games in each of the last three seasons, has made just two starts in the club's first 13 games and wasn't in the initial lineup on Wednesday before the game was postponed. But Carroll, a 12-year veteran, is doing his best to take it in stride and said the key is staying prepared for every game even if he doesn't play.
"You just come in and wait and see and then you adjust otherwise," Carroll said. "But you have to go out and try to get and stay as game-ready as possible. When you get that opportunity, you also understand that it may be a long time since you played and to not try to put that extra pressure on yourself, which is tough. But at the same time you understand your expectations of what it is and you hope that on the other side they understand that expectation level as well."
Carroll said the anxiety of not knowing his role on a particular day is the toughest part of the job, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he plans on playing Carroll more as the season goes along.
"He'll get plenty of playing time," Gardenhire said. "We'll mix him around. He can play anywhere. He's a professional hitter and player. He knows the job as a utility guy, sometimes you have to sit for a few days and if anyone can handle it, he can."
Carroll has been on the bench more this year with shortstop Pedro Florimon and second baseman Brian Dozier getting the bulk of playing time and Eduardo Escobar also seeing action as a utility infielder. But Dozier said Carroll is still a key member of the team and one of the players many of his teammates look up to.
"He's one of a kind," Dozier said. "He's my biggest mentor to be honest with you with everything like on the field stuff and how to prepare. He works harder than anyone. He's 39 going on 24."
Dozier up, Hicks down in Twins lineup shuffle
MINNEAPOLIS -- With Aaron Hicks still trying to work his way out of an early-season slump, Brian Dozier was scheduled to serve as leadoff hitter for a second straight night against the Angels on Wednesday, but the game ended up being postponed.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire won't say the move is permanent, as he's just trying to take some pressure off Hicks, who was slated to bat eighth for a second straight game before it was called.
"Our preference is to have Hicks be our leadoff man and go from there," Gardenhire said. "But we moved him down to allow him to have some quality at-bats and not think too much and swing."
Dozier, who served as a leadoff hitter plenty of times during his time in the Minors, said he's open to the role and understands the importance of seeing pitches and getting on base. He saw 10 pitches in his first at-bat on Tuesday, and ended up going 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a walk.
"That's the biggest thing for a leadoff guy," Dozier said. "You obviously sometimes want to drive the ball and put up some numbers, but you want to get on base, especially for the guys behind me."
Hicks, who is hitting .044 (2-for-45), also said he's starting to feel better at the plate, and has drawn three walks in his last five plate appearances, including two on Tuesday.
"It's important to be comfortable and be relaxed and I feel like the last few games I've had some good at-bats," Hicks said. "That's what I have to do."
Arcia back with Twins after minor absence
MINNEAPOLIS -- Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia has been doing plenty of traveling recently, as he was optioned to Triple-A Rochester after his Major League debut on Monday, but was recalled after Tuesday's game and was scheduled to be back in the lineup on Wednesday against the Angels before the game was postponed due to inclement weather.
Arcia, ranked as the No. 93 overall prospect and as the Twins' No. 5 prospect by MLB.com, originally took the place of Wilkin Ramirez on the roster, but Ramirez was reinstated from the paternity list before Tuesday's game. But Arcia flew back to the Twin Cities from Rochester, N.Y., after Darin Mastroianni was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a stress reaction in his left ankle after Tuesday's game.
"He's been all around the world getting mileage, so I hope he's got it on his credit card," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire joked. "But he's right back in it and ready to go again. So we'll put him back out there and see what happens. He can swing it."
Arcia, who started in left field in his big league debut, was slated to get the start in right field on Wednesday before the game was postponed. Gardenhire said Arcia will remain a corner outfielder with Ramirez serving as the club's backup center fielder to Aaron Hicks and utility man Eduardo Escobar being the third-stringer.
"Ramirez is the guy right now, but I wouldn't be afraid to put Escobar out there because he can run the ball down wherever you put him," Gardenhire said. "But Wilkin would be our first choice back-up center fielder."