MINNEAPOLIS If Ron Gardenhire had his choice, he would have been a switch hitter during his career as what he refers to as a "futility infielder."
Instead, Gardenhire batted only right-handed during his five seasons with the New York Mets. His career batting average? Just .232 in 285 games. Against right-handers, he was a career .205 hitter.
"I just know from when I played, if I could have stepped on the other side and not had to swing at a right-hander's slider, I might have added five points to my career (average)," Gardenhire said. "Who knows, because I couldn't hit a slider to save my life."
Gardenhire didn't have the option of being a switch-hitter, but he now has the luxury of managing four of them. Aaron Hicks, Ryan Doumit, Pedro Florimon and Eduardo Escobar are all able to bat from either side of the plate for the Minnesota Twins. It's a blessing in that it gives Minnesota flexibility against opposing pitchers, especially in late-game situations with relievers coming out...