Rondell White said he thinks the weekend spent playing in the field for the first time this season has turned around his horrendous season-opening hitting slump.
White, who raised his batting average to a season-high .149 with three hits in his final five at-bats during an otherwise lost weekend in Chicago, returns to the designated hitter spot Tuesday when regular left fielder Shannon Stewart returns to action.
But White said that he thinks he can carry over the momentum, even when he doesn't have his defense to keep his mind off hitting between at-bats.
"I'm relaxing. My hands felt better. I just felt comfortable," said White, who also drilled two line-drive outs just before his 3-for-5 finish in the Chicago series and had another would-be hit stolen by White Sox third baseman Joe Crede in his two-hit Sunday finale.
"I think I might feel better when I'm back as the DH, too," he said.
Especially on Tuesday in the opener of this week's three-game set in Kansas City. That's when White gets to face Scott Elarton, the Royals' right-hander, against whom he has a career .464 batting average in 28 at-bats.
NOTES, QUOTES:LF Shannon Stewart, the leadoff hitter missing from action the past four games after returning home to Miami for the birth of his daughter, returns to the lineup Tuesday when the Twins open a three-game series at Kansas City. He's hitting .333 with a .377 on-base percentage. The Twins lost all four games he missed.2B Luis Castillo, who was hitting .404 when he left the lineup Thursday after jamming his already sore left knee, also returns to the lineup Tuesday after the Twins scored just six runs against the White Sox over the weekend without the first two hitters in their batting order.RHP Scott Baker (1-1, 3.33) had only nine career big-league starts before joining the Twins' veteran starting rotation this year. And through three starts this year, he's the only member of that rotation with an ERA under 4.81 (one of only two under 7.50) and one of only three with a quality start -- despite making his three starts this season against Cleveland, the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels; three of the toughest lineups in baseball.After eking out seven victories in their brutal 18-game opening stretch, the Twins start a 16-game run against alleged non-contenders (albeit, six of those are against second-place Detroit). While that might seem like good news for the Twins, it may not be as easy as it looks, even against 4-13 Kansas City. The Twins are 1-8 on the road, including seven straight losses, as they face a Royals team that snapped an 11-game losing streak with two straight wins against powerful Cleveland.The Twins have trailed in every game they've played this season and are 0-6 against American League Central opponents (0-3 against a Cleveland team that Kansas City just beat).