KANSAS CITY -- Darin Mastroianni sat at his locker Tuesday afternoon and talked about feeling a tinge of excitement. His name was posted in the Twins' starting lineup for the first time this season, and Mastroianni was ready to go full steam ahead.
"I'm ready to play the way I want to play out there, which is fast and running all over the place," said Mastroianni, who started in center field and batted leadoff.
Mastroianni has been recovering from a bruised left ankle, which happened on a foul tip in a Spring Training game back on March 25. Aaron Hicks was thrust into a bench role after starting the first seven games in center.
"It's not going to be 100 percent for awhile, but that doesn't mean I can't play full speed," Mastroianni said. "[The ankle] will be sore after the game and between innings, but it won't affect me on the basepaths or in the outfield."
Before making the Tuesday start, Mastroianni had appeared in five games this season, all coming as a defensive replacement.
"Just getting him in the game and letting him get some at-bats is really important," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We'll give Hicks a little blow. He has fouled about 18 balls off his foot. He was able to go out and get some extra work with Bruno [hitting coach Tom Brunansky], so it works out a couple of different ways."
Gardenhire said he wasn't worried about Mastroianni showing rustiness at the plate.
"He's chomping at the bit," Gardenhire said. "He has a short, quick swing and he's a speed guy. He should be just fine."
Carroll, Escobar get call as Twins mix it up
KANSAS CITY -- The Twins showed Kansas City a different double-play combination in the middle game of the series. Jamey Carroll drew the start at second and Eduardo Escobar was at shortstop on Tuesday.
Escobar especially took advantage, finishing 3-for-4 with two RBIs, including launching his first career home run off Royals' right-hander Jeremy Guthrie in his 147th at-bat.
The shortstop connected in the fifth inning for a solo shot to left-center. The homer by Escobar was measured at 397 feet.
With a day off looming on Thursday and with weather an issue in Kansas City, manager Ron Gardenhire is doing what he can to keep players sharp by mixing and matching.
"I want to make sure everybody gets involved," Gardehire said. "'We'll mix it up and try to score more runs."
While attempting to keep his entire roster involved, Gardenhire was pleased with what he saw through the opening seven games.
"Every game we've had an opportunity to win," Gardenhire said. "That's all you can ask for."
Twins remain high on Wednesday starter Hendriks
KANSAS CITY -- After a rough opening performance in Baltimore, the Twins will be looking for an improved outing from right-hander Liam Hendriks when he starts Wednesday against the Royals .
Hendriks lasted just 4 2/3 innings against the Orioles, allowing eight hits and four runs.
"We expect him to give us a good opportunity to win the game," general manager Terry Ryan said. "The last outing was sketchy, but I don't think I should put any pressure on him. He's capable of giving us good outings."
Hendriks went 9-3 with a 2.20 earned run average at Triple-A Rochester last year, but was 1-8 with a 5.59 ERA in 16 starts for the Twins.
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.