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KANSAS CITY, MO. – Manager Rocco Baldelli's first Twins lineup of the season had a new wrinkle that he said he had been mulling during spring training: Byron Buxton was restored to the leadoff position and Ryan Jeffers batted second.

"That looks right. That looks good. He really swung the bat great this spring," Baldelli said of Buxton, who went 1-for-4 with a walk in Thursday's season-opening 4-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals. "His confidence level is high right now, but the lineup looks real nice when he's sitting there and he's in center field."

Jeffers said he was shocked when Baldelli texted him the lineup on Wednesday, with Kansas City starting lefthander Cole Ragans on the mound.

"It's awesome. It's cool. But I'm treating it as just another day in the lineup," said Jeffers, the first Twins catcher to bat that high in the lineup since Mitch Garver's final game with the team in 2021. "I hit lefties well this spring, and I've hit lefties well in the past. But the show of confidence is cool."

And deserved, Baldelli said.

"He ripped it up last year, too. He had a tremendous year for us, and then came in in great shape," Baldelli said. "He's been exceptional against lefthanded pitching. when a guy earns an opportunity like that, you want to give it to him."

Jeffers went 0-for-5 with a groundout to short, swinging strikeout and groundout to the catcher off Ragans.

Buxton has hit leadoff 100 times in his career, more than any other spot in the batting order, though he did it only 13 times last season after doing it 50 times in 2022.

Baldelli also said he started Willi Castro in left field and made Manuel Margot the designated hitter because he wanted Castro available to move to a different position if necessary. Moving the DH into the field forfeits the use of the DH for the remainder of the game.

Castro ended up playing the entire game in left, as Edouard Julien came into the game when Royce Lewis left injured and Matt Wallner did the same for Max Kepler. Alex Kirilloff pinch hit for Margot in the seventh inning.