May 2009

Cuddyer leaves game with finger injury

Michael Cuddyer left Sunday’s game against the Rays in the second inning with a right index finger injury and was taken for X-rays in the stadium.

Cuddyer struck out in the top of the second inning, but it’s unclear whether he injured his finger at that time or if he aggravated a previous injury.

With Cuddyer out, Denard Span shifted to right field and Delmon Young entered the game playing left.

UPDATE: X-rays on Cuddyer’s finger were negative. He has a right index finger strain and is listed as day-to-day.

May day, trying for that elusive road win

The Twins are a little banged up and bruised as they head into Sunday’s series finale against the Rays.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Joe Mauer looked like “he’s been blocking balls in the dirt with no gear on.” So Mauer will get a day off, although he is available to pinch-hit later in the game.

Joe Crede’s left knee and leg is still swollen so he was out of the lineup. He’s not expected to be available for the contest.

With Mauer out of starting lineup, Alexi Casilla is in the No. 2 hole for Sunday’s contest.

So the Twins will go with a slightly different looking lineup as they try to avoid the sweep and capture just their sixth road win of the season as they finish out the month of May. Currently the club’s 5-16 road record is the worst in the Majors.

Here are today’s lineups:

Twins
Denard Span, LF
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Brendan Harris, SS
Brian Buscher, 3B
Mike Redmond, C
Carlos Gomez, CF
Pitching: Nick Blackburn, RHP

Rays
Ben Zobrist, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
Evan Longoria, DH
Carlos Pena, 1B
Willy Aybar, 3B
Matt Joyce, CF
Gabe Gross, RF
Dioner Navarro, C
Reid Brignac, SS
Pitching: Matt Garza, RHP

Banged up and Bruised…Memorial Day Lineups: Twins vs. Red Sox

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire knew that it likely would be difficult to put together a lineup on Monday morning, considering that he had his share of players with injury questions.

And he was right.

For the series opener against the Red Sox, the Twins will be without catcher Joe Mauer, third baseman Joe Crede and outfielder Denard Span.

Crede’s right hand is still swollen after being struck by a pitch in the sixth inning of last night’s game against the Brewers. He was diagnosed with just a deep bruise after the ball busted a blood vessel, but Gardenhire didn’t want to take any chances since Crede was having trouble gripping the ball after being hit.

Span reported feeling better on Monday morning, but he’s still a little light-headed and dizzy. Gardenhire said he wouldn’t take any risks in sending Span to the plate when he’s feeling like that.

As for Mauer, his right hand seemed to be doing better after he was struck by a pitch in the seventh inning. But Gardenhire said that Mauer is feeling sore overall after playing in 13 straight games during the club’s stretch of 20 straight, and this seemed like the time to give him that break.

Jason Kubel is back in the lineup as the DH, after being sidelined for the past three days due to a swollen left knee. Gardenhire warned, though, that the club doesn’t know how quick Kubel might be on the basepaths due to the knee.

But in the funny moment of the day — and perhaps of the season so far — Carlos Gomez added his own injury to the pile. Gomez needed two stitches for a cut on his head that he suffered while getting caught in a revolving door on his way into the Metrodome on Monday morning. It wasn’t enough to keep Gomez out of the lineup, but it did give many of his coaches and teammates a laugh.

So with all the changes and injuries, brace yourself for a lineup that isn’t exactly the “A” version for the Twins.

Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Jason Bay, LF
Mike Lowell, DH
Rocco Baldelli, RF
Jason Varitek, C
Jeff Bailey, 1B
Julio Lugo, SS
Pitching: Brad Penny, RHP

Twins
Carlos Gomez, CF
Matt Tolbert, 2B
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Brian Buscher, 3B
Mike Redmond, C
Delmon Young, LF
Nick Punto, SS
Pitching: Francisco Liriano, LHP

Jason Kubel scratched from lineup

Twins DH Jason Kubel was scratched from the lineup on Friday night against the Brewers due to a swollen left knee.

Kubel said he either tweaked or jammed the knee in the first inning of Thursday’s game in Chicago while chasing down a ball in left field. Then later in the game, he fouled a pitch off, just above his knee.

“It’s pretty swollen right now,” Kubel said. “Hopefully in a couple days it should go down.”

Kubel isn’t a stranger to knee problems. He even joked that the swelling right now is in “the bad one.” That’s because Kubel tore three ligaments in that left knee during a play in the outfielde during the 2004 Arizona Fall League, causing him to miss the entire 2005 season.

This injury doesn’t seem to be anything that Kubel feels is serious. He was able to stay in Thursday’s game until the sixth inning when he was taken out after the Twins were already up 16-0.

Kubel tried to run around a bit in the outfield shagging balls before batting practice on Friday and he wasn’t moving around very well. Then when Kubel was having trouble trying to jog during the team’s warm-ups before BP is when the decision was made to scratch him from the lineup.

“I know what to expect so I’m not too concerned about this [injury],” Kubel said. “I had this a couple years ago.  I had a play here where I slipped on the turf. It got a little swollen after that and then three or four days it was pretty much back to normal.”

Kubel said he’ll keep icing the knee and riding the bike to keep the knee loose. Manager Ron Gardenhire said that Kubel will be emergency only, but Kubel himself felt he could pinch-hit if necessary.   

Twins place Perkins on the DL

After Monday night’s 7-6 loss to the Yankees, the Twins announced that they were putting left-hander Glen Perkins on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his left elbow.

Perkins lasted just 2/3 of an inning in his start against the Yankees on Monday, giving up six runs on seven hits. He said after the game that he had been dealing with some soreness in his elbow for some time, but it wasn’t until he was struggling to finish off his pitches in this start that he determined it was too much to try to pitch through.

Perkins will travel back to Minnesota on Tuesday to get an MRI of his elbow.

To replace Perkins on the roster, the Twins will purchase the contract of left-hander Sean Henn from Triple-A Rochester. Henn, who has posted a 1.13 ERA with six saves in 15 appearances for the Red Wings, will join the Twins in Chicago on Tuesday.

Joe Crede leaves game with tight lower back

NEW YORK — Joe Crede’s back had not been an issue for the first 35 games of the 2009 season, but on Friday night the third baseman had to leave the Twins’ game against the Yankees in the fifth inning with a tight lower back.

Crede was replaced at third base in the bottom of the fifth by Brendan Harris. The Twins said that the move to take Crede out of the game was precautionary and he is listed as day-to-day.

The third baseman has a history of back problems. Crede underwent his second back surgery this past October and it was those back problems which  limited him to just 144 games for the White Sox in the 2007 and 2008 seasons.

Looks Like New

I spent my subway ride to the ballpark today talking to a Bronx resident about the new Yankee Stadium. Like so many of you, I’d heard about all the cushioned seats and fancy concessions at the new place.

For my fellow subway rider, the new Yankees Stadium was just a little much. He preferred the old park.

But after arriving at the 161st stop and making my way inside the $1.5 billion ballpark, it’s hard to argue with the new place. The Yankees certainly didn’t miss anything when it comes to the amenities. The players even have individual safes with their own combinations inside their lockers. Pretty fancy.

Now, it will come down to whether the Twins can play better in this new park than they did the last few years in the stadium across the street. The Twins were 3-19 at the old place since the start of the 2002 season, and their hope is that they can turn their luck around here.

As for baseball news –

The Twins placed outfielder Delmon Young on the family medical emergency list on Friday so that he could head to California to be with his ailing mother. Young will miss at least three games and could be gone for as many as seven days under the rules of the list. Manager Ron Gardenhire said he didn’t know how many days Young would miss. Called up in Young’s place was catcher Jose Morales from Triple-A Rochester. It gives the Twins three catchers for the time being.

Here are today’s lineups:

Twins
Denard Span, LF
Matt Tolbert, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Joe Crede, 3B
Carlos Gomez, CF
Nick Punto, SS
Pitching: Francisco Liriano, LHP

Yankees
Derek Jeter, SS
Johnny Damon, LF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Hideki Matsui, DH
Nick Swisher, RF
Robinson Cano, 2B
Melky Cabrera, CF
Kevin Cash, C
Pitching: Phil Hughes, RHP

Gardenhire ejected

MINNEAPOLIS – Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected
from Thursday’s contest against the Tigers in the seventh inning by home plate
umpire Paul Nauert following an argument about a potential hit-by-pitch call.

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Gardenhire went out to argue with Nauert after Michael
Cuddyer thought a 1-0 pitch from Tigers right-hander Zach Miner caught a piece
of his jersey. After the ball grazed by his left shoulder, Cuddyer threw his
bat down and appeared headed for first base before Nauert ruled it just a ball.

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Cuddyer started to exchange words with Nauert before
Gardenhire ran onto the field. After a heated discussion, Nauert threw
Gardenhire out of the game. It was the first ejection of the season for the
Twins manager and the 42nd of his career.

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The ejection came right after the Twins had pulled within
one run of the Tigers on Jason Kubel’s ground-rule double. Cuddyer eventually
drew a walk from Miner to load the bases as Minnesota completed a six-run
comeback in the inning to take a 6-5 lead over Detroit.

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