August 2009

Monday lineups: Twins vs. White Sox

Here are today’s lineups:

White Sox (64-67)
3rd place in AL Central, 5.5 games back

Scott Podsednik, LF
Gordon Beckham, 3B
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Paul Konerko, 1B
Jim Thome, DH
Jermaine Dye, RF
Alex Rios, CF
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Jayson Nix, 2B
Pitching: RHP Gavin Floyd (10-8, 3.95)

Twins (65-65)
2nd place in AL Central, 4.0 games back

Denard Span, LF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Brendan Harris, 3B
Carlos Gomez, CF
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Pitching: RHP Nick Blackburn (8-9, 4.29)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Nathan on Twins latest moves

Closer Joe Nathan was one of the Twins who was outspoken last month, expressing his desire for the club’s front office to make a move prior to the July 31 Trade Deadline.

Nathan and the rest of the team saw that happen when the Twins completed a trade with the A’s for shortstop Orlando Cabrera.

But that wasn’t it for the Twins. Instead there has been a flurry of moves recently by Twins GM Bill Smith, at a time when the team is pushing to get back in the AL Central race.

In addition to acquiring pitcher Carl Pavano earlier this month, the Twins bolstered their bullpen on Friday by adding two veteran relievers — right-hander Jon Rauch and left-hander Ron Mahay.

The club officially announced that it had acquired Rauch from the D-backs in exchange for a player to be named later. A Major League source confirmed that the Twins will announce on Saturday that they had signed Mahay, who was released by the Royals earlier this week.

For Nathan, it’s a sign that the front office is doing the same thing as the players — trying to do all it can to help the Twins’ postseason chances.

“I think the one thing that we always talked about was that we want everybody to fight and be on the same page and want this team to do well like we all do,” Nathan said after the Twins’ 3-2 win over Texas that moved them solely into second place, 4 1/2 games back of Detroit. “We come here every day and battle our butt off and work as hard as we can to get to that postseason. Obviously when you make it there, anything can happen.

“Seeing Bill make these moves and bring in some guys that he thinks can help us out is nice to see. We’ve got a couple guys coming here that have put up some good numbers. Hopefully they’ll come in and become a good fit in our clubhouse…We hope these two guys come here and are excited about the opportunity to play on a team that’s going to be playing for something in September.”

Friday Lineups: Twins vs. Rangers

As many of you have already heard, the Twins made two moves to help bolster their bullpen on Friday. The club officially announced that they had acquired right-hander Jon Rauch from the Diamondbacks and a Major League source confirmed that the Twins also signed left-hander Ron Mahay, who was released by the Royals earlier this week.

The deal for Mahay isn’t expected to be announced until Saturday and that’s when the Twins will announce the move to make room for him on the roster. Right-hander Philip Humber was outrighted to Triple-A Rochester on Friday to open a spot on the 25-man roster for Rauch.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Joe Crede’s back is doing much better, although Brendan Harris was still in the lineup at third base once again. Crede is scheduled to meet with team doctors before tonight’s game. If Crede can play in a couple days then it’s likely the team will wait to get him back. But if it’s looking like 4-5 days or more then Crede will probably head to the DL so the Twins can add another position player to their roster.

Also it sounds like Jeff Manship will start Tuesday against the White Sox. That is if everything goes as planned and he’s not needed in long relief tonight.

UPDATE: The Indians announced that they acquired right-hander Yohan Pino from the Twins, as the player to be named later from the Carl Pavano trade. Pino split time this season between Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Rochester, posting a combined 7-3 record and 3.03 ERA.

Here are today’s lineups:

Rangers (71-55)
2nd place in AL West, 4 games back (1.5 games back in AL Wild Card)

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Michael Young, 3B
Josh Hamilton, RF
Nelson Cruz, RF
Ivan Rodriguez, DH
David Murphy, LF
Taylor Teagraden, C
Chris David, 1B
Elvis Andrus, SS
Pitching: RHP Tommy Hunter (6-2, 2.85)

Twins (63-64)
3rd place in AL Central, 4.5 games back

Denard Span, CF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Delmon Young, LF
Brendan Harris, 3B
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Pitching: LHP Brian Duensing (1-1, 4.91)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Twins sign LHP Ron Mahay

In addition to acquiring right-hander Jon Rauch from the Diamondbacks on Friday, the Twins have also signed left-hander Ron Mahay, a Major League source confirmed.

Mahay was released by the Royals this week after they had designated him for assignment. He had a 1-1 record with a 4.79 ERA in 41 relief appearances (41 1/3 innings) for Kansas City this season.

The signing of Mahay isn’t expected to be announced until Saturday, when both he and Rauch are expected to join the club in Minnesota.

The Twins will be Mahay’s eighth Major League club. In his 13-year career, the left-hander is 25-11 with a 3.89 ERA.

The additions of Rauch and Mahay give the Twins two veteran arms in a bullpen that recently has featured a merry-go-round of young pitchers from Triple-A Rochester. Besides Joe Nathan, Matt Guerrier and Jose Mijares, the Twins have had trouble finding relievers they can turn to in the late innings.

Morneau headed back to Twin Cities

By Kelly Thesier
MLB.com

ARLINGTON — Twins first baseman Justin Morneau left the team today, as he’s headed back to the Twin Cities to see an ear, nose and throat specialist.

Morneau has been bothered by the effects of an inner-ear infection since the team returned from a roadtrip in Detroit. He has not played since Monday due to bouts of dizziness and feeling light-headed over the last few days.

“At times I start to feel better and then it comes back again,” Morneau said.

He was given new medication by the Rangers doctors on Tuesday, but the first baseman did not see any real improvement. So the decision was made to have him go back to Minnesota and see more doctors.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is hopeful that Morneau can join the team this
weekend in Kansas City. But the team has seen how long the effects of an inner-ear infection can linger, as Denard Span battled his symptoms for over a month and required a stint on the disabled list. So there is still a possibility that Morneau could also wind up on the DL.

Morneau seemed frustrated by the whole thing, particularly that it’s come at a time when the team is fighting to stay in the playoff hunt.

With Morneau still out, Michael Cuddyer is at first base for the third straight day. Joe Mauer, who got beat up a little behind the plate and fouled a ball off his foot, is getting a DH day with Mike Redmond behind the plate as they face left-hander Derek Holland.

Also, the name of Jose Mijares’ son is Javier Alejandro Mijares. He was born on Aug. 17 in Venezuela.

Here are today’s lineups:

Twins (57-62)
3rd place in AL Central, 6.5 games back


Denard Span, RF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, DH
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Joe Crede, 3B
Delmon Young, LF
Mike Redmond, C
Carlos Gomez, CF
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: RHP Anthony Swarzak (3-6, 5.87)

Rangers (67-52)
2nd place in AL West, 6.5 games back (one game back in AL Wild Card)

Julio Borbon, DH
Michael Young, 3B
Josh Hamilton, RF
Marlon Byrd, CF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Nelson Cruz, RF
Hank Blalock, 1B
Taylor Teagarden, C
Elvis Andrus, SS
Pitching: LHP Derek Holland (6-7, 4.88)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Kubel in, Morneau still out

Jason Kubel still had a sleeve on his left knee Wednesday afternoon, but he told manager Ron Gardenhire that he was good enough to play. So Kubel is back in the lineup as the DH.

Carlos Gomez’s hand is also still a little sore after getting hit with a pitch (or not according to the umpires last night), although he said the wrapping around his wrist helped to prevent it from being worse.

Justin Morneau on the other hand is still feeling the lingering effects of his inner ear infection. While doctors have told him that the infection has cleared up, he is still being affected by dizzy spells and feeling lightheaded. It’s as if things are “in slow motion” at times, he said. The hope is that new medication will help Morneau to feel better.

Gardnehire said he’s going to be patient with Morneau and hope that he’s better perhaps tomorrow. It seems that neither Morneau nor Gardenhire want to see the first baseman wind up on the disabled list, so they’ll wait a couple days to see how Morneau is feeling.

Of course there was more talk about Mauer’s incredible run of late, I’ll have more on that later. But here is one impressive note to leave you with — according to the Elais Sports Bureau, Mauer is one of five American League players to have at least 25 home runs and a .380 batting average this late in the season. The others were Ted Williams (1941 and 1957), Joe DiMaggio (1939), Lou Gehrig (1930 and 1936) and Babe Ruth (1931).

Yeah, that’s pretty good company.

Here are today’s lineups:

Twins (57-62)
3rd place in AL Central, 6.5 games back


Denard Span, RF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Joe Crede, 3B
Delmon Young, LF
Carlos Gomez, CF
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: RHP Scott Baker (10-7, 4.54)

Rangers (67-51)
2nd place in AL West, 5.5 games back (tied for AL Wild Card lead)

Julio Borbon, DH
Michael Young, 3B
Josh Hamilton, RF
Marlon Byrd, CF
David Murphy, LF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Hank Blalock, 1B
Ivan Rodriguez, C
Elvis Andrus, SS
Pitching: RHP Kevin Millwood (9-7, 3.31)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Morneau out of lineup

Justin Morneau was not in the lineup on Tuesday due to the lingering effects of an inner ear infection and he’s officially considered to be day-to-day.

Morneau left Monday night’s contest against the Rangers after the third inning due to dizziness. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Morneau was put on medication for an inner ear infection before the team left Minnesota. He saw the Rangers doctor before the game who concurred with the original diagnosis and Morneau is scheduled to be re-evaluated on Wednesday.

Philip Humber has arrived in Texas and is available out of the bullpen tonight. The right-hander was supposed to start for Rochester today so he’ll be the long relief option if the Twins need one.

Gardenhire said that Thursday’s starter Anthony Swarzak will also be in the ‘pen tonight. Today was Swarzak’s day to throw a side session before his start, but the team will wait and see if they need him as well. If everything goes smoothly, Swarzak will throw his side session during the game in the bullpen.

Also, Brian Duensing is tenatively penciled in to start Saturday in Kansas City. The Twins hope to use the left-hander in that start but will see how the next couple of games go. After all, things have been a bit screwy with the pitching staff of late. Like yesterday when the plan had been to start Duensing against the Rangers on Thursday, but that changed when Francisco Liriano went on the DL with a tired left arm.

Here are today’s lineups:

Twins (56-62)
3rd place in AL Central, 6.5 games back


Denard Span, RF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Joe Crede, 3B
Delmon Young, LF
Carlos Gomez, CF
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: RHP Carl Pavano (10-9, 5.16)

Rangers (67-50)
2nd place in AL West, 4.5 games back (leading AL Wild Card by 1 game)

Julio Borbon, LF
Michael Young, 3B
Josh Hamilton, RF
Marlon Byrd, CF
David Murphy, DH
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Hank Blalock, 1B
Taylor Teagarden, C
Omar Vizquel, SS
Pitching: RHP Scott Feldman (9-7, 3.90)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Waiting on a deal

After a week off, I’m back on the beat and it’s a busy day to return thanks to today being the deadline for teams to sign their 2009 Draft picks.

The Twins continue to have negotiations with their first-round pick, right-hander Kyle Gibson. Scouting director Deron Johnson has remained optimistic that a deal will get done, although indications today were that it would likely go down to the wire with the deadline coming at 11:01 p.m. CT.

Brian Duensing will start Thursday’s contest in Texas, manager Ron Gardenhire said today. That means Anthony Swarzak is moving to the bullpen, although he likely won’t be available to pitch in relief until Tuesday after throwing 80-some pitches in his start against Cleveland on Saturday.

Joe Nathan said his right knee is fine after he took a line drive off his kneecap in Sunday’s contest. So the Twins All-Star closer is good to go out of the ‘pen tonight.

Orlando Cabrera is getting a day off today. Gardenhire said that Cabrera told some of the coaching staff that he was a little worn out so they felt this was a good game to give him a rest. Brendan Harris gets the start at shortstop in Cabrera’s place and will be batting second in the lineup as well.

Here are today’s lineups:

Twins (56-61)
3rd place in AL Central, 6 games back


Denard Span, CF
Brendan Harris, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Joe Crede, 3B
Delmon Young, LF
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: LHP Francisco Liriano (5-11, 5.39)

Rangers (66-50)
2nd place in AL West, 4.5 games back (leading AL Wild Card by 1/2 game)

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Michael Young, 3B
Josh Hamilton, RF
Marlon Byrd, CF
David Murphy, LF
Andruw Jones, DH
Hank Blalock, 1B
Kevin Richardson, C
Elvis Andrus, SS
Pitching: RHP Tommy Hunter (5-2, 2.26)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Perkins to have MRI on his shoulder

Glen Perkins will not make a start for the Twins this week as he’s set to undergo an MRI on his left shoulder when the team returns to Minnesota. Perkins said it’s a “precautionary” MRI that he and his agent decided needed to be done after he’s had a hard time getting loose lately.But for now, Perkins is out of the rotation.

As for the two undecided starts on Wednesday and Thursday against the Royals, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Francisco Liriano would make one of them and Anthony Swarzak or Brian Duensing would make the other.

  • Twins third baseman Joe Crede said that his right shoulder is feeling better again and that the cortisone shot hit the right spot. He’ll be ready to do some activity on the field Tuesday, but the Twins will probably wait until at least Wednesday before slotting Crede back into the lineup.

  • Carlos Gomez’s calf is doing much better, Gardenhire said. Gomez didn’t start Sunday because he’s 0-for-5  with four strikeouts in his career against LHP Jarrod Washburn. 

Here are today’s lineups:

 Twins (54-56)
3rd place in AL Central, 4.5 games back


Denard Span, CF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, DH
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Delmon Young, LF
Mike Redmond, C
Nick Punto, 3B
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Pitching: RHP Scott Baker (9-7, 4.59)

Tigers (58-51)
1st place in AL Central

Curtis Granderson, CF
Placido Polanco, 2B
Marcus Thames, LF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Carlos Guillen, DH
Magglio Ordonez, RF
Brandon Inge, 3B
Gerald Laird, C
Ramon Santiago, SS
Pitching: LHP Jarrod Washburn (8-7, 2.93)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Saturday Lineups: Twins at Tigers

There was quite a bit of entertainment following the Twins’ 10-8 loss to the Tigers on Friday night thanks to the verbal war of words between Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt.

Gardenhire read all of Wendelstedt’s comments in the paper and he had a humorous response on Saturday to the invitation the skipper was given to attend umpiring school.

“If he’ll agree to take the classes again, I’ll go with him,” Gardenhire said.

Gardenhire said he hasn’t heard from the Commissoner’s office about any possible repercussions of his comments — a fine or perhaps suspension. At least not yet, anyway.

  • Carlos Gomez is out of the lineup with a bruised calf, after fouling a ball off it in Friday night’s contest.

  • Gardenhire started Nick Punto at third base to get some additional speed in the lineup and also to have his defense there with a groundball pitcher on the mound (Pavano).

  • The rotation is still unsettled for this next week. Gardenhire said that Nick Blackburn will pitch Tuesday and Carl Pavano on Friday. But the club is still undecided on the starters for Wednesday and Thursday. Anthony Swarzak joined Glen Perkins and Francisco Liriano as a possibility to be removed from the rotation following his one inning outing on Friday. So there are two spots for the three pitchers.

Here are the lineups.

Twins (53-56)
3rd place in AL Central, 5.5 games back


Denard Span, CF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Delmon Young, LF
Nick Punto, 3B
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Pitching: RHP Carl Pavano (9-8, 5.37)

Tigers (58-50)
1st place in AL Central

Curtis Granderson, CF
Placido Polanco, 2B
Clete Thomas, LF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Carlos Guillen, DH
Magglio Ordonez, RF
Brandon Inge, 3B
Gerald Laird, C
Adam Everett, SS
Pitching: RHP Justin Verlander (12-5, 3.29)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

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