September is the time when managers have extra bodies at their disposal, thanks to the expansion of active rosters.
But on Tuesday night, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was short on one thing that he could have used — another outfielder.
In the scenario that Gardenhire faced on Tuesday night in a tie game against the White Sox –one out in the ninth and the go-ahead run at third base — the skipper would have considered using a pinch-hitter to replace Carlos Gomez. That is, if he had a sixth outfielder
Having already inserted Gomez as a defensive replacement for Delmon Young and replacing Jason Kubel (who led off the ninth with a single) with pinch-runner Nick Punto, Gardenhire didn’t have another outfielder on his bench to use if the game went to extras.
“We were kind of stuck there,” Gardenhire said.
So the skipper had Gomez take the at-bat and instead turned to Jose Morales to pinch-hit for Alexi Casilla with two outs in the inning. Morales came up with the big hit in that spot, but Gardenhire was asked after the game if he might want an additional outfielder knowing how things played out on Tuesday
“Funny you said that,” Gardenhire said. “Yeah, we’ve been talking…I don’t know how many outfielders you can have but it’s a possibility when [Triple-A Rochester’s] season ends.”
The Twins only made one immediate call-up on Tuesday, the day rosters officially expanded, bringing up infielder Brian Buscher from Triple-A Rochester. Infielder Matt Tolbert is also expected to join the club once his knee starts feeling better, but so far there had not been any plans so far to bring up another outfielder. But after Tuesday’s 4-3 walkoff win over Chicago, Gardenhire hinted that the club might add one when Rochester closes out its season on Sept. 7.
“Tonight was one of those circumstances, you are going to run out of players if you keep making moves and the game gets tight,” Gardenhire said. “But if you have an opportunity and you’ve got another player you can use like that, it would be wonderful.We’ll just see where we’re at here in a few days.”