Greetings from Toronto and Happy Labor Day!

After missing the last three games in Cleveland to attend a friend’s wedding, I’m back on the beat with the club in Toronto.

It’s the first time I’ve made the trip to Toronto since the Twins opened the 2006 season here. So I’ve been getting reacquainted with the city as well as trying to catch up with the Twins after a tough weekend in which they went 1-2 vs. the Indians and  fell to 7 games back of Detroit in the AL Central standings.

The Twins will try to get back on track offensively at the Rogers Centre, where they’ve lost seven straight and have won just 1 of their last 10 games.

As I’m writing this, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and some of the players are greeting former Twin Randy Ruiz behind the batting cage. Ruiz, who is is batting .296 with six home runs and 11 RBI in 20 games for Toronto, was struck in the side of his face by a pitch in a contest against the Yankees on Sunday afternoon and is not in the lineup for the Blue Jays today. Ruiz seems to be OK though as he joked with his former teammates and coaches, motioning how the pitch hit his face.

Orlando Cabrera and Brendan Harris are both getting a day off. Gardenhire said that many of his club’s bats looked a little slow on Sunday so he decided to mix up the lineup a little bit. Nick Punto will get the start at shortstop and Brian Buscher is slotted in at third base.

Joe Crede planned to do everything in batting practice today, including fielding ground balls. How Crede feels after today will determine whether he takes part in the simulated game that Francisco Liriano will pitch on Tuesday.

Here are today’s lineups:

Twins (68-68)
2nd place in AL Central, 7 games back

Denard Span, CF
Nick Punto, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Delmon Young, LF
Brian Buscher, 3B
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Pitching: RHP Jeff Manship (0-0, 3.75)

Blue Jays (61-75)
4th place in AL East, 25.5 games back

Marco Scutaro, SS
Aaron Hill, 2B
Adam Lind, DH
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Vernon Wells, CF
Rod Barajas, C
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
Travis Snider, LF
Joe Inglett, RF
Pitching: RHP Scott Richmond (6-8, 4.53)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

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