October 2009

Twins 2009 Diamond Award Winners

The Twins announced the recipients of the 2009 Diamond Awards, which are voted upon by the Twin Cities Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Here are the winners:

  • Calvin R. Griffith Most Valuable Twin — Joe Mauer
  • Joseph W. Haynes Pitcher of the Year — Joe Nathan
  • Charles O. Johnson Most Improved Twin — Michael Cuddyer
  • Bill Boni Outstanding Rookie of the Year — Jose Mijares
  • Dick Siebert Upper Midwest Player of the Year — Mauer
  • Mike Augustin Media Good Guy Award — Denard Span
  • Bob Allison Leadership Award — Cuddyer

The Twins also select a few winners of their own, here they are:

  • Carl R. Pohlad Award for Community Service — Justin Morneau
  • Kirby Puckett Award for Alumni Community Service — Rod Carew
  • Sherry Robertson Award for Minor League Player of the Year — Ben Revere
  • Jim Rantz Award for Minor League Pitcher of the Year — David Bromberg

The awards will be given out at the Fifth Annual Diamond Awards Dinner, which will take place on Jan. 28, 2010, at the Hilton Minneapolis. The event will benefit brain, nerve and muscle disorders research at the University of Minnesota

Nathan, Morneau undergo minor clean-up surgeries

Twins closer Joe Nathan and first baseman Justin Morneau each underwent “clean-up” surgeries on Tuesday to have bone chips removed, general manager Bill Smith confirmed in an email on Thursday.

Nathan saw Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. on Monday after team doctors recommended a minor clean-up to his right elbow. Andrews confirmed the recommendation and on Tuesday morning, Andrews performed the surgery to remove two bone chips from Nathan’s right elbow. Nathan is now back home in Knoxville, Tenn. and is expected to make a full recovery before Spring Training, Smith said.

Morneau had been bothered by a bone chip in his right wrist during the season. On Tuesday, Twins hand specialist Dr. Tom Verecka removed the chip and Morneau is also expected to be ready for the start of Spring Training.

Game 3 Twins vs. Yankees: Trying to stave off elimination

Yankees (2-0)
Derek Jeter, SS

Johnny Damon, LF

Mark Teixeira, 1B

Alex Rodriguez, 3B

Hideki Matsui, DH

Jorge Posada, C

Robinson Cano, 2B

Nick Swisher, RF
Melky Cabrera

Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (14-8, 4.16)

Twins (0-2)
Denard Span, CF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Jason Kubel, RF
Delmon Young, LF
Brendan Harris, 3B
Jose Morales, DH
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: RHP Carl Pavano (14-12, 5.10)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Game 2: Trying for a split

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire shuffled his lineup as expected, starting Carlos Gomez in center field with Denard Span in right and Jason Kubel as the DH.

Gardenhire joked in his press conference that Gomez “irritates people. Sometimes me.” He was teasing, but the Twins are hoping that Gomez can help add a little speed to their lineup. Gardenhire said he also thought it would help not to have Kubel in the outfield in case of rain tonight. So the skipper will have his better defensive outfield out there tonight.

Due to the changes, Jose Morales will not be in the starting lineup. While Morales looked a little overwhelmed during his first two at-bats in the tie-breaker game at the Metrodome on Tuesday, Gardenhire said that he’s not afraid to use Morales as a pinch-hitter tonight.

Jesse Crain reported to Gardenhire that his sore groin felt good today. But the club won’t really know if he’s available until he plays catch during batting practice.

Twins (0-1)
Denard Span, RF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Delmon Young, LF
Carlos Gomez, CF
Matt Tolbert, 3B
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: RHP Nick Blackburn (11-11, 4.03)

Yankees (1-0)
Derek Jeter, SS

Johnny Damon, LF

Mark Teixeira, 1B

Alex Rodriguez, 3B

Hideki Matsui, DH

Nick Swisher, RF

Robinson Cano, 2B

Melky Cabrera, CF
Jose Molina, C

Pitching: RHP A.J. Burnett (13-9, 4.04)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Tidbits for Game 1

Here is some news and nuggets from manager Ron Gardenhire’s pre-game meeting with the local media.

– Gardenhire said that the team arrived at their hotel a little after 4 a.m. ET. The plane ride wasn’t any more raucous than normal. It was actually fairly quiet, he said. The players and the staff were both a little drained today following Tuesday’s craziness but Gardenhire didn’t think it would take long into the game for the energy to return.

–Gardenhire told the national media that the Twins are TBA for Game 3 of the series, with both Carl Pavano and Scott Baker as options. Still, it appears that Pavano is the one likely in line for the start.

–Everyone in the bullpen is available for tonight’s game, Gardenhire said. The relievers who didn’t see much time on the mound are Jon Rauch (4 pitches), Jose Mijares (7 pitches) and Ron Mahay (4 pitches).

– As you can read on the website, the Twins decided to go with 12 pitchers and 13 position players for this series. After using nearly everyone out of the ‘pen last night, Gardenhire said there was no choice but to go with that number. Also, the club needed four starters since Scott Baker was required to pitch Game No. 163.

Bring on the Yankees: Game 1 ALDS

Twins (87-76)
Denard Span, CF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Jason Kubel, RF
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Delmon Young, LF
Brendan Harris, DH
Matt Tolbert, 3B
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: LHP Brian Duensing (5-2, .364)

Yankees (103-59)
Derek Jeter, SS

Johnny Damon, LF

Mark Teixeira, 1B

Alex Rodriguez, 3B

Hideki Matsui, DH

Jorge Posada, C

Robinson Cano, 2B

Nick Swisher, RF

Melky Cabrera, CF

Pitching: LHP CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.37)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Game 163: Twins vs. Tigers

It’s all come down to this.

For the second straight season, the Twins are playing in Game 163 but this year the group seems a bit looser, perhaps something that a little bit of experience will do for you.

The Twins certainly seem happy to be playing in the Dome. Sure, the home field advantage is great but it was also 46 degrees and pouring rain when I arrived at the Metrodome today. Next year, the club won’t have the roof to their advantage anymore.

Here are a few interesting facts from the Twins game notes today:

– Since the All-Star Break, the Twins are 41-32 while the Tigers have gone 38-37. The Twins have outscored the Tigers over that time (379 runs to 320), but Detroit has the advantage in ERA (4.53) compared to the Twins (4.71).

– Joe Mauer leads the AL batting race by 14 points going into his final day. Mauer’s average is sitting at .364 while Ichiro finished the season at .352. Mauer will join a select group of players who have won three-or-more AL batting titles including Nap Lajoie, Ty Cobb, Harry Heilmann, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Tony Oliva, Rod Carew, George Brett, and Wade Boggs.

UPDATE: The turf in right field is doing OK, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. There are often a few soft spots following a football game due to the bleachers being unrolled out in right field. But Jason Kubel said it wasn’t anything that he couldn’t handle.

There were quite a few Twins players in attendance for Monday night’s Vikings-Packers at the Metrodome. Among those who watched the game from field level were Denard Span, Joe Nathan, Nick Punto, Delmon Young, Jesse Crain and Carl Pavano. The group received a huge ovation from the crowd when they were shown on the jumbotron and Nathan said they couldn’t walk up and down the aisles without getting plenty of high-fives from fans.

As for Gardenhire, he watched the game at home. He had plenty of interest, not just because he’s been a long-time Brett Favre fan.

“I had a lot of fantasy players playing, and I lost,” Gardenhire said.

So what did he think about Favre’s performance.

“He was my fantasy quarterback,” Gardenhire said. “He just didn’t give it to Adrian enough for me.”

Tigers (86-76)
1st place in AL Central, tied
Curtis Granderson, CF
Placido Polanco, 2B
Magglio Ordonez, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Carlos Guillen, DH
Ryan Raburn, LF
Brandon Inge, 3B
Gerald Laird, C
Ramon Santiago, SS
Pitching: RHP Rick Porcello (14-9, 4.04)

Twins (86-76)
1st place in AL Central, tied

Denard Span, CF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Jason Kubel, RF
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Delmon Young, LF
Jose Morales, DH
Matt Tolbert, 3B
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: RHP Scott Baker (15-9, 4.36)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Down to the Final game: Twins vs. Royals 10/4

For the third time in four years, the Twins division hopes will come down to the final game of the season. And with the Twins and Tigers tied atop the AL Central,  the Twins hold their own fate. If they win, there will be at least one more game in the Metrodome — either a tiebreaker or Game 3 of the ALDS.

Since it’s the final regular season game at the Metrodome (well at least on the 162 game schedule), the Twins will host an hour-long ceremony after today’s game ends to celebrate the 28 years here. It’s going to be interesting to see how that will go since it will take place win or lose.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he didn’t watch the Tigers 4-1 loss to the White Sox last night. He was in his hot tub with his wife, Carol, while his daughter Tiffany was watching the game inside. Carol had been checking the scores a little on her cell phone, but Tiffany came outside to give updates as well. It created a funny moment when Tiffany informed them, ‘It’s tied,” and Carol concerningly said, “They tied it up?”

“No,” Tiffany said. “You’re tied.”

Gardenhire just shook his head retelling the story, ‘Entertainment,’ he said.

The Twins skipper was just happy to come into Sunday knowing that a win means his club’s season will be extended at least one game.

“From where we’ve been it’s actually nice to have it come down to one
ballgame,” Gardenhire said. “We’ve been chasing the whole time. The last day of the
season and we’re deadlocked again. Now we know what we have to do, we
have to win. But we’ve known that for three weeks — that we have to win.
It hasn’t changed on our side of it. But at least we’re dead even.”

Justin Verlander is pitching for the Tigers today. So the Twins enter the contest feeling like they need a win to force a one-game tiebreaker on Tuesday at the Dome. If that game takes place, it will be Scott Baker for the Twins pitching against the Tigers’ rookie Rick Porcello. 

Royals (65-95)
4th place in AL Central, 20 games back
Willie Bloomquist, LF
Mitch Maier, CF
Billy Butler, 1B
Mike Jacobs, DH
Alberto Callaspo, 2B
Mark Teahen, RF
John Buck, C
Alex Gordon, 3B
Luis Hernandez, SS
Pitching: RHP Luke Hochevar (7-12, 6.24)

Twins (84-76)
1st place in AL Central, tied

Denard Span, CF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Jason Kubel, RF
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Delmon Young, LF
Jose Morales, DH
Matt Tolbert, 3B
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: RHP Carl Pavano (13-12, 5.07)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Raise the Curtain: Twins vs. Royals 10/3

The Twins face another must-win situation on Saturday and the task is less than enviable as they take on Royals ace and AL Cy Young candidate Zack Greinke.

While the Twins lost to Greinke last Sunday, they had chances in the contest and after scoring 10 runs on Friday night the club is hopeful that they can find a way to get the ace today. Of course, it is National TV today and a chance for Greinke to show voters that he indeed does deserve the award.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that the entire bullpen is available today, despite last night’s game where nearly everyone had to be used to get through the win.

Brian Duensing is available out of the bullpen again today. If the Twins need someone early to help out starter Nick Blackburn, who is pitching on three days rest, Duensing would be the first one to go. If the Twins are still one game back on Sunday, Carl Pavano will get the start on short rest instead of Duensing — or if the Twins have to use Duensing today then Pavano could also get the nod.

While Gardenhire said that Joe Mauer was exhausted after last night’s game, the catcher was behind the plate again today. Just shows you that it’s pennant chase baseball and everyone can bounce back at this time of year.

Also, the curtain has been raised today as the Twins expect a nearly packed house for the second to last game at the Metrodome. Should be plenty of excitement as the Twins try to put pressure on the Tigers before their game with the White Sox later tonight.

Royals (65-95)
4th place in AL Central, 20 games back
Willie Bloomquist, LF
Mitch Maier, CF
Billy Butler, 1B
Mike Jacobs, DH
Alberto Callaspo, 2B
Mark Teahen, RF
Miguel Olivo, C
Alex Gordon, 3B
Luis Hernandez, SS
Pitching: RHP Zack Greinke (16-8, 2.06)

Twins (84-76)
2nd place in AL Central, 1 game back

Denard Span, CF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Jason Kubel, RF
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Delmon Young, LF
Jose Morales, DH
Matt Tolbert, 3B
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: RHP Nick Blackburn (11-11, 4.08)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Final days of the Dome: Twins vs. Royals 10/2

The Twins are expecting a crowd of around 50,000 for the first of the three final contests at the Metrodome. With the Twins still in a pennant chase and needing a win tonight, it should make for a great environment at the ballpark.

As for news, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Brian Duensing is available out of the bullpen
tonight if needed. If Duensing does pitch, Carl Pavano would probably start
on Sunday.

“We’ve got to win three games,” Gardenhire said. “That’s’ what we’re gonna try to do.”

Royals (65-94)
4th place in AL Central, 20 games back
Willie Bloomquist, LF
Mitch Maier, CF
Billy Butler, 1B
Brayan Pena, DH
Alberto Callaspo, 2B
Mark Teahen, RF
Miguel Olivo, C
Alex Gordon, 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
Pitching: LHP Lenny DiNardo (0-2, 7.52)

Twins (83-76)
2nd place in AL Central, 2 games back

Denard Span, CF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Jason Kubel, RF
Delmon Young, LF
Brendan Harris, DH
Matt Tolbert, 3B
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: RHP Jeff Manship (0-1, 5.81)



A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

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