March 2010

Twins vs. Pirates 3/30

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Today marks the final spring outing for Francisco Liriano.

The Twins have yet to name a fifth starter, although manager Ron Gardenhire has made it clear that Liriano has the edge for the role. So we’ll see if the manager decides to name his fifth starter or will wait a little longer to make the decision.

Glen Perkins and Ron Mahay are both scheduled to pitch in Minor League contests today. Delmon Young will also get some swings down on the other side of the complex as well.

Pirates (7-16)
John Raynor, RF

Ramon Vazquez, 3B

Bobby Crosby, SS
Ryan Church, CF
Steve Pearce, 1B
Delwyn Young, 2B
Robbie Grossman, LF
Jason Jaramillo, C

Pitching: RHP Charlie Morton

Twins (13-11)

Denard Span, CF

Orlando Hudson, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B

Michael Cuddyer, RF
Jim Thome, DH
Jason Kubel, LF
J.J. Hardy, SS
Nick Punto, 3B
Pitching: LHP Francisco Liriano

Others scheduled to pitch: Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Twins vs. Phillies 3/27

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It was a quieter morning at camp due to the clubhouse being closed early for the annual Players Association meeting.

Spoke with Glen Perkins (lower back strain) who threw a light bullpen session today. He said he’ll see how he feels tomorrow but he’s tentatively scheduled to throw in a Minor League game on Monday.

Phillies (12-8-1)
Dewayne Wise, CF
Juan Castro, SS
Ben Francisco, LF
Greg Dobbs, 3B
Ross Gload, 1B
John Mayberry Jr., RF
Brian Schneider, C
Cody Ransom, DH
Wilson Valdez, 2B

Pitching: RHP Cole Hamels

Others scheduled to pitch: Danys Baez, Jose Contreras, David Herndon

Twins (12-9)

J.J. Hardy, SS

Orlando Hudson, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, CF
Jim Thome, DH
Jason Kubel, RF
Juan Portes, LF Delmon Young, LF
Nick Punto, 3B
Pitching: RHP Nick Blackburn

Others scheduled to pitch:
 
A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Twins at Rays 3/25

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Joe Mauer was packing up this stuff in the clubhouse this morning for his first roadtrip of the spring. Actually it’s his first bus trip in spring since 2008 since he missed all of last spring. One reporter asked if he needed any help in remembering how to take bus trips. He laughed and said he knew where the bus was. His hope was just that he didn’t forget  to pack anything.

Ron Mahay was in the clubhouse this morning after arriving in Fort Myers, Fla. last night. He seemed happy to be back with the Twins and he said he’ll throw a bullpen today.

As for the injury updates:

Left-hander Jose Mijares said his bruised right hand was doing fine today after he took a liner off his glove during a Minor League outing on Wednesday. He said he’ll pitch Thursday.

Glen Perkins’ strained lower back is feeling much better, he said, and he is planning to play catch today.

Twins (11-8)

Denard Span, CF

Orlando Hudson, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, DH
Delmon Young, LF
Jacque Jones, RF
J.J. Hardy, SS
Nick Punto, 3B
Pitching: LHP Francisco Liriano

Others scheduled to pitch: Brian Duensing, Kyle Waldrop

Rays (14-7)
Jason Bartlett, SS

Carl Crawford, LF
Ben Zobrist, 2B

Carlos Pena, 1B
B.J. Upton, CF

Pat Burrell, RF
Gabe Kapler, DH
Sean Rodriguez, 3B
Nevin Ashley, C

Pitching: LHP David Price

Others scheduled to pitch: Winston Abreu, Lance Cormier, Heath Phillips
 

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Wednesday tidbits: Mijares and Slowey

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wasn’t around to see the start of Wednesday’s game against the Marlins because he and pitching coach Rick Anderson were on the Minor League side of the complex to watch left-hander Jose Mijares pitch.

Mijares was going to throw two innings in a Minor League game but in his second inning of work, he was struck by a line drive in his glove. Gardenhire said it struck Mijares awkwardly in the glove and left him with a bruise on his right hand. The trainers told him afterward that Mijares will be fine.

Delmon Young also took some at-bats down in the Minor League game. Gardenhire said Young got a couple hits and stole a base. He was also thrown out on a base, the skipper said.

Gardenhire didn’t get to see Kevin Slowey pitch due to being on the side of the complex. But Slowey continued his success. He’s now allowed just one run over 16 innings this spring and coming off wrist surgery last season, it’s been a very positive sign for the club.

“You are always concerned after a surgery,” Gardenhire said. “Even after he started his rehab, he had a little swelling, a little soreness at times. They told him he was going to have that. He’s a tough kid and he let it play out. Since we’ve gotten going here, he’s thrown the ball as well as anyone we have in camp. It’s good to see. It means a lot to this rotation.”

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Twins vs. Marlins 3/24

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Twins announced this morning that they’d agreed to terms with left-handed pitcher Ron Mahay on a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League camp.

This will be the second stint with the Twins for Mahay, 38. He gave up two runs over nine innings (16 innings) with Minnesota late
last season after being designated for assignment by Kansas City in August.

The move appears to be an attempt by the club to add depth to the bullpen due to the loss of closer Joe Nathan. Mahay won’t be an option to close. But if the club should decide to shift other relievers in that role, Mahay could provide another lefty in the ‘pen.

Marlins (11-9)
Emilio Bonifacio, LF
Cameron Maybin, CF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Jorge Cantu, 3B
John Baker, DH
Dan Uggla, 2B
Ronny Paulino, C
Brett Carroll, RF

Pitching: RHP Anibal Sanchez

Others scheduled to pitch: Leo Nunez, Tim Wood, Burke Badenhop

Twins (10-8)

Jacque Jones, RF

Alexi Casilla, SS
Jason Kubel, LF
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, CF
Jim Thomel, DH
Brendan Harris, 3B
Wilson Ramos, C
Matt Tolbert, 2B
Pitching: RHP Kevin Slowey

Others scheduled to pitch: Jose Mijares, Clay Condrey, Jon Rauch, Anthony Slama, Mike Maroth

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Twins vs. Red Sox 3/23

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Twins and Red Sox are set to meet up for the fifth time this season tonight and currently Minnesota trails 1-3 in the Mayor’s Cup with three contests, including this one, remaining between the crosstown rivals.

Twins closer Joe Nathan said today that he’ll undergo Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on Friday in New York. The surgery will be performed by noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Altchek.

Left-hander Glen Perkins has a strained back, which he suffered while doing squats during a workout on Monday’s off day. He’s listed as day-to-day but it will likely be a couple days before he can throw.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire made it clear that Michael Cuddyer will be his backup center fielder, and that he likely won’t use any infielders to back up the spot unless it’s an emergency. Cuddyer made a great catch while playing center in a game at Port Charlotte on Saturday, so there should be no concerns if he has to back up the spot during those rare occasions.

Gardenhire also labeled the race between Alexi Casilla and Matt Tolbert for the final bench spot as, `neck-and-neck.’ Remember Casilla is out of options so that could sway things.

Red Sox (9-11)
Marco Scutaro, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
J.D. Drew, RF
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Jason Varitek, C
Jeremy Hazelbaker, LF
Che-Hsuan Lin, CF

Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz

Others scheduled to pitch: Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima, Daniel Bard, Ramon Ramiez, Manny Delcarmen

Twins (9-8)

Denard Span, CF

Orlando Hudson, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Jason Kubel, DH
Delmon Young, LF
J.J. Hardy, SS
Nick Punto, 3B
Pitching: RHP Carl Pavano

Others scheduled to pitch: Matt Guerrier, Pat Neshek, Jesse Crain

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Twins sign Joe Mauer to a eight-year, $184 million contract

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Twins have locked up their hometown star for the long-term.

The club has agreed to terms with catcher Joe Mauer on an eight-year, $184 million contract, covering the 2011-2018 seasons. The deal includes a full-no trade clause.

A press conference will be held to announce the deal on Monday night at 7:00 p.m. ET at the Twins Conference Center at the Lee County Sports Complex.

Both Mauer and the Twins have agreed not to comment further on the deal until the press conference on Monday evening.

Mauer, 26, was named the 2009 American League MVP after batting .365 with 28 home runs and 96 RBIs. He is a three-time All-Star and a two-time Gold Glove winner in six seasons with the Twins. The catcher is also one of only 10 players in Major League history to win three-or more batting titles.

A native of St. Paul, Mauer was drafted as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft. He has a career batting average of .327. Since making his Major League in 2004, Mauer ranks third among all Major League players in batting behind Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners (.335) and Albert Pujols of the Cardinals (.334).

Twins vs. Rays 3/21

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Sorry for the delay in lineups, one of those busy days with the news about Joe Nathan deciding to undergo Tommy John ligament replacement surgery.

There were a few other bits of news this morning. The Twins made four cuts — optioning pitcher Jeff Manship to Triple-A Rochester and reassigning infielders Toby Gardenhire and Chris Parmelee and outfielder Brian Dinkelman to Minor League camp. The club now has 38 players in camp.

Right-hander Nick Blackburn is also scheduled to pitch a couple innings in  Minor League game across the complex on Sunday.

Rays (12-5)
Matt Joyce, DH
Carl Crawford, LF
Ben Zobrist, RF

B.J. Upton, CF
Hank Blalock, 1B

Dan Johnson, 3B
Reid Brignac, SS
Elliot Johnson, 2B
Alvin Colina, C

Pitching: RHP Wade Davis

Others scheduled to pitch:Chris Jakubauskas, Javier Lopez, Jack Taschner, Brian Bass, Jean Machi

Twins (8-8)

Denard Span, CF

Orlando Hudson, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Jim Thome, DH
Delmon Young, LF
J.J. Hardy, SS
Nick Punto, 3B
Pitching: RHP Scott Baker

Others scheduled to pitch: Jose Mijares, Clay Condrey, Anthony Swarzak, Kyle Waldrop

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Nathan to undergo Tommy John surgery

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Twins closer Joe Nathan told reporters Sunday morning that he will undergo Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow as soon as possible.

Nathan played a game of catch this morning with pitching coach Rick Anderson but felt stiffness in his right elbow.

“It didn’t go like we hoped,” Nathan said. “We knew it was a long shot, but what this did do is  clear my head. There was definitely no grey area.”

Nathan was diagnosed with what the Twins called a “significant” tear in his ulnar collateral ligament on March 8, two days after he left a spring exhibition game against the Red Sox with stiffness in the elbow. Nathan held out hope that he could rehab the injury but said after the game of catch that it was not possible.

The pitcher’s intention is to have the surgery done within the next week, although he said he
hasn’t decided exactly when that will be or who will perform the surgery. The estimated recovery time is 12 months and Nathan said he’s looking to be ready for Opening Day 2011.

Saturday tidbits: A collision and other updates

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire admitted to being a little shaken up following a scary collision at the plate in the fourth inning of Saturday’s game with the Rays.

For the second time in the game, outfielder Jacque Jones collided with Rays catcher Dioner Navarro at home plate while trying to score on a ball hit to center field. While the two managed to get away unscathed the first time, Navarro wasn’t so lucky in the second attempt.

Navarro was on the ground for quite a long time before being lifted onto a cart and taken off the field with an injury to his left knee. At the time, Navarro looked to be in great pain.

“It just makes you sick to your stomach,” Gardenhire said. “He’s a really good player and a really good kid.I was worried about Jacque too. He had nowhere to go, [with Navarro] blocking the plate and on top of the plate. But it’s just scary to see collisions.”

Navarro turned out to be OK. X-rays on his left knee were negative and he was diagnosed with a nerve contusion — which the Rays said shouldn’t be too worrisome. As for Jones, he said he banged up his left knee on the play but that he was OK as well.

Certainly not what anyone wants to see in a Spring Training contest.

– A couple of the Twins got some at-bats in Minor League contests on Saturday. J.J. Hardy went 0-for-2 with a walk in a game against the Orioles’ Class AAA Norfolk affiliate while playing four innings at shortstop and Jim Thome went 0-for-3 with an RBI in that game.
Justin Morneau went 3-for-4 in a game against the Orioles’ Class AA Bowie affiliate. The best news was that Gardenhire said all three players came away feeling good
physically

– Still no update on Joe Nathan. He’ll likely play catch on Sunday and when we get word about how it goes, I’ll pass it along.

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