April 2010

Banged up bunch: Twins at Tigers 4/29

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

DETROIT — The Twins are going for their seventh straight series win today in their rubber match against the Tigers, but they’ll be doing so without a few of their key hitters in the lineup.

Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and J.J. Hardy are all not starting today. For Morneau it’s the second straight game he’s missed due to oblique stiffness in his mid-back. Mauer’s legs are a little sore and he is a little banged up from catching while Hardy is battling a case of turf toe.

Mauer and Hardy are available off the bench. Morneau will get another full day of rest — he won’t even swing today — and the expectation is that he could be back in the lineup perhaps as early as tomorrow in Cleveland.

Twins

(14-7)
Denard Span, CF
Orlando
Hudson, 2B
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Jim Thome, DH
Jason
Kubel, RF
Delmon Young, LF
Brendan Harris, SS
Luke Hughes, 3B
Drew Butera, C
Pitching: RHP Carl Pavano (3-1, 4.24
ERA)

Tigers (12-10)
Austin
Jackson, CF
Johnny
Damon, DH
Magglio Ordonez, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Brennan
Boesch, LF
Brandon Inge, 3B
Gerald Laird, C
Scott Sizemore, 2B
Adam Everett, SS
Pitching: LHP Dontrelle Willis (0-1, 5.00 ERA)

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Morneau out w/ back issue: Twins at Tigers 4/28

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

DETROIT — Justin Morneau is not in the lineup today, after leaving last night’s game in the sixth inning with stiffness in his upper back. After the game, he said he didn’t expect to miss more than a couple days with the injury.

I’ll have more of an update on Morneau’s injury later but for now, here are the lineups. Notice that Luke Hughes will be making his Major League debut while starting at third tonight.

Twins

(14-6)
Denard Span, CF
Orlando
Hudson, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Jim Thome, DH
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Jason Kubel, RF
Delmon Young, LF
J.J. Hardy, SS
Luke Hughes, 3B
Pitching: RHP Scott Baker (2-2, 4.81 ERA)

Tigers (11-10)
Austin Jackson, CF
Johnny
Damon, DH
Magglio Ordonez, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Brennan Boesch, LF
Brandon Inge, 3B
Ryan Raburn, 2B
Alex Avila, C
Ramon
Santiago, SS
Pitching: RHP Max Scherzer (1-1, 2.63 ERA)

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Taking on Verlander: Twins at Tigers 4/27

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

DETROIT — After a day off yesterday, the Twins are getting ready to kick off a three-game series with the Tigers in what will be their first meeting since that epic Game 163 last year.

For me, it’s a chance to return to my hometown (really, I’m from the outer suburbs) and there’s nothing like a nice night at home with a homecooked meal like I had on Monday to start off a road series. And it certainly doesn’t hurt to be in Detroit when the Red Wings are playing a Game 7 against the Phoenix Coyotes, although I’m hoping just to catch the end of that since the games will likely overlap.

As for the news today, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said there is no real update on Nick Punto. He’s scheduled to see a hip specialist in the Twin Cities this week and get his right hip checked out as a precautionary measure.

While a lot of guys have strong numbers against Verlander, Gardenhire chose to leave Delmon Young on the bench with Jim Thome as the DH and Jason Kubel in left field. He said that lefties were hitting better off Verlander than righties (.354 BA vs. .200 BA ) and Thome’s 7 homers also stuck out.

Here are the splits for the three vs. Verlander:
Kubel  .360 BA (9-for-25), 0 HR, 7 RBIs, 4 walks
Thome .244 BA (10-for-41), 7 HR, 11 RBIs, 10 walks
Young  .278 (5-for-18), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2 walks

And
now, here are the lineups:

Twins

(13-6)
Denard Span, CF
Orlando
Hudson, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer,

RF
Jason Kubel, LF
Jim Thome, DH
J.J. Hardy, SS
Brendan
Harris, 3B
Pitching: LHP Francisco Liriano (2-0, 1.29 ERA)

Tigers (11-9)
Austin Jackson, CF
Johnny Damon, DH
Magglio Ordonez, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Brandon Inge, 3B
Ryan Raburn, LF
Gerald Laird, C
Scott Sizemore, 2B
Ramon Santiago, SS
Pitching: RHP Justin Verlander (1-1, 6.95 ERA)

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Going for the Sweep (Again): Twins at Royals 4/25

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

KANSAS
CITY — The Twins will be going for a series sweep against the Royals this afternoon at Kauffman Stadium. It’s the third straight series where the Twins have won the first two games, but so far this season they have yet to complete a sweep.

Jason Kubel is getting the day off, as Jim Thome is in at DH. After a long night behind the plate, Joe Mauer said he was good to go today so he’s playing. The Twins have a day off on Monday so that probably helps as well.

The Twins bullpen is a little taxed following Saturday night’s 12-inning affair. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Matt Guerrier is out for sure today and closer Jon Rauch is questionable. Relievers who are for sure available are Jesse Crain, Pat Neshek, Brian Duensing, Ron Mahay and Alex Burnett (the only one who didn’t pitch in the contest). Scott Baker will also wait to throw his bullpen session until during the game in case for some reason he might be needed.

Nick Punto’s MRI on his right groin muscle came back fine, Gardenhire said. But the Twins want to look more at his right hip in case that might be causing the problems.

And now, here are the lineups:

Twins

(13-5)
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
Brendan
Harris, 3B
Pitching: RHP Kevin Slowey (2-1, 2.45 ERA)

Royals
(6-11)

David DeJesus, RF
Scott Podsednik, LF
Billy

Butler, 1B
Jose Guillen, DH
Alberto Callaspo, 2B
Jason Kendall, C
Alex Gordon, 3B
Mitch Maier, CF
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
Pitching:
RHP Brian Bannister (0-1, 4.58 ERA)

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Rain, Rain go away: Twins at Royals 4/24

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

KANSAS
CITY — A steady rain has been falling here at Kauffman Stadium for most of the afternoon but the expectation is that baseball will be played at some point tonight.

The rain hasn’t stopped some of the Twins pitchers from heading out on the field to play catch. There are also quite a few fans already in the stands, sitting underneath umbrellas. The Royals are expecting a high attendance tonight as it’s Zack Greinke bobblehead night. So they will likely have everyone sit here and wait things out awhile.

Infielder Luke Hughes has arrived in Kansas City and he was in the clubhouse this afternoon. The Perth, Australia native was very excited to earn his first Major League callup and I’ll have more on that in the Twins Beat a little later.

For now, here are the lineups:

Twins

(12-5)
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
Brendan
Harris, 3B
Pitching: RHP
Nick Blackburn (1-1, 6.05 ERA)

Royals
(6-10)

David DeJesus, RF
Scott Podsednik, LF
Billy
Butler, 1B
Jose Guillen, DH
Alberto Callaspo, 2B
Rick Ankiel,
CF
Jason Kendall, C
Alex Gordon, 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
Pitching:
RHP Luke Hochevar (2-0, 2.89 ERA)

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Punto goes on the DL

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

KANSAS CITY — Nick Punto has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right hip flexor strain, the Twins announced today.

Punto, who was named the Twins starting third baseman just before the season started, has been battling a sore groin muscle and has not played since April 15. He was hoping that the injury would heal with some rest, but he said it’s been in a “stalemate” last four days so the decision was made to place him on the DL.

“It was one of those things where I thought it would be just a few days,” Punto said. “We’ve gone seven days and it hasn’t made a whole lot of progress.”

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–Punto is headed back to Minnesota on Saturday to get an MRI done on the area and make sure there is nothing more serious. In nine games this season, Punto is batting .269 with two doubles, a triple and an RBI. With Punto sidelined, Brendan Harris has taken over as the starter at third base.

Punto will be placed on the DL retroactive to Apr, 16, so he could return
May 1.

To replace Punto on the roster, the Twins
will recall infielder Luke Hughes from Triple-A Rochester. Hughes hit .267 with eight doubles in 12 games
for the Red Wings and will join the team on Saturday.

Welcome to Kauffman Stadium: Twins vs. Royals 4/23

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

KANSAS CITY — I arrived in lovely Kansas City this morning to a few rain showers. The sky is clear at the moment but there is a chance of rain is in the forecast all weekend so hopefully it will remain clear at game time.

Here is the Twins lineup for now. I’ll have more later.

Twins

(11-5)
Denard Span, CF
Orlando
Hudson, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer,

RF
Jason Kubel, LF
Jim Thome, DH
J.J. Hardy, SS
Brendan Harris, 3B
Pitching: RHP Carl Pavano (2-1, 4.96)

(Pitcher has been corrected, sorry for my forgetting to change it).

Royals (6-9)
David DeJesus, RF
Scott Podsednik, LF
Billy Butler, 1B
Jose Guillen, DH
Alberto Callaspo, 2B
Rick Ankiel, CF
Jason Kendall, C
Alex Gordon, 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
Pitching: RHP Gil Meche (0-1, 11.57 ERA)

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Going for the Sweep: Twins vs. Indians 4/22

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS — Joe Mauer is getting only his second day off of the season as the Twins go for the sweep of the Indians on Thursday afternoon.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that he spoke with Mauer this morning and the catcher was feeling a little sore. So he decided it was a good time to give Mauer a rest. Drew Butera will make his second Major League start behind the plate.

J.J. Hardy is also getting a rest for the first time. Hardy said he could play despite having a little soreness in his knee, but Gardenhire felt it was an opportunity to give Alexi Casilla his first start of the season. Jim Thome is also in at DH, while Jason Kubel shifts to left field.

Pat Neshek threw in the bullpen and his sore right middle finger felt great. He’ll be available in an emergency today but he’ll truly be ready out of the ‘pen tomorrow.

Indians
(6-8)

Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Grady Sizemore, CF
Shin-Soo Choo, RF
Travis Hafner, DH
Matt LaPorta, LF
Russell Branyon, 1B
Andy Marte, 3B
Luis Valbuena, 2B
Lou Marson, C
Pitching: RHP Mitch Talbot (1-1, 3.21 ERA)

Twins

(11-4)
Denard Span, CF
Orlando
Hudson, 2B
Jason Kubel, LF
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer,
RF
Jim Thome, DH
Brendan Harris, 3B
Drew Butera, C
Alexi Casilla, SS
Pitching: RHP Scott Baker (2-1, 3.38 ERA)

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A chill in the air: Twins vs. Indians 4/21

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS — The spring chill has set in the air at Target Field tonight and after numerous days of summer like warmth, the Twins will get a little reminder of what spring usually feels like in the Upper Midwest.

Nick Punto is not back in the lineup as expected. Manager Ron Gardenhire said the cooler weather played a factor as Punto’s sore groin is feeling good but “not totally right.” So the plan is to rest Punto at least today and tomorrow, hoping that he’ll be ready when the Twins head on the road on Friday.

Pat Neshek (strained flexor tendon right middle finger) played catch and felt OK. The next step will be for him to throw a bullpen, which could happen tomorrow. So it still will be a couple days at least before Neshek is available.

The good news came with Nick Blackburn, whose sore right elbow felt great during his bullpen session today. So he’ll start on Saturday as scheduled.

Mike Redmond is in the lineup for the Indians tonight. I’m guessing he’ll get a very nice reception from Twins fans.

Indians
(6-7)

Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Grady Sizemore, CF
Shin-Soo Choo, RF
Austin Kearns, LF
Travis Hafner, DH
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B
Jhonny Peralta, 3B
Matt LaPorta, 1B
Mike Redmond, C
Pitching: LHP David Huff

Twins

(10-4)
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
Brendan
Harris,
3B
Pitching: LHP Francisco Liriano

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Welcome back Red: Twins vs. Indians 4/20

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS — After taking a few days off, I’m back at Target Field for the Indians series. The sun has been shining and temperatures once again hit the mid-70s today. Yes, you couldn’t ask for better baseball weather.

I’ll admit that the new ballpark is even having an effect on us writers. Covering games inside the Metrodome and missing the beautiful spring and summer weather in Minnesota took its toll over the course of a season. So now being here at Target Field on another fantastic day with the sun shining as the team takes BP, it certainly is a treat.

I got a chance to catch up with Mike Redmond today as he makes his return to the Twin Cities as a member of the Indians. Redmond’s humor and demeanor is certainly missed inside the Twins clubhouse and everyone seemed happy to get a chance to see him again. I’ll have more from Redmond later on the site.

As for news, Nick Punto (sore groin muscle)_ is not back in the lineup although he said it’s feeling much better. He was expected to go through all the pre-game activities today and could make his return to the lineup as soon as tomorrow.

Pat Neshek’s right middle finger (strained flexor tendon) is still a little sore so he didn’t throw today. But it’s feeling much better than it was so manager Ron Gardenhire said the club will wait to see how he’s feeling in the next couple days. The team is trying to give Neshek some extra time to let the finger heal.

Right-hander Nick Blackburn had an MRI on his sore right elbow today, but he said he was feeling better and planned to play some catch today.

Indians (6-6)
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Grady Sizemore, CF
Shin-Soo Choo, RF
Travis Hafner, DH
Jhonny Peralta, 3B
Russell Branyan, 1B
Austin Kearns, LF
Luis Valbuena, 2B
Lou Marson, C
Pitching: RHP Justin Masterson

Twins

(9-4)
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
Brendan Harris,
3B
Pitching: RHP Kevin Slowey

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