May 2010

Trying for a 3-4 roadtrip: Twins at Red Sox 5/20

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

BOSTON – The Twins are trying to wrap up their roadtrip with a win tonight and while it would still be a losing roadtrip, a 3-4 record certainly looks better than 2-5 vs. the AL East on this three-city trip.

It appears unlikely that shortstop J.J. Hardy will be ready to play this weekend against his former team, the Brewers. Hardy (left wrist contusion) is still only hitting off a tee and manager Ron Gardenhire said the club will most likely wait until after Monday’s off day to activate him from the DL.

The Twins don’t want to stick with 13 pitchers to they’re expected to make a roster mover after tonight’s game to swap a pitcher for an infielder. The move is not known yet, although Matt Tolbert is not eligible to be brought up again and Luke Hughes is on the DL with a strained groin.

Twins

(24-16)
Denard Span, CF
Orlando
Hudson, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer,
RF
Jason Kubel, DH
Delmon Young, LF
Brendan Harris, SS
Nick
Punto, 3B
Pitching: LHP Francisco Liriano (4-2, 2.63
ERA)

Red Sox (21-20)
Darnell McDonald, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Victor Martinez, C
Kevin Youkilis,
1B
Mike Lowell, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF
Bill
Hall, LF
Angel Sanchez, SS
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester
(3-2, 3.91 ERA)

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Catching liability?

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

BOSTON — During Spring Training, it would have been easy to assume that the backup catching spot would be there for Jose Morales once he recovered from offseason right wrist surgery.

But now that Morales’ wrist is healed and he’s starting to catch and DH at Triple-A Rochester, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Morales has to prove that he deserves to have that spot.

“That’s not a given at all. It depends on how he does
and whether he can catch and throw,” Gardenhire said. “There’s nothing
written in stone that that’s his job. Coming back from an injury, he has
to earn the promotion just like everybody else. He’s been told that,
and I think his agent’s been told that.”

The biggest test for Morales now is to show that he can
control the running game.

Morales threw out just one of 19 baserunners
attempting to steal over his 29 games in the big leagues last year and was charged with five passed balls. He wasn’t able to work on those skills this winter due to his wrist injury and he missed all of Spring Training as he recovered from surgery, making it difficult for the club to work with him on his issues.

But before Gardenhire can hand the backup catching position to Morales, he first needs to see that the catcher can help to control a running game.

“We know he’s not the strongest-armed kid in the world, that’s a given,”
Gardenhire said, “but you have to be able to be serviceable enough to
throw the ball down there and get the people you’re supposed to get,
that’s all. His thing is getting healthy.”

Gardenhire reiterated that he’s very happy with the job that Drew Butera has done in the backup catcher role. Although Morales is a better hitter, Butera “can catch and throw with the best of them,” according to Gardenhire. And while Butera is batting .136 for the Twins, the club feels he’s a good fit since he doesn’t get many starts playing behind Joe Mauer.

Welcome to Beantown: Twins at Red Sox 5/19

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

BOSTON –After missing the two-day trip to Toronto, I’m back with the Twins as they wrap up the roadtrip with a two-game set against the Red Sox.

For now, here are the lineups:

Twins

(24-15)
Denard Span, CF
Orlando
Hudson, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer,
RF
Jim Thome, DH
Jason Kubel, LF
Brendan Harris, SS
Nick Punto, 3B
Pitching: RHP Scott Baker (4-3, 4.93
ERA)

Red Sox (20-20)
J.D. Drew, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Victor Martinez, C
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Jeremy Hermida, LF
Bill Hall, SS
Darnell McDonald, CF
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz (4-3, 3.46 ERA)

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Still searching for a Bronx win: Twins at Yankees 5/16

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

NEW YORK — The Twins are trying to avoid getting swept in the Bronx for the third straight season as Nick Blackburn takes the mound for the Twins against the Yankees on Sunday afternoon.

Sorry for the lack of lineups yesterday. I got a little swamped with some other work stuff.

As for news today, Matt Tolbert is getting the start at third because manager Ron Gardenhire wanted to give him some playing time. Nick Punto is just fine.

Twins

(22-14)
Denard Span, CF
Orlando
Hudson, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Jim Thomel, DH
Jason Kubel, LF
Alexi Casilla, SS
Matt Tolbert, 3B
Pitching: RHP Nick Blackburn (3-1, 4.76
ERA)

Yankees (24-12)
Derek
Jeter, DH
Brett Gardner, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez,
3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Jorge Posada, C
Marcus Thames, RF
Randy Winn, LF
Ramiro Pena, SS
Pitching: RHP Sergio Mitre (0-1, 3.86 ERA)

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Hoping for some Bronx success: Twins at Yankees 5/14

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins already seem to be sick of talking about their lack of success in New York (3-23 in the regular season since 2002 and 0-6 last year here including two playoff losses).

But of course the best way to dispel some of the talk would be for Minnesota to take tonight’s series opener at Yankee Stadium.

Twins

(22-12)
Denard Span, CF
Orlando
Hudson, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Jason
Kubel, DH
Delmon Young, LF
Alexi Casilla, SS
Nick Punto, 3B
Pitching: RHP Scott Baker (4-2, 4.47
ERA)

Yankees (22-12)
Derek Jeter, SS
Brett Gardner, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Marcus Thames, LF
Juan Miranda, DH
Francisco Cervelli, C
Pitching: RHP A.J. Burnett (4-1, 3.40 ERA)

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Trying to avoid a home series loss: Twins vs. White Sox 5/12

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins have yet to lose a series at home this season, but a loss today to the White Sox would guarantee the club’s first series loss at Target Field.

Joe Mauer is in the lineup again after he made it through Tuesday night’s game without any problems in his sore left heel. Left-hander Jose Mijares has not yet been activated but the roster move is expected after the game.

The Twins took BP on the field today so it was a quiet morning. More to come later…

UPDATE: Andruw Jones was scratched with a stiff neck. The White Sox lineup has been changed.

White Sox (14-19)

Juan
Pierre, LF
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Alex Rios, CF
Paul Konerko,
1B
Mark Kotsay, DH
Carlos Quentin, RF
Mark Teahen, 3B
Gordon
Beckham, 2B
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Pitching: LHP John Danks (3-1, 1.98 ERA)

Twins

(21-12)
Denard Span, CF
Orlando
Hudson, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer,
RF
Jim Thome, DH
Delmon Young, LF
Brendan Harris, 3B
Alexi Casilla, SS
Pitching: RHP Carl Pavano (3-3, 3.43 ERA)

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Ozzie visits Target Field: Twins vs. White Sox 5/11

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS — White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen never hid his disdain for the Metrodome and he’s eagerly anticipated the Twins’ move into their new ballpark.

But on a wet and cold day in the Twin Cities as the White Sox arrived for their first series at Target Field on Tuesday, Guillen couldn’t help but joke on his twitter account that this was a night when they needed the Dome.

The rain that dampened the area throughout the day on Tuesday has tapered off and the game is about to start as scheduled.

Joe Mauer is back in the lineup at catcher as is second baseman Orlando Hudson, who was given a day off on Sunday due to a sore shoulder. The Twins could make a roster move after the game to activate Jose Mijares if Mauer’s sore heel gets through the game all right.

White Sox (13-19)
Juan Pierre, LF
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Andruw Jones, RF
Paul Konerko, 1B
Alex Rios, CF
Carlos Quentin, DH
Mark Teahen, 3B
Gordon Beckham, 2B
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Pitching: RHP Freddy Garcia (1-2, 5.28 ERA)

Twins

(21-11)
Denard Span, CF
Orlando
Hudson, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer,
RF
Jason Kubel, DH
Delmon Young, LF
Brendan Harris, SS
Nick
Punto, 3B
Pitching: RHP Kevin Slowey (4-2, 3.93 ERA)

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Blackburn returns to the mound: Twins vs. Tigers 5/4

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins made a roster move before the game to reinstate Nick Blackburn from the Family Medical Emergency List. To make room for Blackburn, they optioned right-hander Jeff Manship to Triple-A Rochester.

So the Twins will continue to go with just six relievers for the time being. It’s not an issue that manager Ron Gardenhire is hugely concerned with as he said that in the past teams did not always rely on seven pitchers in the bullpen.

Blackburn will be starting for the Twins tonight. He didn’t face the Tigers last week in Detroit, but the Twins will try to see if they can fare better against Dontrelle Willis the second time around. Willis held Minnesota scoreless over six innings last Thursday.

Joe Mauer had an MRI on his bruised left heel, just to make sure that nothing else was going on. But the MRI came back showing just a deep soft tissue bruise so the catcher remains day-to-day.

Tigers
(16-11)

Austin

Jackson, CF
Johnny
Damon, DH
Magglio Ordonez, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Brennan
Boesch, LF
Brandon Inge, 3B
Scott Sizemore, 2B
Gerald Laird, C
Adam Everett, SS
Pitching: LHP Dontrelle Willis (1-1, 3.75 ERA)

Twins

(17-9)
Denard Span, CF
Orlando
Hudson, 2B
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jim Thome, DH
Michael Cuddyer,
RF
Delmon Young, LF
J.J. Hardy, SS
Wilson Ramos, C
Nick Punto, 3B
Pitching: RHP Nick Blackburn (1-1, 6.85
ERA)

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Back home: Twins vs. Tigers 5/3

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins and Tigers are set to meet in Minnesota for the first time since Game 163 last October, although this time it’s at a new venue (Target Field instead of the Metrodome) and the Tigers seem very excited about that fact.

The two AL Central foes are vying for first place in this series, as the Twins currently sit just a half game ahead of Detroit in the standings.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Joe Mauer’s sore left heel is “still sore but it’s feeling better than yesterday.” Mauer remains unavailable, even as a pinch-hitter although the skipper wanted to keep the opponents guessing. The club wants Mauer to get all of the soreness out of his heel before he tries to do any baseball activities. For now, Mauer is getting treatment on the heel and doing some aquatherapy — quite a bit since no one saw him.

Nick Blackburn was back in the Twins clubhouse on Monday afternoon following his family medical emergency leave. He said that everything is OK with his family and he’s glad to be back with the team. He’s scheduled to start on Tuesday and will try to bounce back from a few of the struggles

As for Scott Baker pitching tonight and his high number of walks, Gardy said that it’s a new month and he’s looking forward to the right-hander turning things around.

“It was April.
Heard a lot about April and his slow starts. We’re going to turn it
around and be fine in May.”

Tigers (16-10)
Austin

Jackson, CF
Johnny
Damon, DH
Magglio Ordonez, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Brennan
Boesch, LF
Brandon Inge, 3B
Ryan Raburn, 2B
Gerald Laird, C
Ramon Santiago, SS
Pitching: RHP Max Scherzer (1-1, 4.23 ERA)

Twins

(16-9)
Denard Span, CF
Orlando
Hudson, 2B
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jim Thome, DH
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Jason
Kubel, LF
J.J. Hardy, SS
Wilson Ramos, C
Nick Punto, 3B
Pitching: RHP Scott Baker (2-2, 5.72
ERA)

A
reminder
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can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier