By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins made a flurry of roster moves on Friday afternoon, opening up a spot for new closer Matt Capps as well as placing infielder Nick Punto on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring.
To clear room on the roster for Capps, the Twins optioned right-hander Nick Blackburn to Triple-A Rochester. Blackburn had been pitching in the bullpen since he was replaced in the rotation by left-hander Brian Duensing. The move to the Minors should give Blackburn more of an opportunity to pitch and get himself back in form, including mentally.
Plouffe was promoted from Rochester to take Punto’s roster spot. Punto injured his left hamstring in the eighth inning on Wednesday during a lunge at first base following a bunt base hit.
By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com
After a few days off, Joe Mauer returns to the Twins lineup today. Mauer had been battling a sore right shoulder after taking a foul tip off it in Thursday’s game against the Orioles. Mauer said that his shoulder was feeling better in recent days but the Twins didn’t want to push it and didn’t want him to make any extra long roadtrips like Monday’s trek across the state to Jupiter, Fla..
Justin Morneau is being given another day off as is Jim Thome. Manager Ron Gardenhire said Sunday that both players were dealing with some “general soreness” after taking a long bus trip to Clearwater. Gardenhire really does seem intent on not pushing anything this spring and giving his players plenty of rest.
I spoke with Nick Blackburn this morning who gave me an update on his knee. He said it felt better while playing catch today and doesn’t expect it to be much of an issue. I’ll have an updated story on the site a little later.
Robert Andino, SS
Justin Turner, 2B
Nolan Reimold, DH
Luke Scott, LF
Lou Montanez, RF
Scott Moore, 1B
Josh Bell, 3B
Chad Moeller, C
Jeff Salazar, CF
Pitching: RHP David Hernandez
Others scheduled to pitch: Koji Uehara, Dennis Sarfate
Ben Revere, CF
Orlando Hudson, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Jason Kubel, DH
Brendan Harris, SS
Danny Valencia, 3B
Jacque Jones, LF
Juan Portes, RF
Pitching: RHP Scott Baker
Others scheduled to pitch: Mike Maroth, Clay Condrey, Jesse Crain, Pat Neshek, Jose Mijares
A reminder you can follow me on Twitter @kellythesier
I guess I also could have titled this entry the late edition of the notebook. Sometimes that happens after those long drives down I-75.
The drive back from Clearwater today also featured a sight that I hadn’t seen along the highway before, a brush fire. As I was coming down the highway near Sarasota, a huge black cloud of smoke billowed high into the clouds. From what I read later, it was a fire that covered nearly three acres of ground and eventually shut down a stretch of I-75. Fortunately I made it through before that happened, but it made for quite an interesting scene with smoke bellowing over the highway as I drove past.
To fill you in on more baseball news, here are a few things that were also noteworthy on Saturday.
–After the victory over the Phillies, manager Ron Gardenhire said that first baseman Justin Morneau would be back in the lineup for Sunday’s game against the Blue Jays. Morneau was able to work out back at Hammond Stadium on Saturday after battling a case of the flu.
— Right-hander Nick Blackburn made his start in a Minor League contest back in Fort Myers on Saturday so that he wouldn’t have to test his left knee at the plate as the club played National League rules against the Phillies. Blackburn instead started for Double-A New Britain as they faced Triple-A Rochester and he allowed one run on four hits over his three innings. Blackburn threw 45 pitches and walked two while striking out one.