Tagged: Brendan Harris

Another day in a pennant race: Twins at Royals 9/26

The Twins will try for their fifth straight win and their 11th win in their last 12 games when they face Royals left-hander Lenny DiNardo on Saturday night in Kansas City.

Scott Baker will take the hill for the Twins. Baker has been one of the Twins better starters in the second half and they hope that he can deliver a strong outing again in yet another must-win situation for the club.

No huge news during manager Ron Gardenhire’s pre-game session. Only one lineup change today. Brendan Harris gets the nod as the DH. Gardenhire said yesterday that he likes the way Harris has been swinging against left-handed pitching.

Gardenhire also said that he might start Jose Morales behind the plate during Sunday’s afternoon contest with the Royals, allowing Joe Mauer to DH. That way he can keep Mauer’s bat in the lineup but still give his everyday catcher a needed rest for his legs and body.

One interesting note I didn’t get in my story last night was that the Twins are closing in on having four players with at least 90 RBIs — which would mark the first time in club history that’s happened. Jason Kubel and Joe Mauer each collected their 90th RBI on Friday night and Justin Morneau has 100 RBIs for the season. Michael Cuddyer currently is sitting at 88 RBIs after driving in two runs last night.

Twins (79-73)
2nd place in AL Central, 2 games back

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: RHP Scott Baker (13-9, 4.43)

Royals (63-91)
4th place in AL Central, 19.5 games back
Willie Bloomquist, RF
Mitch Maier, LF
Billy Butler, 1B
Mike Jacobs, DH
Alberto Callaspo, 2B
Brayan Pena, C
Alex Gordon, 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
Josh Anderson, CF
Pitching: LHP Lenny Dinardo (0-1, 8.22)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Greetings from Toronto and Happy Labor Day!

After missing the last three games in Cleveland to attend a friend’s wedding, I’m back on the beat with the club in Toronto.

It’s the first time I’ve made the trip to Toronto since the Twins opened the 2006 season here. So I’ve been getting reacquainted with the city as well as trying to catch up with the Twins after a tough weekend in which they went 1-2 vs. the Indians and  fell to 7 games back of Detroit in the AL Central standings.

The Twins will try to get back on track offensively at the Rogers Centre, where they’ve lost seven straight and have won just 1 of their last 10 games.

As I’m writing this, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and some of the players are greeting former Twin Randy Ruiz behind the batting cage. Ruiz, who is is batting .296 with six home runs and 11 RBI in 20 games for Toronto, was struck in the side of his face by a pitch in a contest against the Yankees on Sunday afternoon and is not in the lineup for the Blue Jays today. Ruiz seems to be OK though as he joked with his former teammates and coaches, motioning how the pitch hit his face.

Orlando Cabrera and Brendan Harris are both getting a day off. Gardenhire said that many of his club’s bats looked a little slow on Sunday so he decided to mix up the lineup a little bit. Nick Punto will get the start at shortstop and Brian Buscher is slotted in at third base.

Joe Crede planned to do everything in batting practice today, including fielding ground balls. How Crede feels after today will determine whether he takes part in the simulated game that Francisco Liriano will pitch on Tuesday.

Here are today’s lineups:

Twins (68-68)
2nd place in AL Central, 7 games back

Denard Span, CF
Nick Punto, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Delmon Young, LF
Brian Buscher, 3B
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Pitching: RHP Jeff Manship (0-0, 3.75)

Blue Jays (61-75)
4th place in AL East, 25.5 games back

Marco Scutaro, SS
Aaron Hill, 2B
Adam Lind, DH
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Vernon Wells, CF
Rod Barajas, C
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
Travis Snider, LF
Joe Inglett, RF
Pitching: RHP Scott Richmond (6-8, 4.53)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Crede update plus Friday round-up

Just when it seemed like the Twins might be easing on their pursuit of Joe Crede, talks between the two sides are heating up once again.

As Jon Heyman of SI.com first reported, the Twins appear to be closing in on a deal with Crede. It was indicated to me that the two sides could be nearing a deal but I haven’t been able to get much info on what the possible deal might entail. It’s clear that Crede’s agent, Scott Boras, and Twins GM Bill Smith remain in discussions, although, I’m making sure to point out that I’ve heard nothing is finalized yet.

While Crede became the news on Friday night, there were a few interesting tidbits to pass along from the day.

  • Manager Ron Gardenhire said that one area he’d like to address this spring is his backup first baseman. Justin Morneau played all 163 games last season (155 at first base). And while Morneau was able to handle that workload, Gardenhire would like the option this season of giving him more rest from playing the field. Michael Cuddyer has held the backup duties at the spot in previous seasons, but Gardenhire would like to keep him in the outfield. So the likely candidates to see playing time at first will be Brian Buscher and Brendan Harris, who would make up the platoon at third base if the Twins don’t sign Crede.

  • Gardenhire also mentioned that it’s not necessarily a given that the team will go with 12 pitchers out of spring. It still seems the most likely scenario but Gardenhire won’t rule out the possibility of keeping an extra position player — “I’d like to go with 14 [position players]. But I have to talk to my pitching coach on that one. It’s going to be tough.”

  • In addition to the five Spring Training games already being televised, the Twins announced Friday that the MLB Network will be carrying four additional contests that were not previously scheduled to air on Fox Sports North or WFTC. They include the following games: Feb. 25 — Red Sox @ Twins – NESN, Feb. 28 — Twins @ NY Yankees – YES, March 1 — Red Sox @ Twins — NESN, March 17 – Twins @ Red Sox — NESN

  • Also of note, hitting coach Joe Vavra said that he’s been pleased with some of the early adjustments that he’s seen in Delmon Young’s swing. Vavra said that his stance is a little wider and that Young looks to be using his legs more. The hope is that these changes will allow Young to turn on the ball more and to use the natural power he generates with his quick hands.

I figured as something fun, I might recommend some good places to eat/see while visiting Fort Myers during Spring Training as a daily (or weekly) thing. A little warning — I don’t get out much other than to eat while I’m here so it will most likely be food related. However, I have played some nice golf courses during the few off days I have here so I’ll try to include those too. So here goes the first  recommendation.

Restaurant of the day: Cantino Laredo — a good Mexican restaurant that is located near the Bell Tower Shops at the corner of Daniels Parkway and U.S. 41. It’s first on my list because I’ve already eaten there a couple of times this trip. If you like guacamole, be sure to get it as they make it fresh at the table.