Tagged: bullpen

Gardy likes the look of the bullpen

Just a few weeks ago, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire stressed how important it was for his club to address its bullpen situation this offseason.

But after the bullpen had been an area of concern for much of the past two seasons, lately it’s been going through a resurgence. That’s in part due to general manager Bill Smith adding some extra pieces to the mix last month.

The acquisitions of Jon Rauch and Ron Mahay, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, have added some veteran presence to Minnesota’s relief corps. Combine that with Matt Guerrier’s emergence as a solid eighth inning option, Jesse Crain’s rebound since returning from the Minor Leagues and Jose Mijares now figuring out how to get right-handed hitters out, and Gardenhire has been pleased recently be what he’s seen from the group.

“We struggled early out of the bullpen,” Gardenhire said, “but I think good things have happened.”

With Rauch signed through 2010, Pat Neshek and Boof Bonser as options to challenge for spots as they are set to return in Spring Training following surgeries and some young starters like Anthony Swarzak and Brian Duensing in the mix if they don’t make the starting rotation, the club’s bullpen is already looking to have plenty of options for next season.

“I think we’re going to have lots of good
competition,” said Gardenhire. “It should be fun.”

That’s not to say Gardenhire doesn’t want other options. The Twins still could be looking for one more left-handed reliever for 2010, which could be Mahay as Gardenhire said he’d like to have the lefty back, and perhaps another arm in long relief.

“I like the arms [we have].” Gardenhire said. “Can you use more? Always.”

Twins shuffle rotation due to Perkins being ill

As I wrote in an earlier blog, the Twins have scratched Glen Perkins from tonight’s start against the Yankees because he’s ill and battling a fever. Anthony Swarzak will get the start for the Twins instead.

Perkins is not coming to the ballpark tonight, and right now it appears that Francisco Liriano will move up a day and start Thurs. vs. New York. Manager Ron Gardenhire said it’s “not totally locked in” so there is a chance it could change.

Depending on his health, Perkins could start Friday’s series opener vs. the White Sox or be slotted in any other day of the weekend when he’s feeling better.

Following Scott Baker’s short start last night, the Twins bullpen is a little thin. Gardenhire said there are four relievers available — Bobby Keppel, Matt Guerrier, Jose Mijares and Joe Nathan. Since both Brian Duensing and R.A. Dickey threw over 50 pitches, they are not considered available.

“We can stretch Keppel out if we have — hopefully we won’t have to,” Gardenhire said. “We’ll save the other guys for late stuff. It’s not a perfect scenario but not a lot we can do about it now.”

Even with Jason Kubel in the lineup, Michael Cuddyer is batting fifth behind Justin Morneau. Gardenhire said it was a result of Cuddyer swinging the bat well and also that righties are hitting better vs. Yankees starter A.J. Burnett (righties .273, lefties .207)

Here are your lineups.

Derek Jeter, SS
Johnny Damon, LF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Hideki Matsui, DH
Jorge Posada, C
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Brett Gardner, CF
Pitching: A.J. Burnett, RHP

Denard Span, LF
Brendan Harris, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Jason Kubel, DH
Joe Crede, 3B
Carlos Gomez, CF
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: Anthony Swarzak, RHP

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Happy Fourth of July!

With the 16-inning game not ending last night until after midnight, it’s already been a busy Fourth of July for the Twins. The club now gets ready to host the Tigers for Round 2 of the series and the hope for both clubs is that their bullpens won’t be needed much in this one.

Manager Ron Gardenhire said that his bullpen isn’t in too bad of shape. He’ll try to stay away from Matt Guerrier, who threw two innings, and Brian Duensing won’t be available after throwing 3 2/3. So who is available? Joe Nathan, Jose Mijares, R.A. Dickey, recently called up Anthony Swarzak and even Scott Baker, who didn’t throw a pre-game bullpen session in case he’s needed.

UPDATE: So much for staying away from Guerrier. He’s now pitching the eighth inning. Guess he was good to go.

The real hope is that Francisco Liriano can give the Twins a long outing.

Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau are both in the lineup, with Mauer playing as the DH. Gardenhire said that Mauer arrived early to the ballpark to tell him that he was good to go. Joe Crede gets a rest after playing all 16 innings on the turf. So Brian Buscher gets the start at third in his place.

As for Kevin Slowey, Gardenhire said that the pitcher will fly to Baltimore on Sunday and see a specialist there on Monday about his strained right wrist. It’s the same doctor that Slowey saw over the winter about the injury.

While Slowey’s wrist hadn’t affected him on the mound until Friday night, Gardenhire said that it had been sore when the pitcher was doing everyday things — like opening doors. Slowey has been getting treatment on the wrist all season, but now that it flared up while throwing he’ll get it checked out again.

“The kid’s got 10 wins. It hadn’t been an issue,” Gardenhire said. “He’s been throwing great
until the last couple of outings. In St. Louis, he said he was feeling
fine. We were worried about his ribs more than the hand, and whether
either one had an effect just hasn’t been an issue until all of a
sudden now. He said yesterday when we took him out that the ball felt
like a leaded ball. That’s what he told me in the dugout.”

Here are today’s lineups:

Curtis Granderson, CF
Placido Polanco, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Marcus Thames, DH
Ryan Raburn, LF
Brandon Inge, 3B
Magglio Ordonez, RF
Dusty Ryan, C
Adam Everett, SS
Pitching: Edwin Jackson, RHP

Denard Span, CF
Brendan Harris, SS
Joe Mauer, DH
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, LF
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Brian Buscher, 3B
Jose Morales, C
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: Francisco Liriano, LHP