Tagged: Delmon Young

Delmon still in 5th

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

TORONTO — Delmon Young may be driving in runs with regularity for the Twins over the past month and a half, but the Twins outfielder still needs fans to come out in droves thi sweek if he’s going to have a chance to win this year’s All-Star Final Vote on MLB.com.

In the results for the American League released on Tuesday, Young sat in fifth place for a second straight day. He currently trails Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis, who passed Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher for the lead. Rangers third baseman Michael Young sits third  while White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko is fourth.

Reds first baseman Joey Votto currently holds the lead in the National League All-Star Final Vote.

The Twins have launched a “Drive in Delmon” campaign to urge fans to vote for Young. It’s had to be a primarily internet-based push since the Twins are currently in Toronto.

Voting for the Final Vote runs through 3 p.m. CT on Thursday.

More notes and nuggets from Game 3 of spring

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wasn’t pleased with how his pitching staff threw the ball in their third spring game, a 9-3 loss to the Red Sox. But the bigger concern to come out of Saturday’s contest was the health of closer Joe Nathan.

Nathan had to leave the game after recording just one out in the third inning due to tightness and soreness in his surgically repaired right elbow. For a team that doesn’t have a clear choice for the closer spot if Nathan isn’t available, it’s not a comforting sight to see him have to leave a game.

After exiting the contest, Nathan went back to the Twins Spring Training complex across town to have his elbow examined by the team doctors. The club will know more from the results of that, but the belief (and hope) of the team is that this could be normal soreness as Nathan works his way back from the surgery.

So we’ll have to see on Sunday what the news is about Nathan. He’ll likely be shut down for at least a few days. Since it’s Spring Training, the club will be cautious with their four-time All-Star closer.

Here are a few other nuggets from the day:

–Jesse Crain was scheduled to pitch in Saturday’s contest but he was scratched due to a case of the flu. It’s possible he could end up throwing in one of the split squad games on Sunday.

–Loek Van Mil had another MRI on his right shoulder but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he hadn’t heard the results of that yet.

— I had a nice visit with Dmitri Young, who was at the game on Saturday with his 12-year-old son, Owen, to watch Delmon. Dmitri said he is officially done playing and was happy to get to take in a ballgame as a fan as Owen was a batboy for the Twins.

But rather than stay in the stands, Dmtiri tried out a different angle to watch the game. He sat between Star Tribune writer, Joe Christensen, and me up in the press box. It was entertaining to listen to Dmitri’s thoughts on the game although Joe had to kindly inform him early on that there is no cheering in the pressbox. Dmitri was in great spirits and after what was tough year for the entire Young family following the passing of the boys’ mother, Bonnie Young, it was heart warming to see them all enjoying the day together.

Monday camp tidbits: Injury updates, tall pitchers and Team USA

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

Day 1 of Twins camp is in the books and it was the most beautiful day weather-wise since I arrived in Fort Myers, Fla. a little over a week ago. The sun was shining and temperatures were in the mid-70s for the first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers. Now that actual workouts are underway, it’s a good time to empty the notebook with some interesting tidbits and stories.

— The only injury concern currently in camp is pitcher Loek Van Mil, who is battling some soreness in his right shoulder. Van Mil is going to be limited to long toss for the next couple days so he won’t be throwing in the bullpen during that time.

— Catcher Jose Morales sat in the dugout bench on Field 5 and watched as pitchers and catchers stretched before the start of Monday’s workout. Morales’ right arm is still in a cast following surgery at the end of last month to stabilize a tendon in his wrist. Morales said that the cast is scheduled to come off in a week. The switch-hitter said he should be able to start swinging from the right side in about two weeks and the left side in about four.

— Infielder Nick Punto has not yet reported to camp, as position players don’t officially have to be here until Friday, but Twins general manager Bill Smith said that the team plans to take it easy with him early in camp. Punto underwent a cleanup surgery on his right wrist at the end of last month and had been expected to be ready to go on the first day of full squad workouts.  But Smith said there is no rush for Punto to be 100 percent.

“He’s such a high energy player. We’re just going to try to slow him down,” Smith said. “We’ll make sure we take out time. Opening Day is a long ways away.”

— When talking about Van Mil’s sore shoulder, manager Ron Gardenhire was asked what it’s like to have so many tall pitchers in camp this spring. Van Mil is 7-foot-1 and reliever Jon Rauch is 6-foot-11. The two pitchers weren’t in the same throwing group but everyone laughed at how Van Mil made one member of his group — Joe Nathan, who is 6-foot-4 — look short.

“I’m already prepping them on, if I come up to the mound they have to back off the mound so I can look at them eye to eye,” Gardenhire said with a laugh. “Too many guys I’m going to have to look up to on this staff.”

— There was one additional position player who reported to camp on Monday — outfielder Delmon Young. While Gardenhire was meeting with the media, Young stuck his head in the manager’s office to say hello. Young, who has dropped at least 30 pounds from last season, surprised his skipper by his new svelte look and it led to a humorous exchange.

“What happened brother? You go to a shrink machine?” Gardenhire joked with Young.

“[Carl] Pavano is on our staff,” Young said. “I need to catch the fly balls on the warning track.”

— Young wasn’t the only player that Gardenhire enjoyed teasing on Monday. Even though first baseman Justin Morneau has yet to report to camp, he wasn’t exempt from getting a few jabs from the manager.

Gardenhire said he was texting Morneau during the USA-Canada Olympic hockey game on Sunday night. The U.S. pulled off the upset, defeating Canada 5-3 and Gardenhire couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to get on British Columbia-native Morneau, who shares his Canadian pride with everyone.

“He’s catching a lot of heat,” Gardenhire said.

Morneau’s wife, Krista, is from Minnesota and the first baseman told Gardenhire that this was one of the times it was hard to be married to an American. But there will likely be some more ribbing awaiting Morneau when he arrives at camp, as many of his teammates were ready to continue the trash-talking about Team USA’s win. Morneau is rumored to be arriving to camp tomorrow so it’s possible that he could arrive to a little red, white and blue tribute in his locker. 

Welcoming the leaders to the Dome

The Twins are opening up a three-game set with the Tigers tonight at the Dome. It’s a big series considering that Minnesota is currently three games back of Detroit in the AL Central standings.

Minnesota will be facing left-hander Luke French in his first Major League start. French has made two previous relief appearances for Detroit and did not give up a run over three innings. We’ll have to see how the Twins fare against a young lefty they’ve never seen before — they haven’t exactly been successful in some of those situations in the past.

Both Justin Morneau (tight left groin) and Nick Punto (tight lower back) are in the lineup after leaving Wednesday’s contest due to the injuries. Manager Ron Gardenhire said that both players were fine and that catcher Mike Redmond’s right forearm is still very sore so he’s unlikely to see any action tonight.

Jason Kubel is coming off the bench for the series opener as Delmon Young gets the start at DH. Gardenhire wanted to add one more right-hander in the lineup against the lefty French. So Kubel could provide a little pop off the bench late in the contest.

Here are tonight’s lineups:

Curtis Granderson, CF
Placido Polanco, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Marcus Thames, DH
Don Kelly, LF
Brandon Inge, 3B
Josh Anderson, RF
Gerald Laird, C
Ramon Santiago, SS
Pitching: Luke French, LHP

Denard Span, LF
Brendan Harris, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Joe Crede, 3B
Delmon Young, DH
Carlos Gomez, CF
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: Kevin Slowey, RHP


Here comes the Lefty Parade

There is something about the A’s and their ability to find left-handed pitchers, particularly starters.The Twins are currently in a stretch of facing five straight southpaws. They sawJarrod Washburn and Erik Bedard over the final two games in Seattle and now comes another trio of young Oakland lefties. Last year during the Twins long stretch of facing left-handed starters, the club saw a slew of lefties in Oakland. But now this is an entirely different group of lefties that the A’s have in their rotation, so the Twins will test their luck against some new arms they haven’t seen before.

Joe Crede is out of the lineup today with a sore left calf after he fouled a ball off it during Sunday’s contest in Seattle. Matt Tolbert gets the start at third base in his place.

With lefties batting .128 and righties batting .237 against A’s starter Josh Outman (could there be a better last name for a pitcher?), manager Ron Gardenhire said he opted against starting Jason Kubel. Instead, Delmon Young will be the designated hitter and the club will see what he can do in the series opener.

Also, the A’s had a roster move before the game. Outfielder Ryan Sweeney was placed on the disabled list with a sprained MCL in his left knee. Infielder Daric Barton was called up from Triple-A Sacramento.

Today’s Lineups:

Denard Span, LF
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Brendan Harris, SS
Delmon Young, DH
Carlos Gomez, CF
Matt Tolbert, 3B
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Pitching: Anthony Swarzak, RHP

Orlando Cabrera, SS
Adam Kennedy, 2B
Jack Cust, DH
Matt Holliday, LF
Jason Giambi, 1B
Kurt Suzuki, C
Aaron Cunningham, RF
Jack Hannahan, 3B
Rajai Davis, CF
Pitching: Josh Outman, LHP

Looks Like New

I spent my subway ride to the ballpark today talking to a Bronx resident about the new Yankee Stadium. Like so many of you, I’d heard about all the cushioned seats and fancy concessions at the new place.

For my fellow subway rider, the new Yankees Stadium was just a little much. He preferred the old park.

But after arriving at the 161st stop and making my way inside the $1.5 billion ballpark, it’s hard to argue with the new place. The Yankees certainly didn’t miss anything when it comes to the amenities. The players even have individual safes with their own combinations inside their lockers. Pretty fancy.

Now, it will come down to whether the Twins can play better in this new park than they did the last few years in the stadium across the street. The Twins were 3-19 at the old place since the start of the 2002 season, and their hope is that they can turn their luck around here.

As for baseball news —

The Twins placed outfielder Delmon Young on the family medical emergency list on Friday so that he could head to California to be with his ailing mother. Young will miss at least three games and could be gone for as many as seven days under the rules of the list. Manager Ron Gardenhire said he didn’t know how many days Young would miss. Called up in Young’s place was catcher Jose Morales from Triple-A Rochester. It gives the Twins three catchers for the time being.

Here are today’s lineups:

Denard Span, LF
Matt Tolbert, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Joe Crede, 3B
Carlos Gomez, CF
Nick Punto, SS
Pitching: Francisco Liriano, LHP

Derek Jeter, SS
Johnny Damon, LF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Hideki Matsui, DH
Nick Swisher, RF
Robinson Cano, 2B
Melky Cabrera, CF
Kevin Cash, C
Pitching: Phil Hughes, RHP

Opening Day Lineups….and a little NCAA action

For the first day of the season, it’s Delmon Young that’s the odd man out in the outfield. The starting lineup for Monday’s opener against the Mariners has Denard Span in left, Carlos Gomez in center and Michael Cuddyer in right. So Young will be on the bench tonight.

Again, it’s only the first day so I’m sure we’ll see plenty of shuffling over the next couple days when it comes to the outfield.

There is plenty of excitment here at the Dome for its final Opening Day, but I’ll admit that my heart is a little torn since my Michigan State Spartans are playing North Carolina in the National Championship game tonight. Don’t worry I’ll be keeping careful watch on the game here, but yes I will also try to sneak a peak to see how MSU is faring. Thanks to everyone who has sent me nice messages about the Spartans…here’s hoping to one more victory for them tonight.

All right, I’ll have more info here or on the site tonight about Opening Day. For now, here are the lineups.

Endy Chavez, LF
Franklin Gutierrez, CF
Mike Sweeney, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Ken Griffey Jr, RF
Jose Lopez, 2B
Russell Branyan, 1B
Kenji Johjima, C
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
Pitching: Felix Hernandez, RHP

Denard Span, LF
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, DH
Joe Crede, 3B
Carlos Gomez, CF
Mike Redmond, C
Nick Punto, SS
Pitching: Francisco Liriano, LHP

News and notes from Saturday

All right, now that my trip back from Tampa is complete — and I got some dinner — here are some of the other newsworthy things that happened on Saturday.

  • The Twins will use Monday’s off day as just that — an off day. Left-hander Francisco Liriano will come to the ballpark to throw a bullpen but otherwise there is no planned workout for the team. Manager Ron Gardenhire said that Joe Mauer might come in and catch Liriano’s bullpen, now that he’s advanced to doing that. But the team might also give him a day of rest since he’s been working out every day. The decision on whether Mauer will be the one to catch Liriano will be made by the trainers, Gardenhire said. The off day is one of four that is scheduled for the Twins during this prolonged Spring Training.
  • Any questions about whether the Twins might acquire reliever Juan Cruz were answered Saturday when he signed a two-year, $6 million deal with the Royals. The contract includes a $4 million club option for 2011 with a $500,000 buyout. Although many Twins fans were hopeful that the club would sign Cruz, the two sides just never seemed to find a fit and now the Twins will move forward with Jesse Crain, Luis Ayala, and Jose Mijares as their primary setup options.
  • One of the hottest hitters for the Twins early in spring has been outfielder Delmon Young. After a 3-for-3 performance on Saturday, Young is now batting .857 (6-for-7) this spring. Although some of Young’s hits in previous games weren’t necessary bullets, he showed more power in his three hits agianst the Yankees. And Young isn’t the only one delivering hits. Brian Buscher is now 6-for-8 this spring with 4 RBIs, Jason Kubel is 2-for-4 with a home run and Carlos Gomez even delivered a home run to left field on Saturday… “The guys are swinging good,” manager Ron Gardenhire said after the club’s 7-3 win over the Yankees. “Delmon is whacking the crap out of it; Kubel looks like he’s been hitting all winter long. There have been some really good at-bats and good swings. A lot of guys look like they’ve really got it going, and it’s early. Only six or eight more weeks of spring.”  (The last part was Gardy joking…there are only five weeks left of spring –which is still plenty of time)
  • Quote of Day: Gardenhire on Nick Punto playing for Team Italy “I think he grew up in Little Italy in California. That’s why I thought I had a shot to manage the Canadian team, because I live in Little Canada.”

(And for those of you who didn’t learn why Punto is playing for the Italian team — his grandparents are from Italy)

Sunny Sarasota

Greetings from Ed Smith Stadium where the Reds are hosting their final Spring Training opener in this ballpark. Cincinnati is moving its Spring Training to Goodyear, Ariz. next year and one sign of their impending departure was the “less than full” crowd on hand for Thursday’s opener.

Here are the lineups for today’s contest

Denard Span, LF
Carlos Gomez, CF
Brendan Harris, 3B
Brian Buscher, 1B
Luis Matos, RF
Dustin Martin, DH
Matt Tolbert, 2B
Jose Morales, C
Trevor Plouffe, SS
Pitching: Nick Blackburn

Willy Taveras, CF
Jerry Hairston Jr., SS
Joey Votto, 1B
Brandon Phillips, 2B
Jay Bruce, RF
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
Laynce Nix, LF
Ramon Hernandez, C
Jeff Keppinger, DH
Pitching: Micah Owings

Here is some other news and nuggets:

  • Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Thursday that the club will continue to take it slow with infielder Steve Tolleson (strained oblique). Although Tolleson has reported that the muscle is feeling better, the skipper doesn’t want to take any chances. “We are trying to tell him to calm down,” Gardenhire said. “They said three days and go from there. But I think we all know with the oblique, it’s like a 10-day or two-week thing if you’re lucky. It can go further if you bother it again. So I don’t want him to do too much right now.”  

  • Gardenhire also said that he’ll use the upcoming games to make sure all of his World Baseball Classic participants get in their work. Justin Morneau and Nick Punto each started on Wednesday night while Joe Nathan, Jesse Crain and Luis Ayala all threw out of the ‘pen. Infielder Luke Hughes, who will play for Australia in the event, was expected to see time at third base in Thursday’s game against the Reds.

  • Wayne “Big Fella” Hattaway celebrated his 69th birthday on Tuesday. Hattaway, a longtime clubhouse attendant in the organization, is considered now to be the Twins’ director of team morale and he’s beloved by all of the players. That’s why it was no surprise that Hattaway got a few special visitors to the clubhouse on Tuesday to give him birthday wishes in person — former Twins pitchers Brad Radke and Johan Santana. 

  • The MLB Network has announced that it will air a 96-minute documentary called “We Are Young: A Baseball Family” on Monday night at 8 p.m. CT. It focuses on Twins outfielder Delmon Young and his older borther, Dmitri, over a seven-year period. The documentary covers everything from the influence of their father, Larry, on their careers to Dmitri Young’s battle with diabetes and Delmon’s suspension for flipping a bat at an umpire.

  • The Twins Triple-A affiliate, the Rochester Red Wings, announced that the club will be filmed as part of a 13-episode reality show for PBS. The show will be filmed during the 2009 season but won’t be broadcast until 2010. Cameras will be allowed access to most areas of the Minor Leaguers life. The one exception is that cameras will not be allowed on long bus ride. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle had a nice article on the show.

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.