Tagged: Joe Mauer

Mauer and Hardy connection

One of the reasons that J.J. Hardy was excited about joining the Twins was that it gave him the opportunity to once again be teammates with catcher Joe Mauer.
The two first met when they were both around 15 years old and playing for the U.S.A. Junior National team. They would play on many of the same national teams over the next few years, and were even roommates back in 2000 when the junior national team took the silver medal in Edmonton, Canada.

Hardy said the two have stayed in contact, although not much over the phone as he joked that Mauer has changed his phone number a few times in recent years. But during the two series between the Twins and Brewers every year, the two took some time to catch up.

Now Hardy is looking forward to hitting in the same lineup as Mauer once again.

“I’ve actually hit in front of Joe Mauer before on a couple of the USA teams that we played on together when we were 15, 16 years old,” Hardy said. “It worked out well for me back then.”

The Twins’ plans are to work this winter on signing Mauer to a contract extension. Hardy certainly supports the idea of having the catcher around for the foreseeable future.

“I know they’re already working on it, and I’m excited about that,” Hardy said early on Friday afternoon in an interview with MLB.com “I really like him. We clicked right from the start.”

Twins 2009 Diamond Award Winners

The Twins announced the recipients of the 2009 Diamond Awards, which are voted upon by the Twin Cities Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Here are the winners:

  • Calvin R. Griffith Most Valuable Twin — Joe Mauer
  • Joseph W. Haynes Pitcher of the Year — Joe Nathan
  • Charles O. Johnson Most Improved Twin — Michael Cuddyer
  • Bill Boni Outstanding Rookie of the Year — Jose Mijares
  • Dick Siebert Upper Midwest Player of the Year — Mauer
  • Mike Augustin Media Good Guy Award — Denard Span
  • Bob Allison Leadership Award — Cuddyer

The Twins also select a few winners of their own, here they are:

  • Carl R. Pohlad Award for Community Service — Justin Morneau
  • Kirby Puckett Award for Alumni Community Service — Rod Carew
  • Sherry Robertson Award for Minor League Player of the Year — Ben Revere
  • Jim Rantz Award for Minor League Pitcher of the Year — David Bromberg

The awards will be given out at the Fifth Annual Diamond Awards Dinner, which will take place on Jan. 28, 2010, at the Hilton Minneapolis. The event will benefit brain, nerve and muscle disorders research at the University of Minnesota

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

Twins at Blue Jays on Tuesday: Mauer gets a day off and Crede activated

Joe Mauer is not in the lineup tonight against the Blue Jays. Manager Ron Gardenhire had planned to try to give Mauer, who went 3-for-5 in Monday’s win, a complete day off at some point on this roadtrip and he felt this was the best time. Gardenhire also said that he plans to give Mauer a DH day on Wednesday to give him a couple days of rest with so many long stretches of games coming up for the club.

Mauer is available to pinch hit tonight if needed. And with off days in
each of the next two weeks, Gardenhire said he hopes that this is the last game
Mauer won’t start this season.

Early in the day, there was a little lineup mixup. Originally we were told that Michael Cuddyer was the DH and Jason Kubel was playing right field. But Gardenhire was flip-flopping players to take Mauer’s spot in the lineup and forgot to switch the position numbers as well. So Cuddyer is actually in right field and Kubel is the DH, while also filling in for Mauer in the No. 3 hole.

The Twins activated Crede from the DL on Tuesday. Everything went well for Crede in the simulated game against Francisco Liriano — he saw about 10-15 pitches from the lefty– and the third baseman will be available off the bench tonight for the Twins.

Liriano also did well in the game as he threw 42 pitches. Gardenhire said the pitcher’s fastball was jumping. The plan is to activate Liriano on Wednesday and he will likely be available out of the bullpen for Thursday’s contest against the Blue Jays.

And for those of you interested, first base coach Jerry White did get a hit off Liriano in the simulated game. In the last at-bat of the contest, White blooped a single into the left field gap and all of the players gathered behind the batting cage greeted him with many high-fives.

“I think [Liriano] tried to sneak a fastball by him,” Gardenhire said with a laugh. 

Also a note, Gardenhire and his wife, Carol, who is on the trip to Toronto, are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary today. So here is a congratulations to both of them and a happy anniversary!

Here are today’s lineups:

Twins (69-68)
2nd place in AL Central, 6.5 games back

Denard Span, CF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Jason Kubel, DH
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Brendan Harris, 3B
Delmon Young, LF
Mike Redmond, C
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: LHP Brian Duensing (2-1, 3.81)

Blue Jays (61-76)
4th place in AL East, 27 games back

Marco Scutaro, SS
Jose Bautista, RF
Adam Lind, LF
Vernon Wells, CF
Randy Ruiz, DH
Kevin Millar, 1B
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
Raul Chavez, C
John McDonald, 2B

Pitching: LHP Rickey Romero (11-7, 4.15)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Morneau headed back to Twin Cities

By Kelly Thesier

ARLINGTON — Twins first baseman Justin Morneau left the team today, as he’s headed back to the Twin Cities to see an ear, nose and throat specialist.

Morneau has been bothered by the effects of an inner-ear infection since the team returned from a roadtrip in Detroit. He has not played since Monday due to bouts of dizziness and feeling light-headed over the last few days.

“At times I start to feel better and then it comes back again,” Morneau said.

He was given new medication by the Rangers doctors on Tuesday, but the first baseman did not see any real improvement. So the decision was made to have him go back to Minnesota and see more doctors.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is hopeful that Morneau can join the team this
weekend in Kansas City. But the team has seen how long the effects of an inner-ear infection can linger, as Denard Span battled his symptoms for over a month and required a stint on the disabled list. So there is still a possibility that Morneau could also wind up on the DL.

Morneau seemed frustrated by the whole thing, particularly that it’s come at a time when the team is fighting to stay in the playoff hunt.

With Morneau still out, Michael Cuddyer is at first base for the third straight day. Joe Mauer, who got beat up a little behind the plate and fouled a ball off his foot, is getting a DH day with Mike Redmond behind the plate as they face left-hander Derek Holland.

Also, the name of Jose Mijares’ son is Javier Alejandro Mijares. He was born on Aug. 17 in Venezuela.

Here are today’s lineups:

Twins (57-62)
3rd place in AL Central, 6.5 games back

Denard Span, RF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, DH
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Joe Crede, 3B
Delmon Young, LF
Mike Redmond, C
Carlos Gomez, CF
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: RHP Anthony Swarzak (3-6, 5.87)

Rangers (67-52)
2nd place in AL West, 6.5 games back (one game back in AL Wild Card)

Julio Borbon, DH
Michael Young, 3B
Josh Hamilton, RF
Marlon Byrd, CF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Nelson Cruz, RF
Hank Blalock, 1B
Taylor Teagarden, C
Elvis Andrus, SS
Pitching: LHP Derek Holland (6-7, 4.88)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Kubel in, Morneau still out

Jason Kubel still had a sleeve on his left knee Wednesday afternoon, but he told manager Ron Gardenhire that he was good enough to play. So Kubel is back in the lineup as the DH.

Carlos Gomez’s hand is also still a little sore after getting hit with a pitch (or not according to the umpires last night), although he said the wrapping around his wrist helped to prevent it from being worse.

Justin Morneau on the other hand is still feeling the lingering effects of his inner ear infection. While doctors have told him that the infection has cleared up, he is still being affected by dizzy spells and feeling lightheaded. It’s as if things are “in slow motion” at times, he said. The hope is that new medication will help Morneau to feel better.

Gardnehire said he’s going to be patient with Morneau and hope that he’s better perhaps tomorrow. It seems that neither Morneau nor Gardenhire want to see the first baseman wind up on the disabled list, so they’ll wait a couple days to see how Morneau is feeling.

Of course there was more talk about Mauer’s incredible run of late, I’ll have more on that later. But here is one impressive note to leave you with — according to the Elais Sports Bureau, Mauer is one of five American League players to have at least 25 home runs and a .380 batting average this late in the season. The others were Ted Williams (1941 and 1957), Joe DiMaggio (1939), Lou Gehrig (1930 and 1936) and Babe Ruth (1931).

Yeah, that’s pretty good company.

Here are today’s lineups:

Twins (57-62)
3rd place in AL Central, 6.5 games back

Denard Span, RF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Joe Crede, 3B
Delmon Young, LF
Carlos Gomez, CF
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: RHP Scott Baker (10-7, 4.54)

Rangers (67-51)
2nd place in AL West, 5.5 games back (tied for AL Wild Card lead)

Julio Borbon, DH
Michael Young, 3B
Josh Hamilton, RF
Marlon Byrd, CF
David Murphy, LF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Hank Blalock, 1B
Ivan Rodriguez, C
Elvis Andrus, SS
Pitching: RHP Kevin Millwood (9-7, 3.31)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Mauer gets a day off

Relax everyone, nothing is wrong with Joe Mauer. The time had just come when manager Ron Gardenhire felt that his catcher needed a breather and after Mauer went 0-for-6 for the first time in his career last night while catching 12 innings vs. the Rangers, today seemed like the perfect time.

I’ll have more on Mauer’s recent slowdown at the plate in a story a little later. But for all the emails I’ve been getting blaming the Home Run Derby for Mauer’s recent slump, here’s the reality — it goes back further than the All-Star Break.

So everyone just take a step back. Forget about all the concern surrounding the All-Star catcher and realize he’s still hitting .358 (yes, that’s impressive.)

News today….Kevin Slowey (strained right wrist) threw a bullpen session and felt good. He’ll throw another bullpen on Wednesday before flying to join Triple-A Rochester. Slowey will start for Rochester on Saturday and then a decision will be made on whether he needs a second start before rejoining the ballclub.

Joe Crede (mild strain of the AC joint in his right shoulder) is still sore, but the doctors expect the anti-inflammatory medication to help get rid of the soreness in a couple days. At that time Crede should be ready to get back in the lineup.

The Twins are facing left-hander Gio Gonzalez for the first time tonight. Left-handers have done much better against Gonzalez than right-handers (.455 vs. .316). So Gardenhire said he wanted to make sure to keep Jason Kubel in the lineup.

Twins (47-45)
3nd place in AL Central, 2.0 games back

Denard Span, LF
Nick Punto, SS
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Jason Kubel, DH
Delmon Young, DH
Brendan Harris, 3B
Mike Redmond, C
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Pitching: RHP Nick Blackburn (8-4, 3.06)

A’s (38-51)
4th place in AL West, 14 games back

Adam Kennedy, 3B
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Scott Hairston, CF
Matt Holiday, LF
Jack Cust, DH
Kurt Suzuki, C
Daric Barton, 1B
Ryan Sweeney, RF
Mark Ellis, 2B
Pitching: LHP Gio Gonzalez (1-2, 6.29)

Mauer to take part in HR Derby

Twins All-Star catcher Joe Mauer has officially accepted an invitation to compete in the Home Run Derby on Monday night at Busch Stadium.

Mauer will be pitched to by his high school baseball coach — Jim O’Neill of Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul.

The catcher, who has already hit a career-high 15 home runs this season, will be the Twins’ lone representative in the event.

Justin Morneau, the defending champion of the Derby, declined an earlier invitation to take part in this year’s event. But Morneau said that he would be there, with one of the best seats in the house, rooting Mauer on if the catcher decided to take part in the event.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire also was supportive of Mauer potentially taking part in the event. He said recently that he thought Mauer, who isn’t exactly known for his home run power, would excel in the event.

“Joe, in the home run hitting contest? He’d probably win it,” Gardenhire said. “You know it and I know it. Just to let
people know he can hit home runs. Nothing would surprise me that Joe

All-Star Selection Sunday

I am currently watching the All-Star Selection Show on TBS as this year’s All-Stars are announced. I’ll have more updates once the show is over…

UPDATE: As expected, Joe Mauer will be the starting catcher for the AL in this year’s contest. Joe Nathan and Justin Morneau were chosen as reserves via the players’ ballot.

During his pre-game session, manager Ron Gardenhire indicated that the Twins starting rotation could be shuffled following Monday’s off day. Right now Scott Baker, Glen Perkins and Anthony Swarzak are in line to pitch against the Yankees but that could be adjusted. I’ll let you know when we find out if it changes.

Mike Redmond was going to try to throw and swing the bat on Sunday morning. Gardenhire said that Redmond wouldn’t have been able to throw from behind the plate if needed on Saturday. The hope is that he’ll be ready to play by Tuesday or the skipper indicated the club might have to think about a roster move.

One roster move that likely won’t happen in the very near future is an increase to 12 pitchers. Gardenhire said there is no one at Triple-A Rochester that’s quite ready to help the club so for now, they’ll stick with their 11-man staff. As for the pitchers who are throwing the best at Rochester, Gardenhire mentioned right-handers Juan Morillo and Rob Delaney.

The Twins also announced Sunday that they had signed left-hander Matthew Bashore, their compensation round pick in this June’s Draft. Bashore was selected No. 46 overall out of Indiana University and will report to rookie league Elizabethon.

Here are the lineups for Sunday’s series finale.

Curtis Granderson, CF
Ramon Santiago, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Don Kelly, LF
Brandon Inge, 3B
Magglio Ordonez, DH
Josh Anderson, RF
Gerald Laird, C
Adam Everett, SS
Pitching: Rick Porcello, RHP

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

Best 1,2 Punch in Baseball?

According to Tigers manager Jim Leyland, that would be the Twins’ M&M Boys –Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.

Leyland was asked on Saturday about his decision to have Joel Zumaya walk the two hitters back-to-back with two outs in the 11th inning of what eventually was an 11-9 win in 16 innings for Detroit.

“I think
it’s the best 1-2 tandem in baseball. I believe that, I really do,” Leyland said of Mauer and Morneau. “They’re so good, and they’re so professional and they’re so smart. They
know what to do, and they never panic. And I said I’m just not going to
let them beat me.

“If we get beat, we get beat, but I’m not going to let
them beat me. And I’m not going to do it the rest of the year, if I can
help it. They’re just too good.”

While Zumaya’s control had not been the best of late, Leyland said he was willing to take the risk of the next batter, Michael Cuddyer, drawing a bases-loaded walk rather than seeing either Mauer or Morneau come up with the winning hit.
“I have as
much respect for those two guys during the course of the game,” Leyland said. “They
remind me a little bit, and Gene Lamont talked a lot about them, of
[Craig] Biggio and [Jeff] Bagwell. The tandem of those guys and how professional they
were, they set the tone for the whole team the way they go about their
business with dignity, the way they work

“Obviously, they’re talented.
They’re special. I can’t think of a better 1-2 punch in baseball. One
guy’s going to put the ball in play all the time for sure, and get
hits. And the other guy, you might strike him out once in a while, but
he’s a big-time RBI guy. This team, to me, has never really gotten the
credit. Somehow they seem to get lost in media attention for whatever