Tagged: Joe Nathan

Nathan on Twins latest moves

Closer Joe Nathan was one of the Twins who was outspoken last month, expressing his desire for the club’s front office to make a move prior to the July 31 Trade Deadline.

Nathan and the rest of the team saw that happen when the Twins completed a trade with the A’s for shortstop Orlando Cabrera.

But that wasn’t it for the Twins. Instead there has been a flurry of moves recently by Twins GM Bill Smith, at a time when the team is pushing to get back in the AL Central race.

In addition to acquiring pitcher Carl Pavano earlier this month, the Twins bolstered their bullpen on Friday by adding two veteran relievers — right-hander Jon Rauch and left-hander Ron Mahay.

The club officially announced that it had acquired Rauch from the D-backs in exchange for a player to be named later. A Major League source confirmed that the Twins will announce on Saturday that they had signed Mahay, who was released by the Royals earlier this week.

For Nathan, it’s a sign that the front office is doing the same thing as the players — trying to do all it can to help the Twins’ postseason chances.

“I think the one thing that we always talked about was that we want everybody to fight and be on the same page and want this team to do well like we all do,” Nathan said after the Twins’ 3-2 win over Texas that moved them solely into second place, 4 1/2 games back of Detroit. “We come here every day and battle our butt off and work as hard as we can to get to that postseason. Obviously when you make it there, anything can happen.

“Seeing Bill make these moves and bring in some guys that he thinks can help us out is nice to see. We’ve got a couple guys coming here that have put up some good numbers. Hopefully they’ll come in and become a good fit in our clubhouse…We hope these two guys come here and are excited about the opportunity to play on a team that’s going to be playing for something in September.”

Waiting on a deal

After a week off, I’m back on the beat and it’s a busy day to return thanks to today being the deadline for teams to sign their 2009 Draft picks.

The Twins continue to have negotiations with their first-round pick, right-hander Kyle Gibson. Scouting director Deron Johnson has remained optimistic that a deal will get done, although indications today were that it would likely go down to the wire with the deadline coming at 11:01 p.m. CT.

Brian Duensing will start Thursday’s contest in Texas, manager Ron Gardenhire said today. That means Anthony Swarzak is moving to the bullpen, although he likely won’t be available to pitch in relief until Tuesday after throwing 80-some pitches in his start against Cleveland on Saturday.

Joe Nathan said his right knee is fine after he took a line drive off his kneecap in Sunday’s contest. So the Twins All-Star closer is good to go out of the ‘pen tonight.

Orlando Cabrera is getting a day off today. Gardenhire said that Cabrera told some of the coaching staff that he was a little worn out so they felt this was a good game to give him a rest. Brendan Harris gets the start at shortstop in Cabrera’s place and will be batting second in the lineup as well.

Here are today’s lineups:

Twins (56-61)
3rd place in AL Central, 6 games back

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: LHP Francisco Liriano (5-11, 5.39)

Rangers (66-50)
2nd place in AL West, 4.5 games back (leading AL Wild Card by 1/2 game)

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Michael Young, 3B
Josh Hamilton, RF
Marlon Byrd, CF
David Murphy, LF
Andruw Jones, DH
Hank Blalock, 1B
Kevin Richardson, C
Elvis Andrus, SS
Pitching: RHP Tommy Hunter (5-2, 2.26)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

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

Time changes and other morning updates

The Twins are scheduled to take on the Netherlands today at Hammond Stadium in a 2:05 p.m. ET start, which is an hour later than normal Spring Training day games. The players seemed as confused as anyone by the time change. Baseball is a sport that’s based upon habit and although today’s game just meant pushing back everything an hour, it seemed to get most of the players out of their usual routines.

As for news this morning, we talked to Nick Blackburn about his sore left knee. He said that he woke up on Friday morning, the day after his start in Sarasota, and noticed his knee was swollen. Doctors told Blackburn that might happen due to the arthroscopic surgery he had on the knee this offseason. Blackburn said this was the first time he’s experienced the swelling since the surgery, but doesn’t expect it to be a long-term thing…”I don’t see this going into the season,” he said.
UPDATE: Blackburn threw a seven-minute bullpen on Thursday morning and felt nothing. The plan is to have him throw another bullpen in two days to test the knee.

Joe Mauer reported that he expected to have small setbacks like the one he experienced the other day as he makes his comeback from kidney surgery. “You have to try out and see where you are at,” Mauer said.

Closer Joe Nathan is scheduled to throw to live hitters during batting practice this morning. If he doesn’t feel any soreness in his shoulder, then he likely will return to game action this weekend.
UPDATE: Nathan threw 28 pitches during his live batting practice session and said afterward that he hasn’t “felt like that in four years. That’s about as good as I’ve felt in a long time.” In total, Nathan threw around 40-50 pitches with his side work before the session. The plan now is to have the closer pitch in Sunday’s contest at Fort Lauderdale against the Orioles.

All right, here are your lineups today. The Netherlands starting pitcher is right-hander Tom Stiufbergen, a Twins prospect who missed the entire 2008 season as he recovered from right shoulder surgery. Another familiar face to Twins fans will also be in the dugout for the Netherlands. Bert Blyleven is the pitching coach for the team.


Carlos Gomez, CF
Alejandro Machado, 2B
Joe Crede, 3B
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Mike Redmond, C
Brock Peterson, 1B
Jason Pridie, LF
Matt Tolbert, SS
Pitching: Kevin Slowey

The Netherlands
Gene Kingsdale, RF
Sharlon Schoop, 2B
Randall Simon, 1B
Greg Halman, CF
Yurendell de Caster, 3B
Sharnol Adriana, DH
Bryan Engelhardt, LF
Kenley Jansen, C
Hainley Statia, SS
Pitching: Tom Stuifbergen

Nathan throws bullpen session without any pain

Twins closer Joe Nathan threw a bullpen session on Tuesday and reported afterward that his right shoulder felt great.

Nathan had been expected to pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic but pulled out of the event on Sunday due to soreness in the AC joint – where the clavicle meets the acromion process of the scapula at the top of the shoulder.

The plan now is to have Nathan throw to live batting practice on Thursday and to possibly pitch in the Twins’ Grapefruit League contest against the Pirates on Saturday.

Welcome to Minnesota, Joe Crede

It sure didn’t take long for the Twins new third baseman to get a little taste of Minnesota nice.

While Crede was standing alongside the batting cage on one of the fields at the Lee County Sports Complex on Sunday morning and waiting to take his first round of batting practice as a Twin, a fan sitting in the stands yelled out, “Welcome to Minnesota, Joe Crede.” And Crede responded with a wave of his bat and a head nod in the man’s direction.

Crede looked good during his first workout with the club. Many people commented on what a “big” guy Crede is, a statement based upon the third baseman’s athletic-build stature. He certainly looks like a ballplayer and if you didn’t know that he’d had back issues, you wouldn’t have been able to tell by Sunday’s workout.

I spent quite a bit of time around Crede while I was an MLB.com intern in Chicago during the ’05 season (yes, Twins fans, I spent a year writing about the White Sox — although I did spend time reporting on the Cubs and Brewers that season too). He’s a quiet and humble guy from Missouri who possesses a very strong work ethic. If there was a player who fits perfectly into the Twins clubhouse, it’s Crede. By watching Crede joke around with Justin Morneau during their BP
session and fist pumping with pitcher Joe Nathan, it’s easy to see that
he’ll mix right in with the group.

As for my initial thoughts on the move, it appears to be a great nab for the Twins. Considering that the Twins paid $6.6 million to Mike Lamb for 81 games last season, the $2.5 million guaranteed to Crede seems like a very low risk. Crede has shown to make some spectacular plays at third. And if he can stay healthy and produce a similar season to the one he had in 2006 when he recorded 30 homers and 94 RBIs, Crede would be well worth the $7 million he could earn.

Other news from the day:

  • I watched Corey Koskie take batting practice on one of the back fields of the Twins’ complex on Sunday. Koskie certainly has come a long way in his recovery and it appears he’s reached another big step — making Team Canada for this year’s World Baseball Classic. Although he wasn’t on Canada’s provisional roster, Koskie will join the team when camp opens on March 2 at the Blue Jays facility in Dunedin, Fla.

  • Gardenhire said he hasn’t yet considered how he might structure the lineup now with the addition of Crede. There seems to be a number of ways he could slot Crede into that group — and it would be interesting to hear all of your thoughts on what the Twins batting order might look like for Opening Day.

Restaurant of the Day: Patinella’s Chicken Grill.   Okay so this isn’t your typical sitdown restaurant (more like healthy fast food) but it’s one of the favorites of the Twins beat writers and also the team’s players and coaches. Located in the Plantation Shoppes, just down the street from the ballpark, it features a number of chicken and rice and gyro dishes. The #3 with yellow rice is one of my favorites. I would label this a must-visit place for anyone visiting Fort Myers.

Pitchers and Catchers Day 2 — Tale of Inspiration

Spring Training is a time for new beginnings and one of the most inspiring stories of this spring is taking place on the back fields of the Lee County Sports Complex.

Former Twins third baseman Corey Koskie is working out there, with the Twins permission, as he tries to make Team Canada for next month’s World Baseball Classic.

Koskie, 35, hasn’t played in a Major League game since July 5, 2006 when, as the Brewers third baseman, he suffered a concussion that left him with dizziness and headaches that would not go away. After two-plus seasons out of baseball, Koskie hopes that the Classic could be a showcase for him and might lead to him getting another shot in the big leagues.

The fact that Koskie is even back on a baseball field is inspiring to anyone that watched him go through his rough ordeal — when he couldn’t drive at times or even play with his kids. One person that is particularly encouraged by Koskie’s latest step is Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.

“He’s one of the all-time favorites,” Gardenhire said. “It’s nice to see him back on the field. He’s been going through a lot. That’s the big thing with Koskie. It’s actually good to see him not bouncing off the walls when he’s walking down the hallway because he’s dizzy.”

It was a little bit of a busy day so I didn’t get to watch much of the pitchers fielding work today. Most of the position players have already arrived (some new faces on Tuesday were Matt Tolbert, Trevor Plouffe and Deibinson Romero). While the pitchers worked out, the position guys spent the morning doing some work on the back fields of the complex. I think I’ve counted seven players who I haven’t seen in the clubhouse yet: Denard Span, Delmon Young, Jason Pridie, Dustin Martin, Danny Valencia, David Winfree and Alejandro Machado. Position players must report by Friday so it’s likely we’ll see more of these players starting to arrive in the next few days.

Here are a few other things that were noteworthy on Day 2 of camp:

  • Twins general manager Bill Smith said that the club expects to finalize Luis Ayala’s contract soon, possibly as early as Wednesday. The final medical report on Ayala is expected at that time. When the signing is completed, the Twins will have to create a spot on the 40-man roster for him. It’s still unclear which player might be outrighted or released to make room for the pitcher.

  • When answering the questions about players taking part in the World Baseball Classic, Gardenhire joked that he’s most concerned about his players facing each other in the event. Closer Joe Nathan could pitch to first baseman Justin Morneau when Team USA plays Team Canada in the opening round in Toronto. And they’ve already kidded about what might happen at that point. “My guys are talking about buzzing each other now,” Gardenhire said while shaking his head.