By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins bullpen was dealt a blow on Friday when an MRI on Jose Mijares’ right knee revealed a torn meniscus and he’ll have to undergo surgery that will keep him out for about four weeks.
That’s still enough time for Mijares to possibly rejoin the team for the end of the season, but it will all depend on how long it takes for the left-hander to recover.Mijares suffered the injury while running to cover first base in the eighth inning of Wednesday’s 6-1 loss to the White Sox in Chicago.
Manager Ron Gardenhire said that without Mijares the club will rely more on left-hander Ron Mahay in a larger role. Glen Perkins will also give the Twins another lefty in the ‘pen in a couple days since he needed some rest after making a spot start for the club on Wednesday. But since Perkins has started all season, it will likely take him some time before he’s able to pitch on back-to-back days.
The Twins will likely explore the trade market to see if they can find any left-handed relief help. Players must first clear waivers before they can be traded or teams can work out deals with another team if they win a waiver claim on a player.
As for Justin Morneau, there is still no timetable for the first baseman’s return. Morneau, who has been working out most days at Target Field, continues to experience some symptoms from the concussion he suffered on July 7 and he has yet to go through a full day symptom-free. That’s something that must occur for multiple days before Morneau can be sent out on a Minor League rehab assignment.
Manager Ron Gardenhire said that the club will take things slowly and make sure that Morneau doesn’t try to rush back and risk suffering more setbacks.
The Twins workout got off to a later start than usual this morning due to the team’s annual Photo Day. Although it’s been chilly and windy for many of the workout days, the Twins got a break on Monday with a warmer, sunny day. A fitting time for the weather to improve considering how many pictures had to be taken.
Here are some notes from the day:
— Jose Morales had the cast removed from his surgically repaired right wrist on Monday. He’s now set to start working on getting the strength and flexibility back in his wrist. It will be two weeks before the switch-hitter will be allowed to swing from the right side and four weeks before he will swing from the left side. So it looks like Morales will still be pushing to be ready in time for Opening Day.
— Manager Ron Gardenhire passed along Boston’s pitching lineup for the three games the two clubs will play against each other this week. So here are the matchups:
Thursday: Nick Blackburn/Kevin Slowey vs. Josh Beckett
Friday: Carl Pavano vs. Jon Lester
Saturday: Francisco Liriano vs. John Lackey
Also I wanted to pass along a funny exchange with Jose Mijares, who was struck by a line drive off Jason Kubel’s bat while throwing live batting practice on Sunday.
I walked over to Mijares’ locker in the clubhouse today and before I could even get there, Mijares pointed to his arm and gave me a big thumbs up. The left-hander then said that his arm is a little sore but he’ll be OK. He plans to throw live batting practice on Tuesday.
Mijares didn’t use a screen to pitch behind on Sunday. But when I asked him if he’ll use one on Tuesday, his answer was emphatic.
“Yeah, a BIG one,” he said.
By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. –Left-hander Jose Mijares was not in camp on Monday for the first workout for Twins pitchers and catchers due to an unexpected issue.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that he hopes that Mijares will be able to fly from his home in Venezuela to Fort Myers, Fla.on Tuesday.
Mijares also missed TwinsFest last month after missing his visa appointment and the Twins are disappointed that he’s making this a continual problem.
“He’s got to be a little more accountable,” Gardenhire said.
The mandatory MLB reporting date is not until March 2 so the team cannot fine Mijares for his absence. But the left-hander missed his scheduled bullpen session on Monday and every day that he’s absent from camp will put him a little further behind some of the other pitchers.
The Twins are also curious to see what shape Mijares is in because the pitcher did not participate in winter ball in Venezuela this offseason. Last Spring Training, the Twins were upset with Mijares because he reported to camp having put on a few pounds and he was out of shape. Their hope is that will not be the case again this year.
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
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:
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)
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
Some disappointing news today for the Twins bullpen with the club placing Jesse Crain on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.
That means that Crain will be out until at least Sunday, May 3. From everyone I’ve talked to it doesn’t sound like this is a big concern. It seems like during Crain’s outing on Friday, he started feeling a little something in his shoulder. My guess is that based on the amount of work the bullpen has gotten lately, the club didn’t want to go a few extra days short an arm. So they decided to be extra cautious and put Crain on the DL to call up left-hander Jose Mijares.
All of the reports lately on Mijares have been positive. It will be interesting to see if he can come up and duplicate the success he had last September. If so, that could be a big boost to this bullpen that’s been having a hard go of it so far this season.
As for me, I’m not making the trip to Boston so I’ll be off for the next few days. That means the blog will be quiet until Friday when I’m in Cleveland for the start of the three-game series with the Indians.
Over my few days off, I’m planning to work on another edition of the Inbox. Because it’s been a little time since the last one, I could use some new questions. So please log into your email and shoot me a few questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Any help from you guys would be greatly appreciated.
NOTE: Also, just to let everyone know that I’ll be doing a short segment on the Twins Radio Network every Tuesday when the Twins are on the road. The first one will run tomorrow night during the pre-game show.
Jose Morales will start the season as the Twins backup catcher, the team informed him on
Morales beat out Drew Butera to be the backup to Mike Redmond, who will be the starting catcher while Joe Mauer is out with his sore back. Butera had appeared to have the edge a couple of weeks ago as he’s the stronger catcher defensively, but Morales showed a lot of improvement behind the plate recently and that combined with his stronger bat helped to earn him the nod.
Butera was one of three cuts the Twins made on Tuesday. The club optioned Butera and left-hander Jose Mijares to Triple-A Rochester and reassigned infielder Alejandro Machado to Minor League camp.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Monday that the team expected to have their bullpen set following this set of cuts, but Mijares was the only pitcher cut. The expectation is that the Twins will break camp with 12 pitchers so that would leave three pitchers battling for two relief spots. Philip Humber, R.A. Dickey and Brian Duensing are in the mix for the long relief role and one other opening in the bullpen.
The club also still has three infielders competing for two utility spots. That race is expected to go down to the final day of camp.
The Twins also informed catcher Jeff Christy that he’ll stay with the Major League club through Saturday but will then be reassigned to Minor League camp.
That leaves the Twins with 30 players in camp, although that includes Christy along with Mauer and Boof Bonser, who are both expected to be placed on the disabled list for the start of the season. So technically the Twins have to make two more cuts to get down to their Opening Day 25-man roster.
Denard Span, CF
Matt Tolbert, SS
Brendan Harris, 2B
Jason Kubel, LF
Brian Buscher, 3B
Mike Redmond, C
Matt Moses, DH
Brock Peterson, 1B
Chris Parmelee, RF
Pitching: Nick Blackburn, RHP
Nyjer Morgan, LF
Freddy Sanchez, 2B
Nate McLouth, CF
Eric Hinske, DH
Adam LaRoche, 1B
Brandon Moss, RF
Ramon Vazquez, 3B
Jack Wilson, SS
Jason Jaramillo, C
Pitching: Jeff Karstens, RHP
UPDATE: Justin Morneau was scratched from an early lineup due to some stiffness in his back that he felt while swinging earlier today. It doesn’t seem serious, just something that the Twins decided not to take a chance with.
Greetings from the pressbox at Hammond Stadium. It’s a beautiful Saturday morning here in Fort Myers (something that’s a little easier to say knowing that it’s going to be near 50 degrees in the Twin Cities today).
Jose Mijares is set to return to the mound today for the first time since he tweaked his ankle in last Saturday’s contest against the Pirates. The left-hander has been hampered by a sore groin muscle as well but he’s feeling better and ready to pitch again.
The swelling in Nick Punto’s right elbow has decreased but just to the point where he might take some light swings today. Punto is hoping to make Sunday’s trip to Tampa to play the Yankees but that will depend on how his elbow is doing. With three weeks left of Spring Training, there is no need to rush the shortstop.
Philip Humber has been slotted to get the start on Monday since Nick Blackburn will back up Glen Perkins on Sunday.
Also, if there are any updates later on Joe Mauer’s exam in Baltimore today I will let you know. For now, here are the lineups.
Carlos Gomez, CF
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Joe Crede, DH
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Delmon Young, LF
Brendan Harris, 3B
Drew Butera, C
Matt Tolbert, SS
Pitching: Kevin Slowey, RHP
Emilio Bonifacio, 3B
Robert Andino, SS
Hanley Ramirez, DH
Dallas McPherson, 1B
Dan Uggla, 2B
Jeremy Hermida, LF
Brett Carroll, RF
Alejandro De Aza, CF
Brett Hayes, C
Pitching: Andrew Miller, LHP