It became clear early in the offseason that the Twins were going to let Mike Redmond leave via free agency with Jose Morales appearing ready to take over the backup catcher role.
On Friday, Redmond, 38, officially became an ex-Twin when he signed a one-year deal with the Indians for the 2010 season. The terms of the deal were not known.
Redmond will be the veteran backup to Indians catcher Lou Marson, and he’ll provide some experience to what will be a young ballclub in Cleveland.
The Twins will miss Redmond mostly for the leadership and personality that he brought to the clubhouse. He played the role of mentor to Joe Mauer when he first arrived in Minnesota and over his five years there, he helped many of the young pitchers in the rotation to develop.
While the Twins knew that Redmond would likely have to go elsewhere to continue playing, many of his Twins teammates agreed that his presence within the clubhouse will be missed.
“It will be hard not to see him in the clubhouse,” Michael Cuddyer said the day after the Twins were swept in the ALDS by the Yankees. “He’s been the unquestionable leader on this team. Any time Joe needed help with the staff, he went to Red. Any time guys needed help in how to play the game, they went to Red. Obviously he’s my best friend on the team and if he doesn’t play here again he’ll be sorely missed in my eyes. But at the same time, I think he’s left his mark here and now these young guys see the way he led. These guys will be able to follow his example.”
The Twins may no longer have the man who was known for the naked walk inside the clubhouse, but they’ll get a chance to see him plenty of times with the Indians. The two teams will face each other 18 times in 2010.
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
The Twins entered Wednesday’s contest against the Royals with what manager Ron Gardenhire called “a healthy lineup.” But three players –Justin Morneau, Nick Punto and Mike Redmond — all left the game due to various injuries.
Redmond left the contest in the bottom of the fifth inning after he was struck by a foul tip in the right forearm. He was having X-rays on the arm, but results were not yet known.
Jose Morales, the Twins No. 3 catcher on the roster, replaced Redmond
behind the plate. Joe Mauer was already in the lineup for the as the
club’s designated hitter.
Justin Morneau and Nick Punto were both taken out of the game after the sixth. Punto left the game with a tight lower back. Morneau left with a tight left groin. Brendan Harris took over at shortstop for Punto and Brian Buscher replaced Morneau at first base.
I’ll have more updates on the injuries after the game.
The quietest day of Spring Training is always the day that pitchers and catchers report. While players have to technically be in Fort Myers, they aren’t required to be at the ballpark – let alone to work out. Usually the Twins have a few guys who, in addition to unpacking their lockers, head out to the fields to get a little throwing in, but it’s not an organized effort.
However this year was a little different than most. By around 11:00 a.m. there was a large group of pitchers who had gathered inside the clubhouse at Hammond Stadium and most of them proceeded out to the practice fields. It included a range of players from closer Joe Nathan to starter Scott Baker and even newcomers like Jason Jones and Sean Henn.
Of course, Reporting Day is also the day to catch up and chat with some of the guys that you haven’t seen in months. One of the guys that everyone looks forward to sitting down and talking to is Mike Redmond as he can always be counted on for an interesting conversation.
A funny exchange occurred on Sunday when Redmond walked back into the clubhouse following his workout. Joe Mauer was sitting at his locker, which is next to Redmond’s, and had a glove waiting to hand to him. It was bigger than most catcher’s gloves and without having to see the name “Dickey” inscribed on the glove, Redmond knew exactly what it meant — time to start catching the knuckleball.
“We almost put a Mirabelli tag above your locker,” Mauer joked.
Redmond isn’t a stranger to knuckleballers like R.A. Dickey, who is in camp as a non-roster invitee. When he was with the Marlins, he caught Dennis Springer who was the club’s No. 5 starter in 1999. I chatted with Redmond a little bit about catching a knuckleball and he said that it takes some time to get adjusted to seeing that movement again. Mauer was a little disappointed that he won’t get to spend as much time catching Dickey this spring since he’ll be limited in his workload.
The glove was given to Mauer by R.A. Dickey, who is in camp as a non-roster invitee. Normally, Redmond said, knuckleballers don’t give catchers gloves. But it happened to be a good thing that Dickey had an extra one, since the ones that Mauer and Redmond ordered had not yet arrived.
In terms of news on Sunday, it was a pretty quiet day. Mauer was waiting to find out what he would be able to do during Monday’s first workout for pitchers and catchers. Right-hander Luis Ayala arrived at camp and is waiting for his contract to be finalized. He’s scheduled to take his physical on Monday and then the Twins will have to make a corresponding move to make room for him on the 40-man roster.