By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Twins and Red Sox are set to meet up for the fifth time this season tonight and currently Minnesota trails 1-3 in the Mayor’s Cup with three contests, including this one, remaining between the crosstown rivals.
Twins closer Joe Nathan said today that he’ll undergo Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on Friday in New York. The surgery will be performed by noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Altchek.
Left-hander Glen Perkins has a strained back, which he suffered while doing squats during a workout on Monday’s off day. He’s listed as day-to-day but it will likely be a couple days before he can throw.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire made it clear that Michael Cuddyer will be his backup center fielder, and that he likely won’t use any infielders to back up the spot unless it’s an emergency. Cuddyer made a great catch while playing center in a game at Port Charlotte on Saturday, so there should be no concerns if he has to back up the spot during those rare occasions.
Gardenhire also labeled the race between Alexi Casilla and Matt Tolbert for the final bench spot as, `neck-and-neck.’ Remember Casilla is out of options so that could sway things.
Red Sox (9-11)
Marco Scutaro, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
J.D. Drew, RF
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Jason Varitek, C
Jeremy Hazelbaker, LF
Che-Hsuan Lin, CF
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz
Others scheduled to pitch: Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima, Daniel Bard, Ramon Ramiez, Manny Delcarmen
Denard Span, CF
Orlando Hudson, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Jason Kubel, DH
Delmon Young, LF
J.J. Hardy, SS
Nick Punto, 3B
Pitching: RHP Carl Pavano
Others scheduled to pitch: Matt Guerrier, Pat Neshek, Jesse Crain
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Here are a few things from manager Ron Gardenhire after Thursday’s 5-4 victory over the Pirates:
— Gardenhire said the team still isn’t sure when
Joe Nathan is going to play catch this weekend, although it likely won’t be in front of any media. In an attempt to give Nathan as much privacy as possible,
Gardenhire said the team is planning to stay mum about the time and location of Nathan’s game of catch. It’s all so that there isn’t a horde of television cameras and
national media there to watch the session.
“We’re going to put up screens and blocks and everything so
(the media) cannot be there,” Gardenhire said. “We just don’t want it
to be a big crazy thing here. Let the guy live in peace and see if he
can throw the ball. If he can’t, and he grimaces in pain and goes to
the ground, I don’t want you to see that. … And if he goes and hugs
and kisses (pitching coach Rick Anderson) because he feels great, we
don’t want you to see that, either.”
— Shortstop J.J. Hardy has not played since Saturday due to an irritated left quadriceps muscle. Manager Ron Gardenhire said that Hardy was feeling better on Thursday and will likely return to game action on Saturday in a Minor League contest. Hardy has been able to do all of his infield drills, and on Thursday he ran the bases on one of the back fields without any problem.
— Nick Punto and Delmon Young got some at-bats in a Minor League contest across the complex this afternoon. It’s something that Gardenhire said will likely happen more frequently in the coming days now that Minor League games have officially begun. Gardenhire watched the two players hit in the contest and said Young got a couple of hits but was most excited about a walk he drew after falling behind in the count 0-2.
— Due to watching Punto and Young, Gardenhire said he missed the first couple innings of the contest against the Pirates. But he said he was able to know something good happened when the horns went off at Hammond Stadium — it was Jim Thome’s first homer as a Twin.
“I still haven’t seen Thome hit a homer,” Gardenhire said. “I’ve seen him hit them against us but never for the Twins.”
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— “Slama Jama” : Gardy is known for his unique nicknames for players but a new favorite might be his moniker for pitcher Anthony Slama, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning on Thursday. When talking about how Slama has pitched this spring, the manager referred to him as “Slama Jama.” Classic.