Tagged: Nick Punto

Punto headed back to Minnesota to be examined

Twins infielder Nick Punto will return to Minnesota on Thursday to have a precautionary MRI on his ribcage after he was kept out of the lineup again due to sore ribs.

Punto has been battling soreness in his ribs since diving headfirst into first base in Saturday night’s contest against the Astros. He started Tuesday’s game at Milwaukee but left in the seventh inning due to what trainers called cramping in his ribcage.

Punto said Wednesday that he’s been frustrated by the injury as his ribs are still feeling pretty sore. The club now hopes to determine the exact cause of why Punto’s ribs are sore.

Welcome Back, Denard Span

One of the first people I saw walking around on the field when I arrived at Miller Park this afternoon was Denard Span. The outfielder made it through his two rehab games at Triple-A Rochester alive — although not without a new bruise, this one on the palm of his left hand.

Span was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning of Rochester’s game on Tuesday night. His left thumb and the palm area around it are swollen and a bit sore today, but Span is planning to take batting practice with the team to see if he’ll be activated for Thursday’s series finale with the Brewers. Manager Ron Gardenhire said that he expects Span will be fine.

Jason Kubel is back in the lineup as he’s feeling a little better after battling through some cold and flu-like like symptoms. He’ll be in left field tonight and I’m sure that the heat won’t be a huge help to him. But he seemed confident that he’d be able to weather through it just fine.

Nick Punto said that his ribs are still sore and he is not in the lineup again. He left Tuesday night’s game with cramping in his ribs. Punto, who injured his ribs while diving head-first into first base on Saturday night, is listed as day-to-day.

With no batting cages or weight room currently at Miller Park due to the recent flooding, players have had to be a little more creative with their time. The Twins have a small room in the clubhouse with a batting tee that’s been constantly in use. But there have been a few more card games than usual — anything to pass the time, particularly for a team that usually spends a lot of time in the batting cage.

Here are today’s lineups:

Carlos Gomez, CF
Brendan Harris, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, LF
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Joe Crede, 3B
Matt Tolbert, 2B
Nick Blackburn, P

Craig Counsell, 2B
Mat Gamel, 3B
Ryan Braun, LF
Prince Fielder, 1B
Corey Hart, RF
Mike Cameron, CF
J.J. Hardy, SS
Jason Kendall, C
Braden Looper, P

SI Cover boy, Joe Mauer and Tuesday Lineups: Twins at Brewers

Thumbnail image for SICover_062909_JoeMauer.jpgBefore I get into today’s baseball news, a little note to Twins fans to check out this week’s Sports Illustrated. Joe Mauer is donning the cover for the second time (he also did so in Aug. 2006). Tom Verducci explores the catcher’s chances of becoming the first player to hit .400 since Ted Williams did in 1941.

As for Twins news today in Milwaukee, manager Ron Gardenhire had to wait a little while to post his lineup today as he was checking up on the health status of a few players. Justin Morneau is back in the lineup after getting a day off on Sunday due to “general soreness.” Nick Punto also returns after missing Sunday’s game with bruised right ribs. Jason Kubel, who left Sunday’s game with flu-like symptoms, is not in the lineup with what the team is calling “general illness.”

The Twins got positive news on Denard Span, who went 1-for-4 in his first rehab game with Triple-A Rochester on Monday night. Gardenhire said that Span didn’t have any recurrences of dizziness, so it sounds like he’ll be activated on Thursday as expected.. (That is of course if everything goes OK in the outfielder’s second rehab game tonight).

The newest member of the Twins bullpen, Bobby Keppel, is also here at Miller Park. He’s expected to be another option for the sixth or seventh inning now that Luis Ayala is no longer there. Speaking of Ayala, Gardenhire let it be known today that the reliever asked for a trade three weeks ago and that helped lead to his departure. More on that later.

Here are today’s lineups:

Carlos Gomez, CF
Brendan Harris, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Joe Crede, 3B
Delmon Young, LF
Nick Punto, 2B
Francisco Liriano, P

Jason Kendall, C
Casey McGehee, 2B
Ryan Braun, LF
Prince Fielder, 1B
Corey Hart, RF
Mike Cameron, CF
J.J. Hardy, SS
Bill Hall, 3B
Jeff Suppan, P

Punto exits game with bruised left ribs

Nick Punto was taken out of Saturday’s contest vs. the Astros after the sixth inning due to bruised left ribs.

It’s unclear exactly when Punto injured himself, but one guess is that it occurred when he dove head-first into first base in the fifth inning.

Punto was replaced by Matt Tolbert at second base for the start of the seventh inning.

I’ll have more on the injury after the game.

UPDATE: Punto did indeed injure himself on that head-first dive. Manager Ron Gardenhire said Punto bruised the ribs while hitting the base. Gardenhire didn’t know how serious the injury is. Punto is listed as day-to-day and the club will see how he’s feeling on Sunday.

Saturday Morning — updates and lineups

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

Friday night vs. the Reds — Under the Lights edition

The Twins are getting ready for their second night game of the spring. And while the regular season is full of games at night, it’s always a bit of an adjustment during the spring when you are accustomed to getting up early and getting the day going at that time.

As for things going on today, the swelling in Nick Punto’s right elbow has decreased and he should be back in the lineup in a couple days as expected.

Justin Morneau is back in the lineup for the first time since leaving for the World Baseball Classic and Jesse Crain, who also played for Team Canada, will also pitch in the contest.

Here are the lineups:

Denard Span, CF
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Jason Kubel, DH
Justin Morneau, 1B
Joe Crede, 3B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Delmon Young, LF
Mike Redmond, C
Matt Tolbert, SS
Pitching: Francisco Liriano, LHP

Chris Dickerson, CF
Alex Gonzalez, SS
Joey Votto, 1B
Brandon Phillips, 2B
Jay Bruce, RF
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
Jacque Jones, LF
Jonny Gomes, DH
Ryan Hanigan, C
Pitching: Micah Owings, RHP

News and notes from Saturday

All right, now that my trip back from Tampa is complete — and I got some dinner — here are some of the other newsworthy things that happened on Saturday.

  • The Twins will use Monday’s off day as just that — an off day. Left-hander Francisco Liriano will come to the ballpark to throw a bullpen but otherwise there is no planned workout for the team. Manager Ron Gardenhire said that Joe Mauer might come in and catch Liriano’s bullpen, now that he’s advanced to doing that. But the team might also give him a day of rest since he’s been working out every day. The decision on whether Mauer will be the one to catch Liriano will be made by the trainers, Gardenhire said. The off day is one of four that is scheduled for the Twins during this prolonged Spring Training.
  • Any questions about whether the Twins might acquire reliever Juan Cruz were answered Saturday when he signed a two-year, $6 million deal with the Royals. The contract includes a $4 million club option for 2011 with a $500,000 buyout. Although many Twins fans were hopeful that the club would sign Cruz, the two sides just never seemed to find a fit and now the Twins will move forward with Jesse Crain, Luis Ayala, and Jose Mijares as their primary setup options.
  • One of the hottest hitters for the Twins early in spring has been outfielder Delmon Young. After a 3-for-3 performance on Saturday, Young is now batting .857 (6-for-7) this spring. Although some of Young’s hits in previous games weren’t necessary bullets, he showed more power in his three hits agianst the Yankees. And Young isn’t the only one delivering hits. Brian Buscher is now 6-for-8 this spring with 4 RBIs, Jason Kubel is 2-for-4 with a home run and Carlos Gomez even delivered a home run to left field on Saturday… “The guys are swinging good,” manager Ron Gardenhire said after the club’s 7-3 win over the Yankees. “Delmon is whacking the crap out of it; Kubel looks like he’s been hitting all winter long. There have been some really good at-bats and good swings. A lot of guys look like they’ve really got it going, and it’s early. Only six or eight more weeks of spring.”  (The last part was Gardy joking…there are only five weeks left of spring –which is still plenty of time)
  • Quote of Day: Gardenhire on Nick Punto playing for Team Italy “I think he grew up in Little Italy in California. That’s why I thought I had a shot to manage the Canadian team, because I live in Little Canada.”

(And for those of you who didn’t learn why Punto is playing for the Italian team — his grandparents are from Italy)

Golfing for Charity

One day that’s always a little chaotic for beat writers at
Spring Training is when the club’s charity golf outing takes place and for the
Twins, that day was Thursday. It means the workouts go by a little quicker than
normal and afterward access to the players is limited with guys hurrying to
make their 1:00 p.m. tee time.

For me, it’s also the one day where I can qualify golf as work.

Having played golf for nearly my entire life, I’ll admit that I hardly pass up
the chance to hit the course. That’s especially true when it’s for a good
cause. So when the Twins staff has asked me in each of the last three years to
take part in the annual charity golf scramble outing, I gladly say yes —
getting permission from the boss first, of course.

This year I was lucky to play with three wonderful people who all live in the
Fort Myers/Naples area. Besides being great conversationalists over the four-plus
hours of our round, they also possessed some golf skills as well. We finished a
respectable 9 under par, having birdied five straight holes to finish our
round (nothing like getting on a hot streak late, right?). But we were not even close to the
winning groups. The tournament took place on two 18-hole courses – Nick Punto’s
group took first on one course with a 57 (15 under par) and Matt Guerrier’s
group finished first on the other with a 56 (16 under par).

My highlight of the round came on our last par three when I
stuck my iron shot four feet from the hole — good enough to beat out Kent
Hrbek for closest to the pin.

But the story of the day belonged to outfielder Dustin Martin,
who played for Double-A New Britain last season. Martin recorded the lone hole
in one of the day – the problem was it came on a mulligan. For the non-golfers,
teams can usually buy “extra shots” to use during their rounds. So if no player
hits a good shot or someone just wants a second try, one member of the group can hit again — which is exactly what Martin
did on that particular par three.

If Martin had hit the ball in the hole on his first try, he
would have won a Bose Stereo sound system. Instead, he just won closest to the
pin on that hole – with a very unusual “Zero inches” marked on the card.