By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wasn’t pleased with how his pitching staff threw the ball in their third spring game, a 9-3 loss to the Red Sox. But the bigger concern to come out of Saturday’s contest was the health of closer Joe Nathan.
Nathan had to leave the game after recording just one out in the third inning due to tightness and soreness in his surgically repaired right elbow. For a team that doesn’t have a clear choice for the closer spot if Nathan isn’t available, it’s not a comforting sight to see him have to leave a game.
After exiting the contest, Nathan went back to the Twins Spring Training complex across town to have his elbow examined by the team doctors. The club will know more from the results of that, but the belief (and hope) of the team is that this could be normal soreness as Nathan works his way back from the surgery.
So we’ll have to see on Sunday what the news is about Nathan. He’ll likely be shut down for at least a few days. Since it’s Spring Training, the club will be cautious with their four-time All-Star closer.
Here are a few other nuggets from the day:
–Jesse Crain was scheduled to pitch in Saturday’s contest but he was scratched due to a case of the flu. It’s possible he could end up throwing in one of the split squad games on Sunday.
–Loek Van Mil had another MRI on his right shoulder but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he hadn’t heard the results of that yet.
— I had a nice visit with Dmitri Young, who was at the game on Saturday with his 12-year-old son, Owen, to watch Delmon. Dmitri said he is officially done playing and was happy to get to take in a ballgame as a fan as Owen was a batboy for the Twins.
But rather than stay in the stands, Dmtiri tried out a different angle to watch the game. He sat between Star Tribune writer, Joe Christensen, and me up in the press box. It was entertaining to listen to Dmitri’s thoughts on the game although Joe had to kindly inform him early on that there is no cheering in the pressbox. Dmitri was in great spirits and after what was tough year for the entire Young family following the passing of the boys’ mother, Bonnie Young, it was heart warming to see them all enjoying the day together.
To make room on the roster for Tuesday night’s starter Glen Perkins, the Twins have optioned right-hander Jesse Crain to Triple-A Rochester.
Crain was the losing pitcher in Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Cubs in Chicago when he gave up the winning run in the ninth inning, allowing three hits and walking one to break up what had been a 2-2 tie. It was a continuation of troubles that Crain has had this season. He was 2-3 with an 8.15 ERA in 23 appearances (17 2/3 innings) for the Twins.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was frustrated after Sunday’s loss by Crain’s recent struggles.
“You try to find the right situation to put him in ballgames, but when
you get to this point, there’s no right situation,” Gardenhire said after the game.
“He’s got to go out and get outs. Our bullpen’s dying out there, and
he’s the guy that’s got to try to get somebody out, and it didn’t
The move to option Crain allowed Perkins to be activated from the disabled list in time for his start against the Pirates on Tuesday night. Perkins was put on the DL on May 19 with inflammation in his left elbow. He’ll be making his ninth start of the season for the Twins, going 1-3 with a 5.36 ERA in his previous eight outings.
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 email@example.com. 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.
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