By Joe Christensen
KANSAS CITY, MO. — Delmon Young has played in 216 consecutive games, the longest streak in the majors, and he’s back in the Twins’ starting lineup tonight.
The Twins will face Royals righthander Zack Greinke. Craig Monroe is a career .389 (7-for-18) hitter against Greinke, but he’ll be on the bench. A look below at how the Twins’ starters have fared against Greinke, as Kansas City looks to snap its nine-game losing streak.
Updates to come…
Update (6 p.m.): Twins manager Ron Gardenhire sat Carlos Gomez for a game in April, after he had gone 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. On Tuesday, Delmon Young went 0-for-6 and had a costly defensive misplay. Asked if he considered a similar mental break for Young tonight, Gardenhire said:
“Gomez was a little different scenario. He was swinging like a madman and needed to shorten his swing up and we had a talk about shorting his swing up and putting the ball in play.
“Delmon — if it comes to that, it comes to that. I’m not afraid to do those things. If a guy needs a mental break, I give it to him, whether they want it or not.
“Tonight’s a night where Delmon needs to get back out there. He had a tough night last night, and you put confidence in him by putting him back out there. Let him try to get rid of that feeling. I don’t want him standing around with it for a couple days. Get back out there and play.”
In other words, it’s not a consecutive games streak issue. Gardenhire simply wants Young to get back on the horse.
Note: Nick Punto is ready to return from the DL. He went 2-for-4 with a walk in an extended spring training game today and felt no pain in his left hamstring. His wife, Natalie, is due to give birth on Friday, so Punto could be activated Saturday.
1. Carlos Gomez, CF (Has never faced Greinke)
2. Alexi Casilla, 2B (2-for-7)
3. Joe Mauer, C (3-for-15)
4. Justin Morneau, 1B (4-for-17)
5. Michael Cuddyer, RF (4-for-11, 1 HR)
6. Jason Kubel, DH (1-for-6)
7. Delmon Young, LF (0-for-2)
8. Mike Lamb, 3B (Has never faced Greinke)
9. Brendan Harris, SS (Has never faced Greinke)
Starting pitcher: RH Livan Hernandez
1. David DeJesus, RF (Has never faced Hernandez)
2. Joey Gathright, CF (1-for-6)
3. Alex Gordon, 3B (4-for-6)
4. Jose Guillen, LF (2-for-12)
5. Miguel Olivo, DH (4-for-14)
6. Mark Teahen, 1B (1-for-5)
7. Billy Butler, DH (1-for-6)
8. Alberto Callaspo, 2B (2-for-6)
9. Tony Pena, SS (Has never faced Hernandez)
Starting pitcher: RH Zack Greinke
Kauffman Stadium. First pitch: 7:05 p.m.