July 2008

Twins 10, White Sox 6: Gardenhire gets the game ball

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

So, how big was tonight’s 10-6 victory over the White Sox?

“That’s the best game by far, this year, emotionally,” Twins pitcher Scott Baker said. “I don’t know how many walk-offs we’ve had in the ninth inning, but that beats them all.”

The players gave Manager Ron Gardenhire the game ball, though he felt a little sheepish after drawing the fifth ejection of the season and 41st of his career.

“You know what, the umpires here are pretty good,” he said. “And I feel real bad about that, kicking my hat and causing all that ruckus out there. I don’t like that. I know my wife hates it.”

Carol Gardenhire was sitting right outside the clubhouse waiting for him as he said this.

The highlight came when her husband punted his cap. Amazingly, the cap soared about 15 feet in the air before landing flat as a pancake.

“Kicking the hat was probably a little much,” he said. “I hope Coach [Brad] Childress saw that, in case he ever needs a kicker.”

Two months to go, and Chicago has a one-game lead over the Twins in the loss column.

“If this is how fun it’s going to be,” Jason Kubel said, “we’ve got a lot to look forward to.”

Thursday pregame: Good news for Casilla?

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

As La Velle noted, the Twins did not make a trade before the non-waiver trade deadline.

Ken Griffey Jr., will meet the White Sox in Kansas City on Friday.

White Sox GM Ken Williams addressed the media. Among his comments: “It’s never a bad thing to be a in a pennant race and have someone walk through the door.”

Updates to come…

Update (5:50 p.m.): The Twins have yet to release any official information regarding Alexi Casilla’s thumb injury, but we’ve received indications Casilla will postpone surgery, at least temporarily.

If our reports are correct, Casilla will have his hand immobilized in a splint for one week and then be re-evaluated. Casilla said Wednesday that he was definitely having surgery, but the Twins stressed that no decision would be made before Casilla saw hand specialist Tom Varecka today.

Also, Michael Cuddyer took two rounds of batting practice today — early BP and then the regular one with the team — and said his hand continues to feel better. Still no timetable for his rehab stint, but if all goes well, it’s sounding like he’ll head to Class AAA Rochester next week.

Update (6:03 p.m.): The Twins just made that Casilla item official, calling the news “very positive.” It was noted, however, that Casilla would be lost for the season if he had surgery, so taking this extra week simply buys more time to make the right decision. He might still need the surgery, but at least now there’s hope he returns this year.

White Sox (60-46)

1. Orlando Cabrera, SS

2. A.J. Pierzynski, C

3. Carlos Quentin, LF

4. Jermaine Dye, RF

5. Jim Thome, DH

6. Alexei Ramirez, 2B

7. Nick Swisher, 1B

8. Josh Fields, 3B

9. DeWayne Wise, CF

Starting pitcher: LH John Danks

Twins (59-48)

1. Denard Span, RF

2. Nick Punto, 2B

3. Joe Mauer, C

4. Justin Morneau, 1B

5. Delmon Young, LF

6. Jason Kubel, DH

7. Brendan Harris, 3B

8. Adam Everett, SS

9. Carlos Gomez, CF

Starting pitcher: RH Scott Baker

Metrodome. First pitch: 7:10 p.m.

Trade deadline update: Tigers, White Sox improve

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

The Tigers and White Sox appear to be making themselves better as we approach today’s 3 p.m., non-waiver trade deadline. We’ll see if the Twins do anything to counter.

(*) Yes, the Tigers traded future Hall of Fame catcher Pudge Rodriguez to the Yankees for a reliever who has struggled mightily in the past. But the Tigers had really soured on Pudge and actually aren’t losing much with Brandon Inge ready to catch every day.

Meanwhile, Kyle Farnsworth has been pitching very well. He throws hard, and the Tigers were desperate for relief help.

The Detroit Free Press reports today that Todd Jones’ shoulder injury could send him to the DL. Joel Zumaya had arm trouble the other day, so the bullpen was a glaring need for the Tigers. They addressed it.

(*) Now, from Ken Rosenthal, there’s word the White Sox have a deal in place to land Ken Griffey, Jr., pending Griffey’s approval.

Should we really be surprised? Kenny Williams is one of the most daring GMs in the business.

The White Sox were supposed to be over-budget with their hands tied with few top prospects they could afford to deal. I have yet to see who they would give up in this deal, but they’re probably taking on salary, with Griffey still on the hook for $4 million this season.

(*) Finally, it sounds like the Astros gave up very little to get LaTroy Hawkins from the Yankees. Here’s Rotoworld’s take on second base prospect Matt Cusick: A 2007 10th-round pick, he was hitting .285/.356/.462 as a 22-year-old in low-A ball. He’s unlikely to ever see the majors.

And, here’s Astros GM Ed Wade in the Houston Chronicle: “I want to say (in) the deal he had in excess of a $1 million remaining on his contract. They ended up taking a significant portion of the money back.”

By that assessment, the Astros gave up virtually nothing to get Hawkins. The one most obvious move the Twins could make, and Houston beat them to it.

(*) La Velle’s story in today’s editions mentioned several trade discussions the Twins have had, and the conclusion is this: The biggest move they might make is adding lefthander Francisco Liriano to the major league roster.

Stay tuned…

More pregame tidbits: Casilla, Cuddyer, Everett

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

OK, let’s try this again.

Gardy gathered the media for his pregame session and stressed that no decision has been made about Alexi Casilla having surgery to repair the torn ligament in his right thumb.

“So you can unblog your blogs,” Gardenhire said.

Fair enough. The decision will be made once hand specialist Tom Varecka views the results of Casilla’s MRI exam on Thursday. Casilla is still on record saying, “I’m going to do surgery for sure.”

(*) Michael Cuddyer said there is no timetable for when he will go on his rehab assignment. But he took a nice step today when he took batting practice on the field.

The knuckle on his left index finger no longer hurts, but the hand feels sore and weak after not using it for almost five weeks.

(*) Adam Everett will be used at shortstop and perhaps some second base, Gardy said.

His right shoulder “feels good,” Everett said. “Is it 100 percent? Is anybody ever 100 percent this time of year? It feels 100 times better, I can tell you that.”

(*) No big news on the trade front, but we’re monitoring that. La Velle has been working a few angles and will have an update later.

Update (7:35 p.m.): The Yankees are close to trading LaTroy Hawkins to Houston. Jayson Stark is reporting that, and La Velle heard the same thing. So there goes that.

White Sox (59-46)

1. Orlando Cabrera, SS

2. A.J. Pierzynski, C

3. Carlos Quentin, LF

4. Jermaine Dye, RF

5. Jim Thome, DH

6. Paul Konerko, 1B

7. Nick Swisher, CF

8. Alexei Ramirez, 2B

9. Josh Fields, 3B

Starting pitcher: RH Gavin Floyd

Twins (59-47)

1. Denard Span, RF

2. Nick Punto, 2B

3. Joe Mauer, C

4. Justin Morneau, 1B

5. Jason Kubel, DH

6. Delmon Young, LF

7. Brian Buscher, 3B

8. Brendan Harris, SS

9. Carlos Gomez, CF

Starting pitcher: RH Livan Hernandez

Metrodome. First pitch: 7:10 p.m.

Casilla says he’s done for the season; team not sure

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Twins second baseman Alexi Casilla said he will have surgery on his right thumb and miss the rest of the season.

Update (4:45 p.m.):

The Twins, however, stressed that it hasn’t been decided whether he will have surgery. His appointment with hand specialist Dr. Tom Varecka was postponed until Thursday, and the official decision about surgery won’t be made until then.

Casilla’s injury is actually a torn ligament, not a torn tendon.

“I’m going to do surgery for sure,” he said.

He said he hopes to return for winter ball in the Dominican Republic.

“I’m sad because I was just starting to have fun,” Casilla said.