May 2009

Postgame reaction from the 4-ejection special

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Umpire Todd Tichenor, who ejected Mike Redmond, Ron Gardenhire, Jason Varitek and Terry Francona in the seventh inning of Boston’s 3-1 victory over the Twins today, was not available for comment.

Crew chief Jerry Layne spoke to a pool reporter, John Krawczynski, of the Associated Press:

On the play at the plate, Layne said, “I just looked at our replay and it’s inconclusive. But it’s so close that it would be difficult to try to say one way or the other from what I have seen. It’s not a clear case one way or the other.”

On Redmond’s ejection, Layne said, “No contact was made. I think it was an emotional time. I think the emotion of the game came into play. I think that’s what happened on the second [Gardenhire's ejection]. Ron’s a great manager and he’s going to protect his players and do whatever he has to do to do his job. And the umpire did his job and the manager did his job.”

On the four-ejection sequence, Layne said, “The bottom line is the managers have a job to do and the umpires have a job to do, and it was a difficult situation to be in as an umpire, and I thought that Todd Tichenor did an extremely good job. He handled it the way I like to see a person handle it. He didn’t let the game get out of control by not taking charge. He didn’t throw anybody out that didn’t deserve to be thrown out. He did his job. The managers did their jobs. Varitek stuck up for his pitcher. That’s baseball.”

Redmond on his first career ejection: “I’ve always been very respectful, but I realized the situation. It was a close play. I thought I got him. I still think I got him, and that’s it. I didn’t touch [the umpire]. I was a ways from him.”

Gardenhire: “I just wanted to know why he threw Redmond out so quick. And that was it. Then he threw me out for asking why he threw Redmond out. I thought Red was emotional, sure. He jumped up, but he’s just going to argue a little call. I just thought he pulled the trigger too quick, that’s all.”

Boston’s Jeff Bailey, who was called safe at home: “There’s no question a tag was made. Question is did I get my hand in there first? I really can’t tell. I saw the replay on TV and I couldn’t tell. When I came out of the slide, I pointed down at the plate and said, ‘Yeah, I got my hand in there!’ I ran off so I didn’t see Redmond get ejected. I was shaking hands with everybody and two guys were getting tossed out of the game.”

Thursday lineups: Twins/Red Sox

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Sorry for the delay. The Twins just posted their lineup. 

Joe Crede is back at third base. Nick Punto has a sore groin, and Michael Cuddyer is getting a break after getting hit in the leg with a pitch from Justin Masterson in Wednesday’s game.

Update: Manager Ron Gardenhire said Punto is day-to-day and acknowledged Punto’s groin seemed to be affecting his throws. Punto had an error Tuesday and Wednesday, the first time since Aug. 1-2, 2006, he’s had errors on back-to-back days.

“Knowing Nicky, he’s been playing with it, and it probably has had something to do with all of his throws lately,” Gardenhire said.

Sounds like Cuddyer could have played, but he’s just getting a break in this stretch of 20 games in 20 days.

(*) Add Red Sox manager Terry Francona to the list of visitors who won’t miss the Metrodome.

“I’m still looking for a ball here,” he said. “I actually played here in ‘88 for the Indians. [Greg] Swindell had a good game going. Bases loaded, a pop up, and I was out in left field. Put my hands up, and nobody helped me out. I wanted to go sit in the outfield and not come back here.”

RED SOX (27-20)

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. J.D. Drew, RF
4. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
5. Mike Lowell, 3B
6. David Ortiz, DH
7. Jason Varitek, C
8. Jeff Bailey, LF
9. Julio Lugo, SS

Starting pitcher: RH Josh Beckett (4-2, 5.01 ERA)

TWINS (24-24)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Joe Mauer, DH
3. Justin Morneau, 1B
4. Jason Kubel, RF
5. Joe Crede, 3B
6. Brendan Harris, SS
7. Delmon Young, LF
8. Mike Redmond, C
9. Matt Tolbert, 2B

Starting pitcher: RH Anthony Swarzak (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Metrodome. First pitch: 12:10 p.m.

Postgame update: Slowey, Gardenhire and Span

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

With Dice-K slowing tonight’s game to a crawl, and Kevin Slowey fighting his own battles with runners on base, it was easy to get the perception that Slowey was being overly laborious, too.

That’s not how Slowey’s outing was viewed in the Twins’ clubhouse, however.

“Slowey likes a faster-paced game, we do know that,” Manager Ron Gardenhire said. “But sometimes you need to adjust. That’s part of growing up as a pitcher in this league. He did a good job of that. I thought he battled pretty good. I think most of that work comes from that [Boston] lineup over there. It just doesn’t seem like there’s a break up and down, so you have to be really good.”

It struck me after leaving the clubhouse that I have watched the Red Sox and Yankees play countless games like this on TV, where innings seem to take forever, with hitter after hitter grinding through at-bats.

Well, the Twins now have a lineup that can grind down pitchers, too. So there might be more games like this, and their pitchers will have to answer the call like Slowey did.

(*) Gardenhire said he was kicking himself in the dugout for letting LHP Jose Mijares face Kevin Youkilis in the eighth inning.

Mijares had retired the first four batters he faced, but Gardenhire had RHP Matt Guerrier ready to face the righthanded hitting Youkilis and Jason Bay. Mijares walked Youkilis, but Guerrier came in and got Bay to ground into an inning-ending double play.

“It was kind of stupid on my part, but when you see a guy like Mijares throwing the heck out of the ball like that, I thought let’s see what he does here,” Gardenhire said. “He walks him, and puts us in situation. Sometimes your mind does funny things when the guy’s throwing the heck out of the ball. I was kicking myself in the dugout, and then Matty got that double play. I told Matty, ‘Way to pick me up.’ ”

(*) Denard Span went 4-for-4 with four singles and a walk. He scored two runs, but that’s a lot of time standing up, if you count his time in the outfield.

“My legs are killing me right now,” Span said, laughing. “I’m going to be honest with you. I was on the base five times today, running all over the place. But it’s fun that way. I’d rather have it that way than being on the bench making right turns instead of left turns.”

(*) Check back in the morning for Thursday’s starting lineups, as the Twins try to win the four-game series.

Wednesday lineups: Twins/Red Sox

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Joe Crede remains out of the lineup, as the Twins get set to take on Red Sox righthander Daisuke Matsuzaka tonight.

Updates to come…

Update: Crede said he’s “good to go.” Bone bruise in his hand. He’ll take BP today and likely return to the lineup Thursday.

Update: Crede crushed several home runs in batting practice. Gardenhire said he’s available to pinch hit tonight.

Denard Span said he feels much better after a week of feeling groggy. The doctors have told Span he might have a thyroid issue. If he feels any of the symptoms on the upcoming road trip to Tampa, Fla., the Twins will have him see a specialist. But he’s in the lineup again tonight.

RED SOX (27-19)

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. J.D. Drew, RF
4. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
5. Jason Bay, LF
6. David Ortiz, DH
7. Mike Lowell, 3B
8. George Kottaras, C
9. Nick Green, SS

Starting pitcher: RH Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-2, 10.32)

TWINS (23-24)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Joe Mauer, C
3. Justin Morneau, 1B
4. Jason Kubel, DH
5. Michael Cuddyer, RF
6. Brendan Harris, 3B
7. Delmon Young, LF
8. Matt Tolbert, 2B
9. Nick Punto, SS

Starting pitcher: RH Kevin Slowey (6-1, 4.23)

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

Saturday lineups: Twins/Brewers

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

Jason Kubel said the swelling in his knee has subsided. He’s hoping to play either Sunday or Monday.

Updates to come…

Update: Kubel had an MRI exam, just to be sure. It showed a bone bruise, but no structural damage. He did not take batting practice today, but there’s hope for that on Sunday.

(*) The Twins will honor Corey Koskie in a pregame ceremony tonight.

“He was a good player, a lot of fun,” Manager Ron Gardenhire said. “And I think he probably [handled] being a Twins player as well as anybody. He ended up leaving, but while he was here he showed a lot of respect to our fans and was very classy, and I think that meant a lot to Twins folks.”

(*) Glen Perkins said he hopes to resume throwing on Tuesday. He’s been taking medication to reduce the inflammation of his left ulnar nerve and said the tingling in his fingers is gone. The Twins want him to feel that way for four consecutive days before he resumes throwing, however.

BREWERS (26-16)

1. Craig Counsell, SS
2. Casey McGehee, 2B
3. Ryan Braun, LF
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Mike Cameron, CF
6. Mat Gamel, DH
7. Bill Hall, 3B
8. Jody Gerut, RF
9. Jason Kendall, C

Starting pitcher: RH Braden Looper (4-3, 4.26)

TWINS (20-23)

1. Denard Span, LF
2. Joe Mauer, C
3. Justin Morneau, 1B
4. Michael Cuddyer, RF
5. Joe Crede, 3B
6. Brian Buscher, DH
7. Brendan Harris, SS
8. Carlos Gomez, CF
9. Matt Tolbert, 2B

Starting pitcher: RH Anthony Swarzak (Big league debut)

Metrodome. First pitch: 6:10 p.m.