Wednesday’s short hops

Posted on July 8th, 2009 – 9:50 AM
By Joe Christensen

1. The Twins are back in third place, but Detroit’s 8-5 victory over KC should be kept in perspective. As Michael Rosenberg notes in today’s Detroit Free Press, Justin Verlander needed 50 pitches to get through the first two innings, the Tigers committed two errors, and their eight runs came on eight hits. The Tigers should get a stiffer test tonight against Zack Greinke.

Frankly, the Tigers aren’t the AL Central team that should scare the Twins the most right now. The White Sox are rolling, and if Kenny Williams can orchestrate a trade for Jake Peavy — only to have Peavy shoot it down — it’s plausible he could land Roy Halladay. A trade like that could single-handedly change this division race.

2. With the Yankees’ bullpen on a serious roll — a 1.74 ERA in their past 21 games — they’ve decided to turn Thursday’s series finale against the Twins into a bullpen game. RHP Alfredo Aceves will get the start. He has a 2.02 ERA, but he hasn’t pitched more than four innings since his eight-inning start for Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre on April 29. The Yanks need a starter for Thursday because Chien-Ming Wang is on the DL with a strained right shoulder.

3. The Twins have promoted RHP Deolis Guerra from Class A Fort Myers to Class AA New Britain. (Seth Stohs had this last night, and here’s a story from Ken Lipshez in the New Britain Herald.) Guerra, 20, is one of four players the Twins received from the Mets for Johan Santana and seemed very intriguing at the time, since he had climbed to high-A for two starts by age 17 in 2006 and shown a hard fastball in the All-Star Futures Game the following year.

But the bottom line is the Mets were rushing him. At 6-foot-5, Guerra is a great kid from Venezuela, but he’s a project as a pitcher. The Twins have been trying to refine his mechanics, but he was back in the Florida State League again this year and his numbers at Fort Myers (6-8, 4.69 ERA, 86.1 IP, 95 H, 57 K, 25 BB) hardly screamed for a promotion.

I think the Twins are trying to give him a change of scenery. The Mets compounded this problem by inviting Guerra to big league camp in 2008, so that when the Santana deal went down, the Twins felt obligated to invite Guerra to their own big league camp. I remember talking to Guerra about how he’d like to START the 2008 season at Class AA. But he wasn’t ready. The Twins sent him to Fort Myers, and he went 11-9 with a 5.47 ERA, with 71 strikeouts and 71 walks. I’m guessing he was getting a little tired of Florida summers.

Note: Head to La Velle’s blog later for tonight’s starting lineups.

Update: La Velle just heard Glen Perkins has been scratched from tonight’s start with a high fever. So Anthony Swarzak will make tonight’s start for the Twins.

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