June 2007

On Deck: Twins-Tigers, Slowey-Miller, Neal-Gammons, Gladden-Girardi

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

It’s a media madhouse here at Comerica Park. FOX is televising the game, so Dick Stockton and Joe Girardi are here. ESPN is televising Sunday’s game, so Peter Gammons is here. I’m stepping over cables and dodging crazed technicians who are moving equipment all over the place.

All of this to watch two rookies who have the huge task of pitching in a playoff race.

I was impressed with how the Twins let Justin Verlander walk the park last night (they’ve been known to chase bad pitches). It had me thinking that they just may be ready to take off.

Then I realized that there’s kryptonite on the mound tonight.

Andrew Miller is left-handed and has never faced the Twins. That combination has led to disaster for this club. And Miller throws 95. Pack a lunch.

Jeff Cirillo is in the lineup tonight, baseball’s version of the nickel back who comes in on passing downs – or, in this case, left-handed situations. The problem is, he’s playing first base, and there’s not a lot of Mientkiewiczian moxie to the way he plays out there.

Things are relaxed in the clubhouse. Justin Morneau is charging up his new iPhone. Gardy is ripping his kid, Toby.

Toby recently caught in a game for Class A Fort Myers because of a body shortage. When asked about it, the manager replied: “It was to so he could see what he can’t hit.” Ouch!

Toby, this isn’t the first time your old man has opened up on you. You’ve got to come off that .203 average.

And that’s all for today’s show. The lineups:

Twins: 1. Castillo, 2B. 2. Bartlett, SS. 3. Mauer, C. 4. Cuddyer, RF. 5. Morneau, DH. 6. Hunter, CF. 7. Cirillo. 1B. 8. Ford, LF. 9. Punto, 3B. Pitching: Slowey.

Tigers: 1. Granderson, CF. 2. Polanco, 2B. 3. Casey, 1B. 4. Ordonez, RF. 5. Guillen, SS. 6. I-Rod, C. 7. Monroe, LF. 8. Thames, DH. 9. Infante, 3B. Pitching: Miller.


Live from Midway Airport…

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

I’m already headed to Detroit in advance of a huge road trip for the Twins. Got the Twins game on my computer (MLB.TV rocks) and saw Big Frank’s homer.

Frank leads all active players with 50 homers against the Twins, and he’s two behind Rocky Colavito for the all-time lead by a Twins’ opponent.

Anyway, it’s a lock that I’ll need to sleep for two days at the end of this trip. I’ve got two 4 a.m. wake up calls to make 6 a.m. flights during this trip, and I have to hurry out of New York on Friday morning to get to Chicago for the day-night doubleheader. Here’s where the mental challenge of being a seamhead comes in play…

Just picked up the USA Today, and I see that Twins’ first-round pick Ben Revere has been named to the All-USA high school baseball team. The kid already has been ripped because the Twins took him at 28 when others had him ranked much lower, but this honor can’t be ignored, plus he’s off to a good start (.350 avg, .458 OBP in five games)….

Most of you by now have read about the Twins’ interest in bringing back Jacque Jones. The chances have dwindled since the Cubs apparently have decided they can’t eat salary.

I’ve gotten some heated anti-Jacque e-mails, but I would have pulled the trigger if I only had to pay him $1 million from now through the end of 2008. We all know Jacque. First, he’ll be out of Chicago and back to a club that knows how to lift his spirits. He’d be batting seventh in the order, not 4-5-6 like he did when he was here the first time. And he’d cover plenty of ground in left field. Yes, his throws would scare all of us. But I’d bet he’d hit .275 with 12-14 homers and 45 RBI the rest of the season, which is way more than you guys are getting from left field, third base and DH right now. When and if Rondell gets off the RonDL, you’ve got a decent bottom of the order.

That’s all for now. I’ll podcast for Friday in advance of this big road trip.

Twins-Blue Jays: The online On Deck Show….

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Chatted up Scott Baker before the game. I didn’t write much about his work on Tuesday, but he mixed his pitches extremely well and seemed to be a step ahead of the hitters all night.

We all must remember that Bake has only had 33 career games, during which he’s 10-13 with a 5.32 ERA. That’s basically a year’s worth of starting. He’s still developing, but his outings are under a bigger microscope because the Twins are trying to make the playoffs.

No news on Morneau yet. I haven’t even seen him in the clubhouse.


Blue Jays: 1. Wells, CF. 2. Rios, RF. 3. Stairs, 1B. 4. Glaus, 3B. 5. Thomas, DH. 6. Zaun, C. 7. Lind, LF. 8. Clark, 2B. 9. Clayton, SS. Pitching: Towers.

Twins:1. Castillo, 2B. 2. Bartlett, SS. 3. Mauer, DH. 4. Cuddyer, 1B. 5. Hunter, CF. 6. Kubel, LF. 7. Redmond, C. 8. Ford, RF. 9. Punto, 3B. Pitching: Bonser.


Morneau update. Twins-Jays lineups

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007


Justin Morneau is scheduled to address the media at 5:20 today. It will be his first comments since he blasted into Miguel Olivo on Friday.

[UPDATE] Morneau isn’t sure when he will return, but he appearently won’t need to go on the disabled list…

 “I don’t want to put a date on it,’’ Morneau said, “You don’t want to push it too much, then all of a sudden I’m out for two or three weeks. You want to take that extra two or three days and make sure it’s better and then be ready to go the rest of the way.
“We have to see how it goes, then I have to run around a little bit and see how it feels.’’ 

[MORE UPDATES:] Morneau was being examined by doctors a few minutes ago, so we could learn more about his timetable after the game.

Gardy is worried about his bullpen being worn out, but he can’t call up a 12th pitcher because he has a few banged up position players and needs options on the bench.

Gardy also said that Matt Garza is, “close,” so the Twins could have another pitching option ready if someone with the big club needs to be sent down…

The lineups are out, and there’s a new Twins first baseman….

Toronto (38-37): 1. Wells, CF. 2. Rios, RF. 3. Stairs, 1B. 4. Glaus, 3B. 5. Thomas, DH. 6. Zaun, C. 7. Hill, 2B. 8. Lind, LF. 9. McDonald, SS. Pitching: Marcum.


Twins (38-36): 1. Castillo, 2B. 2. Bartlett, SS. 3. Mauer, C. 4. Cuddyer, 1B. 5. Hunter, CF. 6. Kubel, LF. 7. Redmond, DH. 8. Tyner, RF. 9. Punto, 3B. Pitching: Scott, `The Outmaker,’ Baker.

Twins Insider special guest: Reusse on the draft

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Patrick Reusse’s column for Tuesday’s early editions concerned the Twins’ June draft. Here’s a condensed version:

The Twins stuck around for all 50 rounds of this month’s first-year player draft. They have signed 16 of those players and scouting director Mike Radcliff said the final number doesn’t figure to be more than 20.
The Twins currently have signed seven of the their top 12:
1-Ben Revere, cf; 3-Angel Morales, cf; 6-Mike McCardell, rhp; 7-Dan Berlind, rhp; 9-Steven Hirschfield, rhp; 11-Andrew Schmiesing, rf; and 12-Michael Tarsi, lhp.
Radcliff said that eighth-rounder Daniel Lehmann, a catcher from Rice, and 10th-rounder Blair Erickson, a righthanded pitcher from Cal-Irvine, also will sign soon.
Radcliff is optimistic about signing second-rounder Daniel Rams and fourth-rounder Reggie Williams. Rams is a catcher and Williams is a shortstop. They are both high schoolers.
“I think we will get them both done,’’ Radcliff said. “The kid that’s going to be tough is the fifth-rounder.’’
Nathan Stritz, a righthanded pitcher from New Mexico, has a scholarship to North Carolina. If Radcliff’s current read on the situation remains correct, that would leave Stritz as the only draftee in the Twins’ top 12 not to sign.
Right now, there’s only one player signed after 21st-rounder Ozzie Lewis, and that’s a Chris Cates, the 5-3 shortstop from Louisville’s team in the College World Series. Cates was selected in the 38th round.
The Twins also went short in the first round with Ben Revere, the 5-9 outfielder from Lexington, Ky. He was rated much lower by most teams. Radcliff and the Twins have been getting hammered by draft wonks who insist it was only cheapness that caused the team to take an undersized outfielder with the 28th overall pick.
Revere signed quickly for an $800,000 bonus. The main knock against Revere is that he has a bad swing.
“We’ll see, I guess,’’ Radcliff said. “One thing I can say is this wasn’t a financial decision. We had no limit placed on us in advance.
“We just really like this guy as a player. We think he can hit.’’