August 2007

Between-games update

Friday, August 31st, 2007

I ran down to the clubhouse after the first game to hear Gardy lament the poor defensive plays and lack of clutch hitting. Then I went out into the clubhouse and got a nice surprise.

Francisco Liriano, Glen Perkins and Jesse Crain – nearly 30 percent of the Twins 2008 pitching staff next season, maybe – were in the clubhouse.

Liriano, coming back from Tommy John surgery, looks really good. I heard some rumors that he had gained weight, but I couldn’t tell. Come to think about it, how can you add blubber if you’re working out every day during the summer in Fort Myers, Fla.?

As of now, the Twins hope Liriano can get back on the mound by Nov. 1.

I’m not sure why Perkins is here. He had two disastrous rehab stints at Class AA New Britain and he’s not close to being able to help out the team. Maybe the club will have him work out in the bullpen, throw a couple of simulated games and see if he can get a few innings in during September.

Crain, coming back from surgery to repair a torn labrum and rotator cuff, is making steady progress and wants to be back for the start of 2008. If he pulls that off, it will be a near-miracle.

Both Liriano and Crain won’t know what they have, stuffwise and velo wise, until they climb on a mound. It’s still good to see them and it gets you thinking about 2008 even more.

Joe Mauer is on the field, playing catch. Don’t know what that means, but at least he’s not longer hanging out in the trainer’s room…and now Mauer has grabbed a bat and looks headed to the cage for some swings…


Twins-Cleveland: Salvage a 5-2 road trip

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Isn’t that funny to look at? If the Twins win today they’ll go 5-2 on this trip, yet the trip will be defined by what they failed to do in their head-to-head with the Indians.

They must win this game, then take three from the Tribe next week at the Dome – which may begin with another Santana-Sabathia showdown on Monday, so you may want to wander downtown.

Torii is beat up after crashing into the wall on Tuesday, but he’s not sitting this one out.

The Twins are very disappointed in Glen Perkins’ rehab outing on Tuesday for Class AA New Britain. In addition to giving up two homers and six runs, he failed to back up third on one play, failed to cover first on another, tipped his pitches and looked lethargic on the mound. He’s not getting activated anytime soon, based on that outing.

By the way, E-Town outfielder Ozzie Lewis has been named Appalachian League player of the year. He hit .325 with 9 homers and 50 RBI. It happened a few days ago, sorry.



Twins: 1. Casilla, 2B. 2. Bartlett, SS. 3. Hunter, CF. 4.  Morneau, 1B. 5. Cuddy, RF. 6. Rondell, DH. 7. Redmond, C. 8. Tyner, LF. 9. Punto, 3B. Pitching: Santana

Santana:1. Sizemore, CF. 2. Cabrera, SS. 3. Hafner, DH. 4. Martinez, C. 5. Garko, 1B. 6. Guiterrez, RF. 7. Lofton, LF. 8. Gomez, 2B. 9. Blake, 3B. Pitching: C.C.


Twins Postgame: They can’t win like this

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

The Twins are playing better baseball but they still can’t gain ground on Cleveland and Detroit. The thing about Tuesday’s loss is that the Twins killed themselves with mistakes.

Boof Bonser left a ball up to Travis Hafner and then fell behind 2-0 to Grady Sizemore. Both turned into homers. And it’s deflating when a team rallies to tie the game and then watches the other team take the lead back in the next frame.

Torii may have been safe at first when he dived back into the bag – but he shouldn’t have made that big of a turn in the first place.

Jason Bartlett got a bad bounced on the ball that ate him up in the first inning - but that run came around on Hafner’s homer.

And I agree with Gardy that the situation in the eighth called for a lefty reliever. But that’s a big situation to bring the inexperienced Cali into. I may have started Neshek. 

I think the offense is back to thinking it can score a few runs now, which could be a boost, but it’s not enough if they don’t clean up the other things.

In order to pull this off, they have to be on top of their game. Runners have to get moved over and driven in. Bases have to be run well. The defense has to be tight. By the way, did Nick Punto make one of the plays of the year, or what?

Jason Tyner has five career four-hit games.

Jason Bartlett is batting .514 over his last eight games.

Torii is batting .361 over his last 15 games.

 Joe Borowski leads the AL with 38 saves. How has he pulled that off?



Twins-Cleveland: Boof needs to step up tonight

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

The Twins bullpen is worn down. Gardy said that Boof Bonser needs to pitch deep into tonight’s game things could get ugly.

Mike Redmond aggravated his middle finger again, but has no choice but to play. Gardy wants to play Chris Heintz at first, catch Redmond and use Justin Morneau as the DH on Wednesday, but he’s monitoring Redmond’s finger.

Kevin Slowey has been named International League pitcher of the year.


Twins: 1. Tyner, LF. 2. Bartlett, SS. 3. Hunter, CF. 4. Morneau, 1B. 5. Cuddyer, RF. 6. Kubel, DH. 7. Redmond, C. 8. Buscher, 3B. 9. Punto, 2B. Pitcher: Bonser.

Indians: 1. Sizemore, CF. 2. Cabrera, 2B. 3. Hafner, DH. 4. Martinez, C. 5. Garko, 1B. 6. Peralta, SS. 7. Lofton, LF. 8. Nison, RF. 9. Blake, 3B. Pitching: Westbrook.






Twins-Indians, the red-eye edition

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Folks, I had planned to post this morning because I have a bunch of leftover stuff from the weekend, plus some minor league notes. But I’m working on just three hours of sleep.

I was at Camden Yards until 8 p.m., finishing up daily stuff. I called for a cab to take me to a hotel near BWI airport. I discovered that the door I usually exit the stadium through was locked. I had to go out the service entrance, but never found it. Someone directed me through a tunnel and up into that long building beyond the right field wall you used to see when Rafael Palmiero hit some of his B-12 powered home runs.

That door was locked too, so I went behind the security desk and contacted building services, when I was told to look for a small button on the wall to push to release the door out. Meanwhile, the cab was waiting for me on the other side of the stadium. I called the dispatcher to send the cab to the new location.

A few minutes later, there was the cab….with a police car right behind it, lights flashing! I waited 20 minutes for the cabbie to get a ticket for running a red light. I finally arrived at the hotel at 10:30 (the cabbie complained about the ticket most of the way), got a quick bite to eat and tried to go to sleep. I had a 4 a.m. wake up call to catch a 6:15 a.m. flight out, but I was staring at the ceiling at 2 a.m. Going to bed at 3 a.m. Sunday morning after a rain-delayed game, followed by a 4 a.m. wake up call the next morning throws you off.

Does anyone else really care about this? Let’s move on to baseball.

Joe Mauer said the hammy feels a little better today, but I don’t expect him on the field until next week at the earliest.

Kevin Slowey may not be called up Friday after all. It depends if Scott Baker, who’s with his wife and newborn son, can return on Wednesday and throw in the bullpen. Baker didn’t get normal side work in before Sunday’s start and it showed.

The unknown in all this is that the Baker baby is five weeks premature, and Scott has to make sure everything is fine with the family first.


Twins: 1. Casilla, 2B. 2. Bartlett, SS. 3. Torii, CF. 4. Morneau, 1B. 5. Cuddy, RF. 6. Kubix, DH. 7. Redmond, C. 8. Tyner, LF. 9. Punto, 3B. Pitching: Silva.

Indians: 1. Grady, CF. 2. Cabrera, 2B. 3. Hafner, DH. 4. Martinez, 1B. 5. Peralta, SS. 6. Blake, 3B. 7. Lofton, LF. 8. Gutierrez, RF. 9. Shoppach, C. Pitching: Byrd.