April 2008


Twins-Rangers: The Weather Forecasters Down Here Are Just As Bad

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

It was supposed to rain all morning today, with a threat of showers during the afternoon. The alarmists predicted that the game would be rained out But noooooooooooooooo. It barely rained this morning.

The tarp is coming off the field. So ignore the NFL draft and watch the Twins try to win what may be their most important series in years.

O.K., I laid it on a little thick there.

Carlos Gomez said he can play today, but the Twins decided to give him another day since it’s wet outside. Plus the off day on Monday would give him another day to fully heal.

In case anyone missed it, Glen Perkins found his groove last night - and Rochester hitters found their groove against J.D. Durbin.

Eddie Guardado, who made his 800th career appearance on Saturday, has told a couple coaches that he would like to pitch for the Twins again someday. Keep that in mind.

And I want all of you to understand something. This Rangers team is one of the worst I’ve ever seen. They are a horrible defensive team, they don’t do the little things and this pitching staff is awful. I thought the Orioles would be the worst team in the AL this year. I was wrong.

Lineups

Twins (11-13): 1. Matt Tolbert, SS. 2. Brendan Harris, 2B. 3. Joe Mauer, C. 4. Justin Morneau, 1B. 5. Michael Cuddyer, RF. 6. Jason Kubel, DH. 7. Delmon Young, LF. 8. Mike Lamb, 3B. 9. Craig Monroe, CF. Pitching: Livan Hernandez.

Rangers (8-17): 1. Ian Kinsler, 2B. 2. Michael Young, SS. 3. Josh Hamilton, RF. 4. Milton Bradley, DH. 5. David Murphy, CF. 6. Jason Botts, LF. 7. Gerald Laird, C. 8. Ben Broussard, 1B. 9. Ramon Vazquez, 3B. Pitching: Vincente Padilla.

Gomez Sits Out With Bruised Calf -Baker Injured

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

Twins starter Scott Baker left Saturday’s game with a mild groin muscle strain. It doesn’t appear to be serious but we’ll know more after the game.

Carlos Gomez won’t play today because of the bruised calf he suffered on Friday, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire didn’t rule out the possibility that Gomez could start on Sunday.

Gomez clearly doesn’t know what to do with himself. He sat, not in front of his clubhouse stall, but inside it before the game. Never seen that before.

Gardy’s beat up, too. He’s already had two cortisone shots for an aching shoulder and did his pre-game presser on Saturday with a machine hooked up to one of his Achilles tendons.

Craig Monroe, who hails from Texarkana, Texas, starts in center tonight.

Justin Morneau is batting .373 with 7 homers and 23 RBI in 19 games against Texas since 2005. 

Finally, for you minor league fans: The Twins minor league report returns this weekend. It’s not as long as we hoped, but it’s better than nothing.

The first installment deals with injuries – namely Kyle Waldrop (out for the year) and Deibinson Romero (out for a month). But I just found out a couple hours ago about another injury.

Henry Sanchez, the Twins’ supplemental pick in 2005, apparently blew out a knee a few days ago during an extended spring training game. Jim Rantz, the Twins director of minor leagues, confirmed the injury but is still waiting for details (like how bad it is and which knee is injured). Based on what I was told by my source – a major leaguer who has the same agent as Sanchez – it’s not good.

Sanchez was drafted out of high school with a supplemental pick after the first round. He was regarded as the top prep power hitter in the draft that year. But he’s played just 91 games in three pro seasons. He had hand surgery in 2006 and spent last year dealing with problems in the same hand as well as a right knee sprain.

“We just can’t keep him healthy,” Rantz said Saturday.

Lineups

Twins (10-12): 1. Matt Tolbert, SS. 2. Brendan Harris, 2B. 3. Joe Mauer, C. 4. Justin Morneau, 1B. 5. Michael Cuddyer, RF. 6. Jason Kubel, DH. 7. Delmon Young, LF. 8. Mike Lamb, 3B. 9. Craig Monroe, CF. Pitching: Scott Baker

Rangers (8-16):  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B. 2. Michael Young, SS. 3. Josh Hamilton, CF. 4. Milton Bradley,  DH. 5. David Murphy, RF. 6. Jarrod Saltalalongishname, C. 7. Frank Catalanotto, LF. 8. Ben Broussard, 1B. 9. Ramon Vazquez, 3B. Pitching: Sidney Ponson.

Twins-Rangers postgame

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

Ron Gardenhire held a brief post game presser tonight because he was really upset with some things that went on tonight.

Frankly, the Twins should have won this one 12-3.

Nick Blackburn gave the Rangers a diet of first pitch fastballs in the third inning and let them back in the game.

Mike Lamb needs to start hitting.

Delmon Young didn’t have a good game. Gardy suggested that he threw to the wrong base three times. I thought it was twice, plus the ball he overran in the third for an error. Young also chased some bad pitches.

But he wasn’t alone. A few other hitters chased bad pitches late in the game, and the lack of professional at-bats after leadoff hitters reached base in the late innings will lead to losses most of the time.

Jason Kubel hit ANOTHER ball hard that was caught. 

There were rumors flying during the game that the Rangers were going to call up Sidney Ponson to start on Saturday. That will be entertaining. But it’s all on Scott Baker to prove he can be a stopper and keep the Twins’ skid from becoming a real losing streak.

Twins Option Francisco Liriano To Rochester, Other Pre-Game News

Friday, April 25th, 2008

[Update]: Carlos Gomez left the game in the fourth inning with a left calf strain and is listed as day-to-day. Doesn’t appear to be serious. 

Francisco Liriano’s next steps of his comeback will be taken at Class AAA Rochester, as the Twins optioned the struggling lefthander there this afternoon. The move opens up a roster spot for righthander Bobby Korecky, who was told he was being promoted on Thursday.

Liriano was 0-3 with a 11.32 ERA in three starts since being called up on Apr. 11. He was knocked out of Thursday’s start after two-thirds of an inning, and told the coaching staff afterward that he had lost the confidence to throw strikes.

The Twins hope Liriano regains that confidence pitching for the Red Wings, where he will work with pitching coach Stu Cliburn.

Korecky, 28, was 2-1 with a 0.68 ERA with five saves in ten games for the Red Wings. He set a Rochester record with 35 saves last season.

Adam Everett played catch and hit before the game, so he’s moving right along in his rehab from sore shoulder.

George Morneau, Justin’s father, is in town.“He called and said, `What are you going this weekend? There’s a plane ticket for you at the airport.’ ” George said. He’s a hoot to talk to.

Bobby Korecky is here and ready to pitch.

Michael Cuddyer is back in the lineup. He’s batting .457 against Kevin Millwood so it’s good timing.

Nick Punto is 7 for 14 against Millwood

Brendan Harris hit .458 against Texas last season.

Former Twin Eddie Guardado as been activated by the Rangers and is available this weekend.

Now for the lineup. It’s not what I expected with Cuddyer coming back, but Gardy said he’ll stick with this (at least the top eight), if it takes off.

Twins (10-12): Carlos Gomez, CF. 2. Brendan Harris, 2B. 3. Joe Mauer, C. 4. Justin Morneau, 1B. 5. Michael Cuddyer, RF. 6. Jason Kubel, RF. 7. Delmon Young, LF. 8. Mike Lamb, 3B. 9. Nick Punto, SS. Pitching: Nick Blackburn.

Rangers (7-16 and on a seven-game losing streak): 1. Ian Kinsler, 2B. 2. Michael Young, SS. 3. Josh Hamilton, CF. 4. Hank Blalock, 3B. 5. Jason Botts, DH. 6. Frank Catalanotto, LF. 7. David Murphy, RF. 8. Gerald Laird, C. 9. Ben Broussard, 1B. Pitching: Kevin Milwood. 

Has The Decision on Liriano Been Made?

Friday, April 25th, 2008

I’m changing planes and about to catch a red-eye to Dallas. Got online and read a story in the Rochester newspaper that Bobby Korecky has been called up.

The Twins have not officially announced this move, but it’s standard practice for the player to be called up to be told before we’re told. And I’m sure the travel is a factor in this news not being released by the club.

As the story points out, either Francisco Liriano or Brian Bass could be headed to Rochester to create a spot for Korecky. My guess is that it’s Liriano. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire hinted strongly that Liriano needed to go to the minors and regain his confidence after falling apart against Oakland on Thursday.

Don’t forget, the Twins have three off days over an eight-day stretch starting on Monday. They could go with a four-man rotation for awhile, and this allows Gardenhire to have a fresh arm in Korecky in the bullpen after using his bullpen in relief of Liriano.

Good for Korecky. He’s not overpowering but he’s on the 40-man roster and is getting his chance.