April 2008


Twins Recall Cuddyer, Send Span To Rochester

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Michael Cuddyer has been activated from the 15-day disabled list after recovering from a dislocated and lacerated right index finger. He’s expected to be in the lineup on Friday when the Twins open a three-game series at Texas.

Outfielder Denard Span was optioned back to Class AAA Rochester. Span, playing out of position in right field, batted .258 in 12 games.

“I just wanted to come up here and have an opportunity to play at this level,” Span said. “Now I know I can play up here. (I’ll) go down there and continue to have the same mentality I had when I got sent down in spring training and prove to everybody that I should be here permanently.”

Twins-A’s: Frank Thomas, Carlos Gomez, Champions League Semis

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Frank Thomas has signed with the Oakland A’s. This move doesn’t make sense to me because the A’s already have Mike Sweeney at DH and, judging by his at-bats the past two games, Sween-Dog has plenty of offense left in him.

Should the Twins have signed Sweeney (he’s making $500,000) instead of dealing for Craig Monroe (who’s making $3.82M)? I was told that Sweeney was in the picture right up until the Twins signed Monroe before the tender date. For flexibility, it’s better to have Monroe, who can play the outfield (although that hasn’t happened yet).

I was unable to get to Carlos Gomez before yesterday’s game. But here’s what he said after the game about not being in the starting lineup. 

“I come here everyday and watch the lineup. In this game you don’t have anything (given to you). 

“I know the manager say, `Carlos, you’re not in the lineup today. Don’t be like, `Uh-oh.’ ” I say, `You don’t have to tell me this. I’m on the team. I start the game, or I’ll be ready where you can use me later and you can use me to win the game with defense, with speed.”

“He said, `I’m the manager, I have to tell you first.’ I say, `Nah, Nah, not me. I’ll be ready. You don’t put me in the lineup. I’ll be ready.’ ”

On his slump: “The last three days, I feel good at the plate but it’s the game. That happens.”

Was on the phone with Joe C. this morning, talking about Frank Thomas and things, when he asked, “Is there going to be any scoring in these Champions League semifinals? There’s been only one legitimate goal scored so far.”

I missed yesterday’s match and can’t believe Ronaldo missed the penalty. I did catch Kuyt’s goal on Tuesday and Riise’s own goal. But there’s a great chance the second leg of the semis will be explosive because it will be do or die. And the Champions League final on May 21 is must-see TV.

The A’s are taking batting practice. And there’s Frank Thomas in white and green. Lineups to follow….

Sorry, was on the field for a while before the game. I han’t seen half the coaching staff with the two late deadline games, so I had to catch up on some things.

Mauer gets the day game after a night game off. Gardy said before the game that Kubel is going so good right now that he wants him in against lefties and righties. Mike Sweeney AND Thomas are in the A’s lineup. And watch out for Greg Smith. He’s supposed to have an excellent pickoff move.

Twins (10-11): 1. Gomez, CF. 2. Harris, 2B. 3. Kubel, RF. 4. Morneau, 1B. 5. Young, LF. 6. Monroe, DH. 7. Redmond, C. 8. Buscher, 3B. 9. Punto, SS. Pitching: Liriano.

Athletics (13-9): 1. Suzuki, C. 2. Ellis, 2B. 3. Sweeney. 1B. 4. Thomas, DH. 5. Brown, RF. 6. Crosby, SS. 7. Denorfia, LF. 8. Murphy, 3B. 9. Davis, CF. Pitching: Smith.

Gomez Not In The Lineup Tonight

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Joe C. gets his wish, sort of.  Denard Span is leading off and playing in center field tonight as the Twins give the super-scuffling Carlos Gomez a night off. 

 “He really fought it last night,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I need to play the other young man (Span) anyway,  so I figured this would be a good time for him to sit and watch a baseball game.”

Matt Tolbert is in for Brendan Harris at second and is batting second. I’ll have the full lineup in about 90 minutes, after the clubhouse opens and Gardy does his presser.

Meanwhile, I’d like to point out that John Smoltz has now joined the 3,000 strikeout club . Of the 16 members, only one player who is officially retired is not in the Hall of Fame – Bert Blyleven.

I’ve voted for Bert for The Hall annually. No one has had to twist my arm about his candidacy. Many of the managers and coaches I’ve covered since 1994 who faced Bert said he belongs. Bob Boone used to say that Blyleven put so much spin on his curveball that it would make an incredible buzzing sound as it neared the plate. Opponents didn’t want to face him.

And the strikeouts aren’t the only reason why I think Blyleven should be in.

Lineups

Twins (10-10): Denard Span, CF. 2. Matt Tolbert, 2B. 3. Joe Mauer, C. 4. Justin Morneau, 1B. 5.  Delmon Young, LF. 6. Jason Kubel, RF. 7. Craig Monroe, DH. 8. Mike Lamb, 3B. 9. Nick Punto, SS. Pitching: Boof Bonser.

Athletics (12-9): 1. Kurt Suzuki, C. 2. Daric Barton, 1B. 3. Mark Ellis, 2B. 4. Mike Sweeney, DH. 5. Jack Cust, LF. 6. Emil Brown, RF. 7. Bobby Crosby, SS. 8. Ryan Sweeney, CF.  9. Donnie Murphy, 3B. Pitching: Chad Gaudin.

Twins-Athletics: Tuesday (oops) Pre-game

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

What a town.

I was waiting on my floor for the elevator today when someone came storming out of a room complaining that it’s Earth Day and the hotel should be embarrassed that it still leaves newspapers at the door of each hotel room.

I grabbed one of those papers to take to lunch, when I was drawn to a headline in the local news section: “Most Stores Out Of Matzo For Passover.” The reporter called around to a bunch of stores in town and found out that there was a Matzo drought. I mean, that’s gotta be a lot of missing Matzo, right?

While walking back from lunch to the hotel, I was on a rather busy street where a man was urinating into a corner of a building. Not down an alley. On a street with a lot of people walking by. Everyone else seemed to have blinders on.

I’m at the park now, where it’s overcast and in the 50′s. We may even get a sprinkle of rain during the game, but nothing that’s expected to slow up the game.

Craig Monroe is 7 for 11 against Joe Blanton and is the designated hitter tonight. Gardy said he needs to get Span and Tolbert into a game, so it sounds like they’ll play tomorrow.

Michael Cuddyer is on track to return to the club on Friday. He’s down at extended spring training in Fort Myers, Fla. and is expected to play Wednesday or Thursday – or in both games.

Adam Everett had a second cortisone shot in his shoulder yesterday. The Twins are confident they’re got the problem identified now.

Lineups

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

Oakland (12-8): 1. Kurt Suzuki, C. 2. Daric Barton, 1B. 3. Mark Ellis, 2B. 4. Jack Cust, DH. 5. Emil Brown, LF. 6. Ryan Sweeney, CF. 7. Bobby Crosby, SS. 8. Travis Buck, RF. 9. Jack Hannahan, 3B. Pitching: Joe Blanton.

Late lineup change: Travis Buck has shin splints. Chris Denorfia is batting eighth and playing in left, with Emil Brown moves to right.

There is NOBODY here.

And, only in California can a team play a tape of a saxophone version of the National Anthem..

Live From The Bay Area

Monday, April 21st, 2008

Walked out of my home at 9:30 this morning. Pulled up at the San Francisco Marriott at 7 p.m.  Just a normal travel day, as normal as flying through Phoenix to get to the Bay Area can be.

I got the most out of the day. Read the sports section and a read a few selected stories in the other sections of the Strib. Grabbed an Arizona Republic during the layover and read that sports section (my man Paul Coro covers the Suns). The big achievement was finishing the final 107 pages of a book I’ve been trying to finish since I-don’t-know-when.

It’s in the 50′s here, the sun is out and I’ll be on the hunt for some blackened halibut tonight.

Anyway, just wanted to let everyone know that we’re gonna try to big back the weekly minor league report to the Sunday sports section (cue McFadden and Whitehead). Not sure what form it will be in, but keep an eye out for some sort of update on Twins prospects. We’re aware how much you crave that info, so we’re going to try to give you what you want. Somewhere, Seth Stohs is steaming…

Here’s the box score from Kevin Slowey’s rehab start today for Class A Fort Myers. Looks like the Miracle came to hit, especially Johnny Woodard.