May 2008


Twins-Bronx Bombers: Punto returns

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

The Twins activated Nick Punto from the disabled list and designated Howie Clark for assignment.

Punto was immediately inserted as the starting shortstop tonight – but I wouldn’t be surprised if Twins manager Ron Gardenhire sticks with him there for awhile.

Gardy values defense up the middle over offense, and Brendan Harris  missed two plays in the field during Friday’s loss to the Yanks. I’m getting wind that Punto and Alexi Casilla will remain up the middle while Brendan Harris splits time at third with Mike Lamb.

All Gardy would say on the record before the game that he’s, “open to anything,” when asked if Harris is going to get playing time at third.

Boof Bonser is on the hill here. Scott Baker is on the hill at Fort Myers. Check in on the game here.  Needless to say,  this is a massive start for Boof.

Lineups

Bombers (27-27): 1. Johnny Damon, LF. 2. Derek Jeter, SS. 3. Bobby Abreu, RF. 4. A-Rod, 3B. 5. Hideki Matsui, DH. 6. Jason Giambi, 1B. 7. Robinson Cano, 2B. 8. Jose Molina, C. 9. Melky Cabrera, CF. Pitching: Wang.

Twins (28-26): 1. Carlos Gomez, CF. 2. Alexi Casilla, 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. Nick Punto, SS. Pitching: Boof. 

Twins-Bronx Bombers: First of four tonight at the Dome

Friday, May 30th, 2008

The Yankees will never be accused of not working hard. They arrived in the Twin Cities on Thursday so they worked out early Friday afternoon. Watched Derek Jeter get in 1 million swings and A-Rod take 1 million grounders at third.

The Yanks kicked around the idea of starting Joba Chamberlain here on Monday but have decided to start him on Tuesday. I’m curious to see how that works out. They’ve tried to stretch him out through extra bullpen work, which means he’snot used to facing lineups 2-3 times. I think that’s a mistake.

Delmon Young is back in the lineup today.

Mike Redmond was texting Nick Punto for baby updates before the game. Nothing yet. If there are no complications, Punto should be activated this weekend, with either Matt Macri or Howie Clark headed back to Rochester. My educated guess would be Macri so he can play. Howie Clark would lose development time on the bench at his age. (more…)

Perkins looks good

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Glen Perkins had his best changeup of his three starts on Tuesday as he navigated through a pretty good Rangers lineup.

What impressed me was that Perkins changed speeds from the first batter of the game until he was removed with one out in the seventh inning to rousing applause. He moved the ball around the plate, and Gardenhire was very pleased that Perkins pitched inside to keep hitters honest.

Perkins has pitched 23 games out of the bullpen since debuting in 2006, but in his three appearances as a starter we’re getting a better idea of what he can do – and Twins fans have to be encouraged that Perkins looks focused and determined to establish himself. The Twins have had many internal debates about Perkins and if he’s a starter or a reliever – and there are varying opinions.

Last year was really a lost season for him because of the muscle problem near his shoulder. Perkins talked at length during spring training about how he wouldn’t mind being in the bullpen, where he could impact a game more often. I think he just really wanted to break camp with the team and was willing to take on any role. (more…)

Twins pregame: Matt Tolbert to have surgery

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

After being examined on Tuesday, Twins infielder Matt Tolbert said that he will have surgery on Thursday to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb. He’ll need about 5-6 weeks to recover before resumes baseball activities, so it could be closer to two months before he plays again.

Tolbert was examined by Twins’ hand specialist Dr. Tom Varecka, who looked at Tolbert’s reports for just one minute before agreeing with an earlier recommendation that the infielder needed surgery.

Tolbert isn’t an expert, but said he was told that the ligament is torn away from the bone.

“100 percent recovery, supposedly.” Tolbert said. “I’m just ready to get it done.”

Tolbert injured his thumb when he dived for first base on Thursday while making the final out of the game.

In other news….

Watched an interesting drill on the field today. Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer and Craig Monroe all spent time at home plate, where a ball was placed on a tee for them to swat at. (more…)

Twins-Rockies: Sunday morning notes, plus lineups

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

Well, it looks like Danny Graves another good outing for Class AAA Rochester as he burns up the comeback trail. I’m sure the Twins are tracking his progress intently and thinking the former All-Star might be able to slide into the back of the bullpen if needed.

The only problem now is that the Twins’ 40-man roster is full, but that’s not really a problem because a team usually can find someone to sneak through waivers to make room for someone. As someone pointed out, they could always move Pat Neshek to the 60-day DL, which free up 40-man space.

Notice that Denard Span went 2 for 2 with THREE walks on Saturday. He’s batting .457 over his last ten games. Overall, he’s batting .378 with a .486 on base percentage.

You know, if Carlos Gomez’s wrist needs a few days to heal, the Twins may call Span back up, let Gomez get plenty of rest and see what Span can do in center. Why not? Gomez is the center fielder of the present and future, but there’s nothing wrong with having depth – or someone other teams may want to trade for. (more…)