May 2009


Twins-Rays: Cuddyer leaves game with strained finger

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer left Sunday’s game after striking out in the second inning. We’ll update his condition as soon as it becomes available. 

Update: Cuddyer has a right index finger injury. He has been taken for X-Rays.

Update: X-Rays didn’t reveal anything major. Cuddyer has a strained right index finger and is considered day-to-day.

 Twins manager Ron Gardenhire will count healthy bodies in the clubhouse and cobble a lineup together. The Twins are wounded and can use all the help they can get to avoid getting swept for the fourth time this season.

 Joe Crede is expected to miss the game with a bruised left knee. Joe Mauer might not be able to even DH after the beating he took behind and at the plate yesterday.

They are losing game they really aren’t that far out of – although I’ll admit that David Price could have been 80 feet, 8 inches from the plate and still overpowered several hitters yesterday.

Ben Revere was named Twins minor league player of the week after going 11-for-22 with three steals in 6 games for Class A Fort Myers.

Check back here for lineups and more. Gardy’s weekly show on KSTP begins around 9:30 a.m.

Update (9:35): Yep, Gardy is stressing over his starting nine. “I can’t fill out a lineup,” he said, half jokingly.

Mauer just arrived at the clubhouse and is seeing how his body responds to stretching and whirlpool time. He raised his workout shorts to reveal big bruises on the inside of each thigh. He also took a shot on his right side yesterday and fouled a pitch off his leg.

“I feel like I’ve been playing paintball,” Mauer said. “I’m going to check on some things and might make a case to Gardy.”

If Mauer can’t play, Alexi Casilla will bat second.

Crede is definitely out.

Chances are that Carlos Gomez will get the nod over Delmon Young.

Glen Perkins will throw in the bullpen this morning then drive down to Fort Myers, Fla. for rehab work. He’s expected to pitch on Thursday in the first of two outings. So Anthony Swarzak will stick around for little while.

11:28 update: Just got back from the clubhouse. Long session with Gardy. 

 Lineups

Twins (24-27)

1. Deanrd Span, LF
2. Alexi Casilla,2B
3. Justin Morneau, 1B
4. Jason Kubel, DH
5. Michael Cuddyer, RF
6. Bredan Harris, SS
7. Brian Buscher, 3B
8. Mike Redmond, C
9. Carlos Gomez, CF

Pitching: Nick Blackburn

Rays (25-27)

1. Ben Zobrist, 2B
2. Carl Crawford, LF
3. Evan Longoria, DH
4. Carlos Pena, 1B
5. Willy Aybar, 3B
6. Matt Joyce, CF
7. Gabe Gross, RF
8. Dioner Navaro, C
9. Reid Brignac, SS

Pitching: Matt Garza

Twins-Rays: Crede taken for X-Rays

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

Twins third baseman Joe Crede left the game in the fourth inning with a sore left knee. He fouled a pitch off the knee earlier in the game. He was taken for X-Rays.

We’ll update as soon as we learn more details…

Update: X-Rays were negative. Crede is day-to-day with a left knee contusion…

Back to old programming…. 

Three Doors Down will play a one-hour set following tonight’s game. This place is loud enough with cowbell and piped-in crowd noise without music, so the scribes will move out of the main pressbox after the game and into the dining room to write stories. I like live music, so I might try to suck it up and write while listening to, “It’s Not My Time,” and their other tunes.

Alexi Casilla is here. He’s in a much better frame of mind than he was when he was sent down. But Gardy has him batting ninth. The manager would love to move Casilla back into the No. 2 spot but wants him to hit his way there first.

Jason Kubel isn’t in the lineup after  a night of spinning at James Shields change ups. Gardy said Kubel tweaked his sore knee while striking out early in the game and almost took him out. Kubel is well enough to play but Gardenhire wants to give him a break. Kubel has been pull-happy lately and needs to get back to using more  of the field.

Nick Punto’s sore groin muscle will need some time to heal. But consider him to be on the 15-day mentally disabled list, too. He needs to clear his mind.

Kevin Slowey will be miked for today’s game on FOX

If they show Liriano warm up in the bullpen before the game, compare his follow-through to when he crosses the white  line and pitches in the game.

 Lineups

Twins (24-26)

1. Denard Span, LF
2. Joe Mauer, C
3. Justin Morneau, 1B
4. Michael Cuddyer, RF
5. Joe Crede, 3B
6. Brendan Harris, SS
7. Delmon Young, DH
8. Carlos Gomez, CF
9. Alexi Casilla, 2B

Pitching: Francisco Liriano

Rays (24-27)

1. B.J. Upton, CF
2. Carl Crawford, LF
3. Evan Longoria, 3B
4. Carlos Pena, 1B
5. Willy Aybar, 2B
6. Ben Zobrist, SS
7. Joe Dillon, DH
8. Gabe Kapler, RF
9. Michel Hernandez, C

Pitching: David Price 

Punto lands on DL. Casilla recalled.

Friday, May 29th, 2009

The Twins placed Nick Punto on the DL after the game. Brendan Harris will take over at short. Alexi Casilla will move in at second. Matt Tolbert will back them up.

More details later. On deadline…..

Update: O.K, I’m back.

First of all Ben, we still publish a newspaper. I had to finish the game story by 11 p.m. before I could come back here and add to this post. If you don’t understand that, that’s your problem.

Trish: I think I saw your friends in the pressbox before the game. One was wearing a Crede t-shirt. I haven’t seen many of those.

Thrylos: Trust me, I’m trying to nudge Morneau along with this. He said he hoped to have something done by the end of the road trip. We’ll see. I’m hoping he writes a lot about the team but he’s already planning to rip me for part of it. “Everyone rips me, that’s nothing new,” I told him.

About the move: Gardy was agitated before the game that he didn’t have middle infielder available off the bench. So we kind of got the idea then that something would go down.

I asked Gardy what would he have done in the eighth if Harris had gotten on and Tolbert had to hit. “I would have done something,” he said. Then he said he might have sent Delmon Young up to pinch hit, then used him in the infield. Wow.

Punto told me he needed a couple more days. But Gardy wanted backup. Casilla  has been getting his hits and trying to play consistently good defense. He was a wreck when he got sent out. Hopefully he had time to clear his head.

Good for Tolleson. The Twins were high on their middle infield at New Britain. Tolleson carries himself very well. I think if he was called up to the majors right now he could handle it mentally. The Twins also like Brian Dinkleman at New Britain. Terry Ryan thinks he has leadership qualities.

Twins-Rays: First of three from The Trop

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Scott Baker pitched 8.1 innings in his last outing and will try to back it up as the Twins try to improve their awful road record. 

Here’s the Twins’ lineup. Will update later.

Update: Nick Punto’s sore groin muscle is still sore, and manager Ron Gardenhire isn’t happy that he doesn’t have a backup middle infielder. He indicated that he might explore a temporary solution.

Punto said he needs a couple more days – and that the errant throws he’s made recently are because of the groin.

Boof Bonser and Pat Neshek are with the team this weekend, a little escape from the monotony that is rehabbing in Fort Myers, Fla. Neshek, out for the year because of Tommy John surgery, is doing long toss drills every other day. Bonser is ahead of schedule in his comeback from shoulder surgery. More on that later.

 Carlos Gomez is 4-for-6 against James Shields, so he’s in there tonight.

Watch out for Jason Kubel, he’s 7-for-12 with a homer off of Shields.

Mauer at The Trop: .417, 3 homers.

Morneau at The Trop; .317, 3 homers.

Twins (24-25) 

1, Denard Span, LF
2. Joe Mauer, C
3. Justin Morneau, 1B
4. Jason Kubel, DH
5. Michael Cuddyer, RF
6. Joe Crede, 3B
7. Brendan Harris, SS
8. Matt Tolbert, 2B
9. Carlos Gomez, CF
Pitching: Scott Baker

Rays (23-27)

1. B.J. Upton, CF
2. Carl Crawford, LF
3. Evan Longoria, 3B
4. Carlos Pena, 1B
5. Willy Aybar, DH
6. Ben Zobrist, 2B
7. Gabe Gross, RF
8. Dioner Navarro, C
9. Reid Brignac, SS

Pitching: James Shields  

Twins-Red Sox: Postgame

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

X-Rays on Joe Crede’s right hand showed only a bruise. He’ll try to grip a bat tomorrow.

Nick Blackburn looked headed for a short night after throwing 44 pitches over the first two innings. But he threw five pitches in the third and seemed to settle in after that. He set a career high with seven strikeouts.

“I thought that was huge,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “After that, he settled into a groove. His sinker was really good. He worked hard in and used his breaking ball and used his change up. I think it was just a matter of he didn’t give into them. He started pounding the strike zone and locating really good after he had that quick inning.”

Blackburn walked two batters – the first walk issued by the Twins in 18 innings.

Brendan Harris ended a 0-for-11 skid with his single in the fifth.

Nick Punto’s single in the fifth ended a 0-for-13 skid. He came back with a double in the seventh off of Josh Bard. So Punto gets a hit off of the 97-mile an hour throwing Bard while Joe Mauer strikes out against him. You can never have this game figured out.

The Twins have hit 38 homers in 24 May games after hitting 16 homers in April.

Joe C. is in the driver’s seat tomrrow while I work ahead on a couple things. I will try to post some minor league notes tomorrow, but I also will be at Brit’s to watch the Champions League final. The local Manchester United supporters group wants me to watch the match with them at The Local – but I’m pulling for Barcelona.