June 2009

Twins-Astros: Lineups

Friday, June 19th, 2009

A little nugget from the Twins’ PR staff: 

The Twins have five players with at least 10 homers - Justin Morneau (16), Joe Mauer (13), Jason Kubel (11), Joe Crede (10), Michael Cuddyer (10). It’s the first time five Twins have hit double digits in homers before the All-Star break since 1987.

Denard Span is getting some early work in as he recovers from a recent bout of dizziness.

Fans are lined up all over the Dome for Kent Hrbek bobblehead day.

No Astros lineup yet

Update: Span is feeling better but is not all the way there yet. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he would feel more comfortable if Span went on a brief minor league rehab assignment before coming off the disabled list.

Gardenhire noted that Alexi Casilla recently made an error on a routine play at Class AAA Rochester. “I don’t like to see that,” he said.

I spoke with La Troy Hawkins before the game. The feeling I got was that talks NEVER got interesting between the Astros and Twins for him. They might have failed to get past first base, actually. 

 Astros (31-35)

1. Michael Bourn, CF
2. Jeff Keppinger, 3B
3. Miguel Tejada, SS
4. Carlos Lee, DH
5. Lance Berkman, 1B
6. Hunter Pence, RF
7. Ivan Rodriguez, C
8. Kazuo Matsui, 2B
9. Darin Erstad, LF

Pitching: RHP Roy Oswalt

Twins (34-34)

1. Brendan Harris, SS
2. Joe Mauer, C
3. Justin Morneau, 1B
4. Jason Kubel, DH
5. Michael Cuddyer, RF
6. Joe Crede, 3B
7. Delmon Young, LF
8. Carlos Gomez, CF
9. Nick Punto, 2B

Pitching: RHP Kevin Slowey

Twins-Pittsburgh: No Mauer. Buscher grabs a bat.

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire will hold his presser in about 10 minutes. Here’s the Twins lineup. Will post updates  in about an hour.

Lefties are batting  .346 off of Zach Duke.

Update:  Gardenhire said the flu bug that Joe Mauer has been dealing with for the last week  just won’t go away, so he won’t start.   “It’s time,” said Gardenhire, who thought Mauer’s bat looked a little slow yesterday.

Both Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson think Francisco Liriano wasn’t that bad last night. Anderson noted that Liriano used his change up more as the game went on. Anderson’s next goal is get Liriano stay tall in his delivery and get a little more movement on his slider.

Just got word that Aaron Hicks, the Twins’ first round pick from last year’s draft, is headed to Class A Beloit.

Pirates (31-34)

1. Andrew McCutchen, CF
2. Nyjer Morgan, LF
3. Eric Hinske, DH
4. Adam LaRoche, 1B
5. Andy LaRoche, 3B
6. Brandon Moss, RF
7. Jason Jaramillo, C
8. Ramon Vazquez, 2B
9. Jack Wilson, SS

Twins (33-34)

1. Carlos Gomez, CF
2. Brendan Harris, 2B
3. Justin Morneau, 1B
4. Michael Cuddyer, RF
5. Jason Kubel, LF
6. Joe Crede, 3B
7. Brian Buscher, DH
8. Mike Redmond, C
9. Nick Punto, 2B

Pitching: Nick Blackburn

Twins-Cubs: Crede scratched with a stiff lower back

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Twins third baseman Joe Crede is a no-go today because of a stiff lower back. So the Twins will try to sweep the Cubs while down three regulars - Crede, Michael Cuddyer and Denard Span.

Matt Tolbert will start at third and bat leadoff, with Brendan Harris sliding down to fifth.

We’ll learn more after the game. 

 Back to the show….

I missed the naked bike ride.

Every year, a group of people take off their clothes, hop on their bikes and ride through downtown Chicago.  I overheard some chatter about the ride at the ballpark yesterday but didn’t believe what I was hearing. But I met two female friends after Bluesfest and they excitedly showed me photos of bikers in the buff.

Wow. Twisted. Dangerous.

Putting the word naked in front of any verb usually spices up things, but I can’t grasp the concept of riding in the raw.

I was with a group of 12 14 people last night, including two friends from Cleveland, a couple firefighter buddies from Milwaukee and friends from the Twin Cities. Despite my activites, I woke right up at 6:30 this morning, dressed and headed for the park.

The corner of Clark and Addison sure showed the stress of imbibing baseball fans and other thrill-seekers from yesterday. Trash lined the curbs. Empty pizza boxes leaned against buildings as I headed south on Clark hoping that a diner I last went to 15 years ago was still operating. It was 8 a.m. but there were two guys sitting at the base of the Harry Carry statue and three blondes waiting by one of the gates of  the  ballpark.

Past the Cubby Bear and Bar Louie and across from Slugger’s, there it was: The Salt and Pepper Diner.

It was  time for a little breakfast and to ponder the Twins roster  move.

Jose Morales can hit. And the Twins needed a healthy body with Denard Span and Michael Cuddyer down. And there’s the manager’s concerns about not wearing out Joe Mauer.

N.L. games aside, if Morales catches and Mauer DH’s, it’s likely that Jason Kubel is on the bench. And if Kubel doesn’t have the chance to go KuBoom, I think it takes away from the overall potency of the lineup. Kubel’s got to play everyday. When he’s hot, the lineup sizzles.

But this issue will never go away. Mauer is one of the top five  players in the game and will have to DH on days he needs to take it easy on his legs. There’s no getting around that. Can Kubel’s knees allow him to play the outfield every day. Doubt it. If he could, what does that mean for the other outfielders?

After failing to come to a conclusion on this Morales thing. I finished eating and walked a block over to the ballpark. The media enter through Gate G. As I walked through the gate, I spotted a film crew set up outside a Cubs apparel store. Suddenly, a women rushes out with Cubs flags in each hand, does a somersault and runs down concourse.

She was wearing a Cubs jersey. No. 22. The name DeGeneres on the back.

No way….

So I walked over to an official-looking man and asked him what was going on. The woman was a stunt double. They were filming something for Ellen’s show. 

So that sums up the past 12 hours in Chicago. Headed to the clubhouse and will post lineups soon.

Update: Michael Cuddyer has left the club to see hand specialist Dr. Tom Varecka TODAY. The Twins might know more about his condition by the end of the game.

Heard class AA New Britain catcher Wilson Ramos jhas pulled a hammy and could be out three weeks.

The naked bike ride had a police escort.

The Cubs have just fired hitting coach Gerald Perry. According AP, they pulled him off the field during batting practice and canned him. Von Joshua is getting called  up from the Iowa Cubs to replace him.

Twins (32-32)

1. Matt Tolbert, 3B
2. Joe Mauer, C
3. Justin Morneau, 1B
4. Jason Kubel, RF
5. Brendan Harris, SS
6. Delmon Young, LF
7. Carlos Gomez, CF
8. Nick Punto, 2B
9. Scott Baker, RHP

Cubs (29-30)

1. Alfonso Soriano, LF
2. Kosuke Fukudome, CF
3. Milton Bradley, RF
4. Derek Lee, 1B
5. Geovany Soto, C
6. Mike Fontenot, 3B
7. Ryan Theriot, SS
8. Aaron Miles, 2B
9. Ted Lilly, LHP

Twins send down Swarzak and call up Morales

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

Righthander Anthony Swarzak was sent to Class AAA Rochester after his excellent outing on Saturday and catcher Jose Morales was called up to replace him on the roster.

Morales, batting .273 overall, is batting .321 over his last six games. He was expected to arrive in Chicago this evening and be available for tomorrow’s series finale.

Morales gives the Twins a pinch-hitting option on Sunday and a little more protection for Joe Mauer when the Twins go back to AL play. But the length of Morales’ tour with the Twins likely will depend on if Michael Cuddyer (right index finger) or Denard Span (inner ear disorder) land on the disabled list.

The Twins will make another move before Tuesday, when lefthander Glen Perkins is expected to be activated and start against Pittsburgh at the Dome.

Cuddyer out of lineup as his finger flares up again. Roster move coming after the game

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer’s right index finger flared up again last night.

“He said if he had a saw, he would saw his finger off,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “That’s how much it’s bothering him.”

With Cuddyer out, the Twins’ bench today consists of Mike Redmond, Matt Tolbert and Brian Buscher.

“And this is an N.L. park,” the manager sighed.

Cuddyer is expected to meet with hand specialist Dr. Tom Varecka on Monday. The manager is hoping for answers on Cuddyer and outfielder Denard Span soon. Span’s ailment has been re-classified as an inner ear disorder. He’s going to see a specialist on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Twins will make a roster move either after today’s game or before tomorrow’s game when Anthony Swarzak is sent back to Class AAA Rochester. The bet here is that they will call up switch-hitting catcher Jose Morales. Morales, batting .273 overall, is batting .321 over his last six games.

Gardenhire said he looked to see if a player could fly in from Toledo, where Rochester is playing, in time for the game. But there’s not enough time for that.

Cuddyer is lucky. If there would have been time to fly someone in, Cuddyer could have landed on the DL – which Gardenhire was reluctant to do before he could be seen by a doctor.

It’s drizzling here. The tarp is down. The start might be delayed, but the game will be played.

Joe Mauer said that, after he singled in the first inning yesterday, the Twins fans roared and Cubs first baseman Derek Lee said to him. “Shoot, are we on the road?”

I keep hearing that even more Twins fans will be here today.  That will include my sister and brother, who are White Sox fans and want to see the Cubs go down. There are here because it’s my brother’s birthday and I bought tickets for them. The group includes my buddy Todd Metoxen, who vowed to bring Twins hats for them to wear during the game.

Don’t think my brother has the guts to wear his White Sox stuff up here.


Twins (31-32)

1. Brendan Harris, SS
2. Joe Mauer, C
3. Justin Morneau, 1B
4, Jason Kubel, RF
5. Joe Crede, 3B
6. Delmon Young, LF
7. Carlos Gomez, CF
8. Nick Punto, 2B
9. Anthony Swarzak, RHP

Cubs (29-29)

1. Alfonson Soriano, LF
2. Mike Fontenot, 3B
3. Milton Bradley, RF
4. Derek Lee, 1B
5. Geovany Soto, C
6. Kosuke Fukudome, CF
7. Ryan Theriot, SS
8. Aaron Miles, 2B
9. Rich Harden, RHP