May 2011

Twins at Tigers (Game 53)

DETROIT — Jason Kubel is out of the lineup today with his sprained left foot still bothering him. He said yesterday that he wasn’t sure if he injured while he planted to jump for Victor Martinez’s two-run homer or when he landed.

The Twins are certainly hoping he returns quickly, as Kubel and Denard Span have really been the only consistent hitters for the Twins this year. He’s currently not wearing a boot, but said he’ll wear one tomorrow and doesn’t think a trip to the disabled list is necessary.

“It’s a lot better,” Kubel said. “I woke up this morning and didn’t feel anything until walking on it. But it feels better walking around. So as long as keeps up like that, each day, it shouldn’t be too much longer.”

Matt Tolbert also gets his first start at shortstop since last Wednesday, as Trevor Plouffe remains on the bench of a second straight day.

Lineups for the 6:05 pm. CT start at Comerica Park

Twins (17-35):

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Alexi Casilla, 2B
3. Justin Morneau, 1B
4. Michael Cuddyer, RF
5. Jim Thome, DH
6. Danny Valencia, 3B
7. Delmon Young, LF
8. Rene Rivera, C
9. Matt Tolbert, SS

LHP Brian Duensing (2-5, 4.83 ERA, 4.11 FIP, 1.85 K/BB)

Tigers (27-26):

1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Casper Wells, RF
3. Brennan Boesch, DH
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Victor Martinez, C
6. Jhonny Peralta, SS
7. Brandon Inge, 3B
8. Ryan Raburn, LF
9. Danny Worth, 2B

RHP Max Scherzer (6-2, 3.86 ERA, 4.09 FIP. 2.35 K/BB)

Memorial Day: Twins vs. Tigers (Game 52)

Designated hitter Jim Thome, who had a cortisone shot in his left shoulder after Saturday’s game, returns to the lineup today against the Tigers and is batting sixth after sitting out on Sunday.

With Thome back in there, Michael Cuddyer moves to second base and Alexi Casilla goes back to shortstop with Trevor Plouffe on the bench after airmailing two throws in Sunday’s 6-5 loss to the Angels. The Twins are hoping Casilla continues to swing a hot bat — he’s hitting .529 (9-for-17) with three doubles and a triple over his last five games — and that it carries over on the road, as he’s hitting just .160/.232/.240 away from Target Field this year.

Here are the lineups for the 12:10 p.m. CT start against the Tigers at Comerica Park:

Twins (17-34)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Alexi Casilla, SS
3. Jason Kubel, RF
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Michael Cuddyer, 2B
6. Jim Thome, DH
7. Delmon Young, LF
8. Danny Valencia, 3B
9. Rene Rivera, C

RHP Nick Blackburn (4-4, 3.20 ERA, 1.75 K/BB, 4.41 FIP)

Tigers (26-26)

1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Andy Dirks, LF
3. Brennan Boesch, RF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Victor Martinez, DH
6. Jhonny Perlata, SS
7. Alex Avila, C
8. Ryan Raburn, 2B
9. Brandon Inge, 3B

RHP Brad Penny (4-4, 4.45 ERA, 1.23 K/BB, 4.49 FIP)

Update on Paul Bargas

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins released a statement on Minor League left-hander Paul Bargas, who was diagnosed with brain cancer during Spring Training.

Bargas, 22, who was acquired in an offseason trade with the Rockies for catcher Jose Morales, is currently undergoing chemotherapy. Twins general Bill Smith released this official statement with the permission of Bargas’ wife Victoria:

“Paul Bargas reported to the Twins Spring Training in Fort Myers in March. The following morning, during the course of his physical examination, he complained of severe headaches and exhibited significant disorientation. He was taken to Gulf Coast Hospital in Fort Myers where he remained for approximately one week. Paul was subsequently released and returned to his home in California for further examination. Following extensive evaluation at the UCLA Medical Center, Paul was diagnosed with Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma.

“He is undergoing several series of chemotherapy that will span over 3–4 months. Paul was admitted into the UCLA Medical Center this week to complete his second round of chemotherapy.

“Paul was just acquired during the off-season, and has only been a member of the Twins organization for a few months, but has shown great passion for the game of baseball and impressed everyone he met in this organization. We continue to monitor his progress and wish him great success in his recovery.”

Killebrew tribute (Game 46)

The Twins returned home to host the Mariners on Monday, and paid tribute to Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew in a variety of ways.

Several changes were made to Target Field to honor Killebrew, including the addition of his signature on the wall in right field and a black band to his retired number in left field. Additionally, a No. 3 flag was raised beneath the Twins Territory flag in right field before the game.

Killebrew’s No. 3 was also etched on the infield dirt behind second base and many fans wore No. 3 to the game to honor Killebrew, who died Tuesday after a battle with esophageal cancer.

The Twins also aired a video tribute to Killebrew prior to the game with messages from former teammate Tony Oliva, broadcaster Dick Bremer, and current Twins Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer and Joe Nathan.

In a touching moment, the entire team surrounded Killebrew’s No. 3 behind second base with manager Ron Gardenhire making a short speech about how much Killebrew meant to him and the entire Twins organization.

Here are some photos of the ways the Twins paid tribute to Killebrew on Monday, courtesy of Twins associate reporter Jordan Schelling:

Earlier in the day, the Twins also announced plans for Thursday’s public memorial at Target Field and the details can be found here

Fenway Park Tour (Game 33)

I got to the ballpark a little bit early today, and decided I might as well tag along on the official Fenway Park tour to get a better sense of history at the oldest stadium in baseball.

After all, this is my first trip to Boston and I’d never been to Fenway before the Twins’ four-game series here.

It turned out to be a great decision, as I had the chance to learn a lot about the history of the park, while also getting a chance to see all the vantage points of the stadium, as well as the Red Sox Hall of Fame.

I took quite a few pictures, and decided to upload a few of my favorites, including one of the famed red seat in right field where Ted Williams crushed the longest homer in Fenway history, 502 feat from home plate at Section 42, Row 37, Seat 21.

Here are a few of those pictures, as well as lineups for both teams:

Lineups for the 6:10 CT start on FS-North and ESPN:

1. Denard Span CF
2. Matt Tolbert SS
3. Jason Kubel DH
4. Justin Morneau 1B
5. Danny Valencia 3B
6. Cuddyer RF
7. Ben Revere LF
8. Rene Rivera C
9. Luke Hughes 2B

RHP Nick Blackburn (2-4, 4.41 ERA, 34 2/3 IP, 15 K, 13 BB, 5.53 FIP)

Red Sox:
1. Jacoby Ellsbury CF
2. Dustin Dustin Pedroia 2B
3. Adrian Gonzalez 1B
4. Kevin Youkilis 3B
5. David Ortiz DH
6. J.D. Drew RF
7. Jed Lowrie SS
8. Carl Crawford LF
9. Jason Varitek C

RHP Josh Beckett (2-1, 2.35 ERA, 38 1/3 IP, 35 K, 12 BB, 3.15 FIP)