April 2012

Game 22: Mauer held out of starting lineip

ANAHEIM — After playing in every inning of the Twins’ first 21 games, catcher Joe Mauer is being held out of the lineup against the Angels tonight after taking a foul ball off his left knee yesterday.

Mauer was hit right above his left knee by a foul tip from Royals catcher Brayan Pena in the ninth inning of the Twins’ 7-4 win over Kansas City. Mauer stayed in the game but said that tonight was a good time to get his first day off this season.

“I’m pretty sore from yesterday,” Mauer said. “I’m going to get in there and get some treatment like I’ve been doing. Hopefully, I’ll be back in there tomorrow.”

Gardenhire said Mauer was held out mostly for precautionary reasons, and that he expects Mauer to be back in the lineup tomorrow.

Gardenhire added he still hadn’t decided whether Mauer will make his next start at catcher, first base or designated hitter. But Mauer said he’d like to get back behind the plate, especially with left-hander Francisco Liriano set to start tomorrow after missing his last start to clear his head after a rocky start to the year.

“We’ll just back him off a bit,” Gardenhire said. “He’s available for the ballgame but he has a little soreness in his knee so there’s no sense in messing around with it.”

Twins (6-15)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, SS
3. Josh Willingham, LF
4. Justin Morneau, DH
5. Danny Valencia, 3B
6. Ryan Doumit, C
7. Trevor Plouffe, RF
8. Chris Parmelee, 1B
9. Alexi Casilla, 2B

RHP Nick Blackburn (0-2, 7.53 ERA, 4.48 FIP, 14 1/3 IP, 8 K, 4 BB, 2 HR)

Angels (7-15)
1. Mike Trout, CF
2. Maicer Izturis, 3B
3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Kendry Morales, DH
5. Torii Hunter, RF
6. Howie Kendrick, 2B
7. Vernon Wells, LF
8. Erick Aybar, SS
9. Chris Ianetta, C

LHP C.J. Wilson (2-2, 2.42 ERA, 3.33 FIP, 26 IP, 26 K, 11 BB, 2 HR)

Game 21: Gardenhire sticks with same lineup

MINNEAPOLIS — Twins manager Ron Gardenhire opted to stick with the same lineup today that he had written out for yesterday’s game before it was postponed due to rain.

Left fielder Josh Willingham simply had to wait one extra day to return to action after missing two games to attend the birth of his son, Rogan Jaynes, on Wednesday.

“It’s good to put him back in there,” Gardenhire said. “He’s one guy who’s been swinging it pretty good. It’s good to have him back. It’s beautiful. He has a beautiful kid. So there you go. They got their work done and we got our player back. Good stuff.”

Joe Mauer also is back in at catcher, as he’s started all 21 games this season, which is a far cry from last season when he didn’t play in his 21st game until June 29.

“It’s a good thing,” Gardenhire said. “We’re not rehabbing injuries now. It’s just maintenance and preparing for the next day. Every day I go up to him and ask how he’s doing, and he says he’s doing fine. So he’s ready to go. Yesterday I had him as DH, but he said he really wanted to catch, so that’s good. I like that.”

The Twins still haven’t decided when he’ll get a day off. But Mauer, who played in just 82 games last year, said he’s happy to be seeing regular playing time so far this season.

“That’s what I wanted,” Mauer said. “Obviously I love to play this game, and I love to be out there whenever I can. This year it’s been pretty good.”

Royals (6-14)
1. Chris Getz, 2B
2. Alex Gordon, LF
3. Billy Butler, DH
4. Eric Hosmer, 1B
5. Jeff Francoeur, RF
6. Mike Moustakas, 3B
7. Brayan Pena, C
8. Alcides Escobar, SS
9. Jarrod Dyson, CF

LHP Bruce Chen (0-2, 2.52 ERA, 3.63 FIP, 25 IP, 17 K, 4 BB, 3 HR)

Twins (5-15)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, SS
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Danny Valencia, 3B
7. Ryan Doumit, DH
8. Trevor Plouffe, RF
9. Alexi Casilla, 2B

RHP Jason Marquis (1-0, 7.15 ERA, 6.13 FIP, 11 1/3 IP, 6 K, 2 BB, 3 HR)

Game 20: Baker meets with media

MINNEAPOLIS — Twins right-hander Scott Baker met with the media today for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in New York on April 17.

The surgery came as a surprise, as he was scheduled to undergo surgery to clean up scar tissue on his flexor pronator tendon, but Dr. David Altchek decided he also needed his ulnar collateral ligament repaired once he began the operation.

Baker, though, said he was prepped for the possibility of the Tommy John surgery, as Altchek told him there was about a 20-percent chance he’d need the procedure.

“Initially, I was pretty emotional but I think a lot of it had to do with the anesthesia,” Baker said of his first reaction. “Once it wore off and I kind of came to I was in the right frame of mind and I talked to the doctor and he explained to me what was going on I was OK with it. You can’t make any guarantees but he was fairly certain that the ligament would have gone shortly after.”

Baker, 30, said the rehab time for the surgery is expected to be nine to 12 months because the ulnar collateral ligament was not replaced. Instead, it was just strengthened with a tendon from his near his hamstring. The rehab for the originally planned surgery was expected to be six months.

Look for a longer story on Baker later tonight at Twinsbaseball.com.

In other news, right-hander Kyle Waldrop, who is on the DL with a UCL strain, will head out to Fort Myers, Fla. tomorrow to being a rehab assignment. He’s expected to need three too four appearances in extended Spring Training before he’ll be ready to go.

First baseman Chris Parmelee also said he’s feeling fine after being hit on the helmet on Wednesday. But there’s still timetable for his return, as he’s still day to day.

Royals (5-14)
1. Jarrod Dyson, CF
2. Alex Gordon, LF
3. Billy Butler, DH
4. Eric Hosmer, 1B
5. Jeff Francoeur, RF
6. Mike Moustakas, 3B
7. Yuniesky Betancourt, 2B
8. Brayan Pena, C
9. Alcides Escobar, SS

LHP Everett Teaford (0-1, 3.86 ERA, 6.04 FIP, 7 IP, 3 K, 5 BB)

Twins (5-14)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, SS
3. Joe Mauer, DH
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Ryan Doumit, C
6. Danny Valencia, 3B
7. Trevor Plouffe, RF
8. Ben Revere LF
9. Alexi Casilla, 2B

RHP Carl Pavano (1-2, 4.73 ERA, 4.25 FIP, 26 2/3 IP, 17 K, 5 BB)

Game 19: Revere recalled from Triple-A, in Twins lineup

MINNEAPOLIS — Ben Revere was officially recalled from Triple-A Rochester to take the place of Josh Willingham, who was placed on paternity leave, and is starting in left field against the Red Sox tonight.

Revere, who was optioned to Triple-A on April 14 when the club claimed outfielder Clete Thomas off waivers from the Tigers, said he’s not sure if his callup will be a temporary or permanent one. Willingham is expected to return in time for Saturday’s game against the Royals.

“They said it would be three days or the rest of the season,” Revere said. “It’s a big gap. I won’t mind that. Just go out there these three days, just get my games in, get my at-bats, anything I can do to help this team win. Hopefully, I can stay.”

Willingham’s wife, Ginger, gave birth to the couple’s third child this afternoon, a boy named Rogan James. Here’s a picture of Willingham with his newborn son, courtesy of Ginger’s Twitter account.

Red Sox (6-10)
1. Mike Aviles, SS
2. Ryan Sweeney, RF
3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
4. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
5. David Ortiz, DH
6. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
8. Cody Ross, LF
9. Marlon Byrd, CF

RHP Clay Buchholz (1-1, 9.00 ERA, 7.86 FIP, 17 IP, 9 K, 7 BB)

Twins (5-13)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, SS
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Justin Morneau, DH
5. Chris Parmelee, 1B
6. Trevor Plouffe, RF
7. Sean Burroughs, 3B
8. Ben Revere, LF
9. Alexi Casilla, 2B

RHP Liam Hendriks (0-0, 3.86 ERA, 5.92 FIP, 11 2/3 IP, 5 K, 2 BB)

Game 18: Twins to recall Revere

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins will recall outfielder Ben Revere from Triple-A Rochester in time for Wednesday’s game, as Josh Willingham will be placed on paternity leave to attend the birth of his son.

Phil Mackey of ESPN 1500 was the first to report that Revere will be recalled.

Revere was optioned to Triple-A on April 14, when the club claimed outfielder Clete Thomas off waivers from the Tigers. Revere hit .222 in six games with Rochester while seeing time at all three outfield positions.

Willingham could return in time for Friday’s game against the Royals, but there’s still a chance he won’t make his return until Saturday. He can be on paternity leave for a maximum of three days.

Right-hander Nick Blackburn gets the start tonight against the Red Sox after missing his last start with stiffness in his right shoulder. He fared just fine in two bullpen sessions, but it’ll interesting to see how he feels tonight.

Red Sox (5-10)
1. Mike Aviles, SS
2. Ryan Sweeney, RF
3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
4. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
5. David Ortiz, DH
6. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
7. Cody Ross, LF
8. Marlon Byrd, CF
9. Kelly Shoppach, C

RHP Josh Beckett (1-2, 5.03 ERA, 6.24 FIP, 19 2/3 IP, 11 K, 3 BB)

Twins (5-12)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, SS
3. Joe Mauer, 1B
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Justin Morneau, DH
6. Ryan Doumit, C
7. Danny Valencia, 3B
8. Chris Parmelee, RF
9. Trevor Plouffe, 2B

RHP Nick Blackburn (0-1, 5.56 ERA, 3.81 FIP, 11 1/3 IP, 6 K, 3 BB)

Game 17: Liriano to skip his next start

MINNEAPOLIS — In an effort to help him clear his head after struggling in four outings so far this season, the Twins will skip left-hander Francisco Liriano’s turn in the rotation this week.

Minnesota has an off-day on Thursday, which allows the Twins to go with a four-man rotation before Liriano makes his next start on Tuesday in Anaheim. Liriano allowed five runs in five innings yesterday against the Rays, and has an 11.02 ERA with 12 strikeouts and 13 walks in 16 1/3 innings.

Gardenhire told Liriano of the club’s decision during a meeting today that also included pitching coach Rick Anderson. Anderson is set to watch Liriano throw bullpen sessions on Thursday and Saturday.

“It’s about being able to relax on the mound and he knows that,” Gardenhire said. “He actually says he has confidence. But he’ll tell you straight out that when he gets men out there he starts spinning ‘em. So he’s got to be able to control that. It’s a work in progress. We’re letting him take a step back and relax a little bit.”

In other news, second baseman Alexi Casilla was a late scratch with flu-like symptoms. Trevor Plouffe moves from left field to second base to take his place in the lineup, while Chris Parmelee makes his first career start in left field.

Left fielder Josh Willingham will also be placed on paternity leave on Wednesday to attend the birth of his third son with his wife Ginger. The Twins will call somebody up to replace him, even though he could return as early as Friday. My best guess is that Revere gets the call, but we’ll see.

Justin Morneau also makes his second start of the season at first base tonight.

Red Sox (4-10)

1. Mike Aviles, SS
2. Ryan Sweeney, RF
3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
4. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
5. David Ortiz, DH
6. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
8. Cody Ross, RF
9. Marlon Byrd, CF

LHP Jon Lester (0-2, 5.82. 3.88 FIP, 17 IP, 12 K, 9 BB)

Twins (5-11)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, SS
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Josh Willingham, DH
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Ryan Doumit, RF
7. Danny Valencia, 3B
8. Chris Parmelee, LF
9. Trevor Plouffe, 2B

RHP Jason Marquis (1-0, 7.20, 6.14 FIP, 5 IP, 3 K, 2 BB)

Game 13: Perkins says he’s ready to return to bullpen

NEW YORK — Twins reliever Glen Perkins said his bullpen session yesterday went just fine, and that he’s ready to pitch out of the bullpen after missing three games with inflammation in his left forearm.

Perkins didn’t travel with the team to New York on Sunday, as he stayed back after complaining of tenderness in his left forearm that was related to an entrapment in his radial nerve in his upper arm.

But with rest and anti-inflammatory medication, Perkins said the inflammation went away. He was cleared by team physician Dr. Dan Buss to throw a 40-pitch bullpen yesterday and ended up flying to New York where he arrived at the ballpark in the second inning of the Twins’ 6-5 win.

Perkins said there was never any sharp pain associated with his forearm, but that it was simply something he needed to take care of after struggling on Sunday, allowing three runs without recording an out.

“It wasn’t like I threw a pitch and it was like, ‘Ouch,’” Perkins said. “It was just something that was nagging. It felt like on Sunday I didn’t have the strength to finish a pitch. There was no life. They were belt high to letters, and that’s how you can tell something isn’t right. The velocity was there but not the finish.”

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire also said he anticipates bringing up a position player before the club returns home to Minnesota for Monday’s three-game series against the Red Sox. He said he’s still debating bringing up a third catcher but hasn’t made the decision quite yet.

“By the end of the weekend we’ll make a decision and do the right thing and get back a position player back,” Gardenhire said. “What that will be I don’t know. I’m still debating on the third catcher situation.”

Twins (4-8)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, SS
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Justin Morneau, DH
6. Ryan Doumit, RF
7. Danny Valencia, 3B
8. Chris Parmelee, 1B
9. Alexi Casilla, 2B

RHP Anthony Swarzak (0-2, 3.75 ERA, 4.92 FIP, 12 IP 4 K, 2 BB)

Yankees (6-6)
1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Curtis Granderson, CF
3. A-Rod, 3B
4. Robinson Cano, DH
5. Mark Teixeria, 1B
6. Nick Swisher, RF
7. Raul Ibanez, LF
8. Russell Martin, C
9. Eduardo Nunez, 2B

RHP Phil Hughes (0-2, 9.00 ERA, 6.54 FIP, 8 IP, 11 K, 4 BB)

Game 12: Hughes designated for assignment

NEW YORK — To make room for tonight’s starting pitcher Jason Marquis, the Twins designated infielder Luke Hughes for assignment.

Marquis was recalled after making two starts with Double-A New Britain to get ready for the season after missing two weeks of Spring Training to tend to his 7-year-old daughter, Reese, who was seriously injured in a bicycle accident in Staten Island.

Hughes, 27, was the odd man out, as he didn’t see much playing time despite a strong showing during Spring Training. He appeared in just four games, hitting .200 with two RBIs while seeing time at second base, third base and first base.

The Twins have 10 days to trade Hughes, release him or pass him through waivers. If he goes through waivers unclaimed, he could be optioned to Triple-A Rochester.

“We needed to carry 13 pitchers and we had a couple decisions to make, and this is the decision we made,” Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. “I’m not going to get into individuals and playing one guy against another, because it’s not fair to him or other players. It’s just the decision we came to.”

Hughes played in 96 games with the Twins last season, hitting .223 with seven homers, 12 doubles and 24 walks in 317 plate appearances. He said he was surprised by the decision and is looking to get a chance with another club.

“I hope to stay in the big leagues,” Hughes said. “Hopefully some team values what I do and that I get an opportunity to go out and play. If that doesn’t happen, we’ll have to go through the process of what to do. Do I want to be back here again? I have no idea. I haven’t really thought about it. Fingers crossed, someone values what I can do and I can go out there and play. Obviously the next few days will be interesting. I guess it’s a waiting game now.”

Twins (3-8)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, SS
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Justin Morneau, DH
6. Chris Parmelee, 1B
7. Sean Burroughs, 3B
8. Clete Thomas, RF
9. Alexi Casilla, 2B

RHP Jason Marquis (first start)

Yankees (6-5)
1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Curtis Granderson, CF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Robinson Cano, 2B
5. Nick Swisher, DH
6. Raul Ibanez, RF
7. Eric Chavez, 3B
8. Russell Martin, C
9. Brett Gardner, LF

RHP Hiroki Kuroda (1-1, 2.63 ERA, 4.00 FIP, 13 2/3 IP, 8 Ks, 6 BBs)

Baker undergoes surprise Tommy John surgery

NEW YORK — In a surprise development, right-hander Scott Baker underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow earlier today in New York, the club announced during tonight’s game against the Yankees.

Baker was originally scheduled to have season-ending surgery to clean up scar tissue on his flexor pronator tendon, but Dr. David Altchek decided that Baker also needed to have his ulnar collateral ligament repaired.

“Scott Baker had successful Tommy John Surgery to repair his UCL,” the team said in a statement. “The surgery was performed by Dr. Altchek in New York.”

The expected recovery time from Tommy John surgery is generally 12 months, which means there’s a chance Baker could be ready in time for the start of the 2013 season. Baker was originally scheduled to need six months of rehab before the decision was made to repair his UCL.

Today’s news came as a surprise, as Baker said during his press conference on Wednesday that he was told by doctors that his UCL was fine.

There’s also no guarantee Baker will be back with the Twins, as the club holds a $9.25 million option for next year. It’s unlikely the Twins will exercise the option, but there’s a chance the club could re-sign him at a discounted price.

Twins general manager Terry Ryan is scheduled to with the media after tonight’s game at Yankee Stadium.

Game 11: Morneau feels fine after playing first base

NEW YORK — A day after playing first base for the first time this season, Justin Morneau said he felt just fine today.

Morneau, though, was held out of the lineup against the Yankees because of his struggles against CC Sabathia, as he’s a career .140 hitter (6-for-40) against the left-hander. Luke Hughes is making his first start of the season at first base in his place.

But Morneau said he plans on gradually playing more first base as the season goes along to eventually be back to being the club’s regular first baseman.

“I don’t know what the schedule is,” Morneau said. “It’s not going to be here on out the rest of the way. Hopefully this is the first step to being back out there every day or almost every day. The ultimate goal is always to be healthy enough to play every day. However many days over there, I’m not sure, but hopefully it’s more over there than DHing.”

In other news, left-hander Glen Perkins, who has inflammation in his left forearm, is set to meet with team physician Dr. Dan Buss early tomorrow, and if all goes well he could fly to New York to join the team in time for tomorrow’s game.

Right-hander Nick Blackburn (shoulder stiffness) is also making progress, and is on track to play catch tomorrow and throw a bullpen on Wednesday.

Right-hander Scott Baker also underwent elbow surgery at 2 p.m. in New York today. I’ll have more after the game.

Twins (3-7)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, SS
3. Joe Mauer, DH
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Ryan Doumit, C
6. Danny Valencia, 3B
7. Trevor Plouffe, RF
8. Luke Hughes, 1B
9. Alexi Casilla, 2B

LHP Francisco Liriano (0-1, 10.00 ERA, 6.11 FIP, 10 IP, 6 K, 5 BB)

Yankees (5-5)
1. Derek Jeter, DH
2. Nick Swisher, 1B
3. Robinson Cano, 2B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Andruw Jones, RF
6. Curtis Granderson, CF
7. Eduardo Nunez, SS
8. Brett Gardner, LF
9. Chris Stewart, C

LHP CC Sabathia (0-0, 6.75 ERA, 3.80 FIP, 12 IP, 15 K, 5 BB)

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