May 2012

Game 47: Manship recalled, Komatsu designated

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins recalled right-hander Jeff Manship from Triple-A Rochester this morning, and designated outfielder Erik Komatsu for assignment to make room for him on the roster.

Manship, 27, posted a 3.08 ERA in 12 games with the Red Wings, including four starts. He struck out 25 and walked 15 in 38 innings.

The move gives the Twins 13 pitchers, which Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said was necessary because of recent overuse of his relievers with starters struggling to go deep in games.

“We needed pitching,” Gardenhire said. “We had to have another pitcher because our bullpen is depleted. And Manship has been pitching well. He’s been extended out and has been starting.”

Manship was scheduled to start with Rochester todaybut was told by Red Wings manager Gene Glynn last night that he’d be headed to Minnesota. He’s expected to be used in long relief although Gardenhire wouldn’t rule out the possibility of him making a spot start at some point.

“I’m definitely confident,” said Manship, who has a career 5.63 ERA in 64 innings with the Twins. “My arm can handle multiple innings, which is good. I’m glad to see that I was able to go seven innings in my last outing. My arm has bounced back from last year, which is good.”

Komatsu, meanwhile, didn’t see much action with the Twins, batting .219 in 15 games with his last start in the outfield coming on May 16.

He was acquired by the Twins via waivers from the Cardinals on May 4 after he was designated for assignment. He’s a Rule 5 Draft pick from the Nationals so if a team selects him off waivers from the Twins, they must keep him on their active roster all season or offer him back to Washington.

But if Komatsu clears waivers, the Nationals can take him back for $25,000, which Gardenhire expects them to do if no one claims him.

“We would have ability to try to work something out but I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Gardenhire said. “Washington is probably going to take him back. So he’s been traveling a little bit. It’s a tough situation for the kid but he needs to play.”

Tigers (22-24)
1. Quintin Berry, CF
2. Andy Dirks, LF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Brennan Boesch, DH
6. Alex Avila, C
7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
8. Don Kelly, RF
9. Ryan Raburn, 2B

RHP Rick Porcello (3-4, 5.29 ERA, 4.37 FIP, 51 IP, 33 K, 12 BB, 7 HR)

Twins (15-31)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Ben Revere, RF
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Ryan Doumit, DH
7. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
8. Alexi Casilla, 2B
9. Jamey Carroll, SS

RHP P.J. Walters (2-1, 2.95 ERA, 5.48 FIP, 15 K, 5 BB, 5 HR)

Game 46: Liriano will rejoin the rotation

MINNEAPOLIS — Francisco Liriano is headed back to the rotation.

Following five relief appearances after struggling in six starts to begin the season, the left-hander will take right-hander Anthony Swarzak’s spot in the rotation and will start on Wednesday against the A’s at Target Field.

“I’m just looking forward to the start,” Liriano said. “I’ve always been a starter. It’s what I want to do so I’m pretty happy. So I’m looking forward to doing my job and getting better.”

Liriano was moved to the bullpen after posting a 9.45 ERA in 26 2/3 innings as a starter. He fared better as a reliever with a 4.91 ERA in 7 1/3 innings but still had trouble with his control, as he walked seven and struck out nine.

He allowed four runs on five hit over 2 2/3 innings against the Tigers last night but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire still saw enough from him that he wants him back in the rotation.

“We liked the way he was handling himself out there, and he needs to get back out there,” Gardenhire said. “We need him in our rotation. We can’t just keep bouncing around from guy to guy.”

Liriano said the move to the bullpen helped him get his mechanics in order and also helped him clear his head after the rough start to the season.

“Mentally and physically I’m fine,” Liriano said. “I stayed positive and didn’t lose my confidence. So I’m just looking forward to Wednesday and trying to get better at everything.”

Swarzak, meanwhile, will head back to the bullpen after giving up six runs over 3 2/3 innings against the Tigers last night. He was not at Target Field today, as he was home dealing with flu-like symptoms.

Tigers (21-24)
1. Quintin Berry, CF
2. Andy Dirks, LF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Delmon Young, DH
6. Brennan Boesch, RF
7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
8. Alex Avila, C
9. Ramon Santiago, 2B

RHP Max Scherzer (3-5, 5.73 ERA, 3.89 FIP, 48 2/3 IP, 63 K, 19 BB, 8 HR)

Twins (15-30)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Ben Revere, RF
3. Joe Mauer, DH
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Brian Dozier, SS
7. Alexi Casilla, 2B
8. Drew Butera, C
9. Jamey Carroll, 3B

RHP Carl Pavano (2-3, 4.91 ERA, 4.07 FIP, 55 IP, 29 K, 7 B, 7 HR)

Game 36: Morneau appears ready to be activated

MINNEAPOLIS — Twins designated hitter Justin Morneau took live batting practice on the field for a second straight day, and told team trainers he’d like to be activated in time for tomorrow’s game against the Tigers in Detroit.

Morneau, who is on the disabled list retroactive to March 1 with a sore left wrist, is eligible to return tomorrow.

The Twins have yet to make an official decision but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that’s the plan unless he suffers an unforeseen setback.

“He looked really good,” Gardenhire said. “He talked to the trainers and said he’d like to be activated. So I’ll have to talk to him. That’s the plan unless something changes drastically.”

Gardenhire said the club will stick with 13 pitchers when Morneau is activated, which means first baseman Chris Parmelee is a likely candidate to be optioned to Triple-A Rochester to make room for Morneau.

Indians (19-16)
1. Shin Soo-Choo, RF
2. Jason Kipnis, 2B
3. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
4. Carlos Santana, DH
5. Michael Brantley, CF
6. Jose Lopez, 3B
7. Johnny Damon, LF
8. Casey Kotchman, 1B
9. Lou Marson, C

RHP Derek Lowe (5-1, 2.47 ERA, 3.93 FIP, 43 2/3 IP, 13 K, 13 BB, 2 HR)

Twins (10-25)
1. Darin Mastroianni, CF
2. Joe Mauer, C
3. Josh Willingham, LF
4. Ryan Doumit, DH
5. Brian Dozier, SS
6. Chris Parmelee, 1B
7. Eric Komatsu, RF
8. Alexi Casilla, 2B
9. Jamey Carroll, 3B

RHP Jason Marquis (2-2, 6.26 ERA, 5.56 FIP, 27 1/3 IP, 10 K, 11 BB, 4 HR)

Game 33: Morneau takes swings without any issues

MINNEAPOLIS — Twins designated hitter Justin Morneau reported no problems after taking 25-30 swings off a tee before tonight’s game against the Blue Jays.

Morneau, who is on the disabled list retroactive to May 1 with a sore left wrist, said he still doesn’t have an exact timetable for his return but is hopeful he’ll be activated once he’s eligible on Wednesday in Detroit.

“I’m pleased with the way it went and we’ll continue along with the process and hopefully be ready,” Morneau said. “I can’t give a date, but I’m hopeful when I’m eligible to come off Wednesday I can play, but we’ll see once I start swinging more but I’m happy so far.”

Morneau said he expects to ramp up to about 45 swings on Sunday before possibly seeing live batting practice on Monday. He added the cortisone shot in his wrist on Tuesday has helped, and that the key is making sure the discomfort doesn’t flare up while swinging.

“The pain level doesn’t matter, but if it’s affecting my swing then that’s what we’re trying to take care of,” Morneau said. “If I can’t swing the way I need to swing then I’m not as effective as I need to be. I need to be able to do that. I felt like I was able to do that swinging today, so hopefully it’ll feel better tomorrow and we’ll keep moving forward.”

“I’d say [Bautista] has hit everywhere. Encarnacion, we’ve watched him play over the years, and he’s had those where you don’t really know if he’s going to do exactly what they expected. But he’s gotten better every year we’ve seen him. He really gets the bat head on the ball more and more. Last year, we thought, wow, he’s really figured it out and this year it looks like he’s really confident at the plate. That’s two really good hitters you’re talking about. They’re strong and know how to hit the ball in the seats. They make it happen. We try different things on them so we hope to keep it in the ballpark.”

Blue Jays (18-15)
1. Kelly Johnson, 2B
2. Yunel Escobar, SS
3. Jose Bautista, RF
4. Edwin Encarnacion, DH
5. Eric Thames, LF
6. Brett Lawrie, 3B
7. Colby Rasmus, CF
8. Adam Lind, 1B
9. Jeff Mathis, C

RHP Drew Hutchinson (1-1, 6.65 ERA, 4.15 FIP, 21 2/3 IP, 17 K, 6 BB, 3 HR)

Twins (9-23)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Brian Dozier, SS
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Ryan Doumit, DH
6. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
7. Chris Parmelee, 1B
8. Darin Mastroianni, RF
9. Jamey Carroll, 2B

RHP P.J. Walters (season debut)

Game 32: Morneau to start swinging bat this weekend

MINNEAPOLIS — Twins designated hitter Justin Morneau is expected to start swinging the bat sometime this weekend, according to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.

Morneau, who is on the disabled list retroactive to May 1 with a sore left wrist, had a cortisone shot in his wrist earlier this week. Dr. Thomas Graham, an orthopedist with the Cleveland Clinic, gave him the shot on Tuesday.

“He’s supposed to be [swinging] tomorrow or if he’s not feeling OK we could back it up a day,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “The pace, I don’t know if we have a formula here. We’re going to let him tell us when he’ll be ready. He’s going to grab a bat in his hand and once he feels good enough, he’ll start taking some swings. And when that happens, I’ll tell you.”

There’s still no official timetable for his return but he could make his return during the club’s eight-game roadtrip that starts Wednesday in Detroit.

“I don’t think he’s been out long enough to say he’ll need a rehab assignment,” Gardenhire said. “If he starts swinging and he feels good, I’d rather him start up here than somewhere else.”

Blue Jays (18-14)
1. Kelly Johnson, 2B
2. Yunel Escobar, SS
3. Jose Bautista, RF
4. Edwin Encarnacion, DH
5. Eric Thames, LF
6. Brett Lawrie, 3B
7. Colby Rasmus, CF
8. Adam Lind, 1B
9. J.P. Arencibia, C

RHP Kyle Drabek (2-3, 3.34 ERA, 5.29 FIP, 35 IP, 28 K, 20 BB, 6 HR)

Twins (8-23)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Brian Dozier, SS
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Ryan Doumit, DH
6. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
7. Chris Parmelee, 1B
8. Darin Mastroianni, RF
9. Jamey Carroll, 2B

RHP Nick Blackburn (0-4, 6.84 ERA, 4.77 FIP, 26 1/3 IP, 14 K, 8 BB, 4 HR)

Twins make slew of roster moves after loss

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins shook up their roster after tonight’s 6-2 loss to the Angels that dropped them to a Major League-worst 8-22 on the season.

Minnesota optioned third baseman Danny Valencia to Triple-A Rochester and designated left-handed pitcher Matt Maloney for assignment. To replace the two players, the Twins will recall outfielder Darin Mastroianni from Triple-A, and will purchase the contract of right-hander P.J. Walters from Rochester in time for Thursday’s game against the Blue Jays.

Additionally, Walters will start on Saturday against Toronto, as left-hander Francisco Liriano will be moved to the bullpen.

“This is just something that we’ve got to do right now,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We need to make some changes. We need some hits. We need some new life in here, the whole package.”

Valencia went 0-for-4 tonight to continue his recent slide, as he’s hitless in his last 25 at-bats. It’s been a frustrating season for Valencia, who is hitting just .190 in 27 games just two years after hitting .311 in 85 games as a rookie in 2010.

“Obviously nobody wants to get sent down, but it’s hard not to say I didn’t see it coming because I haven’t been hitting very well,” Valencia said. “I’ve been inconsistent. My defense has been good, but I’m a guy that needs to contribute offensively.”

The Twins will use a combination of Alexi Casilla, Jamey Carroll and Trevor Plouffe at third base in Valencia’s absence.

Mastroianni, meanwhile, began the season at Double-A New Britain, batting .143 with one double in nine games, before being promoted to Rochester on April 14. In 19 games with the Red Wings, he hit .346 with two doubles, two triples and 10 stolen bases.

“Mastroianni has been playing the living fire out of the game down there,” Gardenhire said. “Probably the most exciting player they have on that baseball team right now, running bases, stealing bases. He can fly. We’ll see. We’ll see how he does.”

Walters made six starts with the Red Wings, posting a 2.70 ERA with 25 strikeouts and six walks. Saturday will mark his fifth career big league start, as he has a career 7.24 ERA in 20 games with the Cardinals and Blue Jays.

“He’s a strike-thrower, mixes all his pitches in,” Gardenhire said. “Velocity’s somewhere between 87 to 90. Very confident. They tell me he’s the best pitcher available right now. He’s throwing the ball very, very well.”

With Walters joining the rotation, Liriano, who has a 9.45 ERA in five starts, will move to the bullpen, but his stay could be short if he starts to turn it around.

“We just gotta get him right,” Gardenhire said. “We’ve got to get him into some situations to try and get him some success. We’ve talked about it. Maybe a couple innings here, a couple innings there, he blows some people away and gets some kind of mojo going. Then we see if we can get him back in there. We need him as a starter.”

Game 29: Span sits out for first time this season

MINNEAPOLIS — Denard Span is out of the starting lineup for the first time this season after colliding with the center-field fence in last night’s game.

Span said he didn’t ask for the day off but was a little bit shaken up after running into the wall. So it’s more for precautionary reasons, as he’s expected to return to the lineup tomorrow.

Erik Komatsu gets the start at center field in his place and is batting leadoff against Angels right-hander Dan Haren.

Left fielder Josh Willingham is also back in the lineup after missing last night’s game with a skin infection.

Angels (13-17)
1. Mike Trout, CF
2. Alberto Callaspo, 3B
3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Torii Hunter, RF
5. Mark Trumbo, DH
6. Howie Kendrick, 2B
7. Vernon Wells, LF
8. Erick Aybar, SS
9. Chris Iannetta, C

RHP Dan Haren (1-2, 3.43 ERA, 3.36 FIP, 39 1/3 IP, 35 K, 7 BB, 5 HR)

Twins (7-21)
1. Erik Komatsu, CF
2. Brian Dozier, SS
3. Joe Mauer, 1B
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Ryan Doumit, DH
6. Danny Valencia, 3B
7. Trevor Plouffe, RF
8. Drew Butera, C
9. Jamey Carroll, 2B

LHP Scott Diamond (Season debut)

Game 28: Dozier set to make Major League debut

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins get another crack at Angels ace Jered Weaver tonight after he thew a no-hitter against them on Wednesday in Anaheim.

Weaver is looking to make history, as Johnny Vander Meer remains the only pitcher to throw back-to-back no-hitters and that came all the way back in 1938.

He’ll see a new face in the lineup, however, as the Twins recalled shortstop Brian Dozier from Triple-A Rochester. He’s set to make his Major League debut at shortstop, and is the second hitter in the lineup.

Dozier, who hit .276/.339/.371 with a homer and seven doubles in 28 games in Triple-A, said he’s excited about making his debut.

“I’ve been dreaming about it for 20-something years now,” Dozier said.

Josh Willingham is also out of the lineup tonight. More to come.

Angels (12-17)
1. Maicer Izturis, SS
2. Alberto Callaspo, 3B
3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Torii Hunter, RF
5. Mark Trumbo, DH
6. Howard Kendrick, 2B
7. Vernon Wells, LF
8. Chris Iannetta, C
9. Peter Bourjos, CF

RHP Jered Weaver (4-0, 1.61 ERA, 1.99 FIP, 44 2/3 IP, 45 K, 7 BB, 2 HR)

Twins (7-20)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Brian Dozier, SS
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Ryan Doumit, DH
5. Danny Valencia, 3B
6. Chris Parmelee, 1B
7. Trevor Plouffe, RF
8. Erik Komatsu, LF
9. Jamey Carroll, 2B

LHP Francisco Liriano (0-4, 9.97 ERA, 6.47 FIP, 21 2/3 IP, 17 K, 16 BB, 5 HR)

Game 24: Morneau rejoins the Twins in Anaheim

ANAHEIM — Twins designated hitter Justin Morneau rejoined the team today, a day after he flew to Minnesota to have his sore left wrist examined by hand specialist Dr. Thomas Varecka.

Morneau received good news from the doctor, as an MRI exam showed only inflammation and some fluid in his wrist. The Twins remain hopeful he can return to the lineup on Friday against the Mariners in Seattle, but he said he has to see how his wrist responds.

“Everything structurally looked good,” Morneau said. “He’s not sure exactly on how long until it’ll be better. It’s hard to say. It just needs to get to the point where it’s tolerable and not something that lingers. How many days that is, I don’t know. We’re going to take tonight off, the off day tomorrow, and come back and see how it is on Friday. I have no idea how it’s going to feel.”

Morneau added that he was told by Varecka that this shouldn’t be a lingering problem throughout the season, as it’s a common setback for those who have undergone wrist surgery. Morneau had a tendon in the back of his wrist stabilized last September.

Morneau said it was the sheath around the tendon that tightened up in wrist, but that it should loosen with time.

“He said it should return to normal; it’s just the body’s natural reaction,” Morneau said. “He said he was surprised this was the first time I’ve had any problems with it. He was surprised I didn’t get something sooner. It’s pretty common with this surgery. I don’t think he was pleased because it’s not nothing, but pleased as far as everything structurally, how everything was fixed, everything’s where it needs to be and that’s a positive for sure.”

Morneau didn’t swing at all today, and neither did third baseman Danny Valencia, who is dealing with stiffness in his back. Trevor Plouffe is making his first-ever start at third base tonight for the Twins.

Twins (6-17)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Alexi Casilla, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, DH
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Ryan Doumit, C
6. Chris Parmelee, 1B
7. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
8. Clete Thomas, RF
9. Jamey Carroll, SS

RHP Liam Hendriks (0-1, 6.89 ERA, 4.10 FIP, 15 2/3 IP, 8 K, 4 BB, 4 HR))

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

RHP Jered Weaver (3-0, 2.02 ERA, 2.16 FIP, 35 2/3 IP, 36 K, 6 BB, 2 HR)

Game 23: Morneau OK, to rejoin Twins tomorrow

ANAHEIM — The Twins received good news today, as an MRI exam taken on Justin Morneau’s left wrist showed no structural damage.

Morneau, who had a tendon stabilized in his left wrist last September, left yesterday’s game with soreness in his left wrist and flew to Minnesota to meet with hand specialist Dr. Thomas Varecka earlier today. But he received welcome news from Varecka after undergoing an MRI exam and is scheduled to fly back to Anaheim tomorrow, according to assistant general manager Rob Antony.

“Everything looked good with the tendon,” Antony said. “And everything that had been surgically repaired — there was a little fluid and inflammation, which was causing some of the pain — but the doctors do not believe he’s a DL candidate, so we’re going to try to get him back here tomorrow to rejoin the team.”

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he breathed a sigh of relief upon hearing the news, but says he’s still not sure if Morneau will be ready to return to action in time for Friday’s game in Seattle against the Mariners after Thursday’s off-day.

So with Morneau avoiding the disabled list, the Twins designated infielder Sean Burroughs for assignment to make room for catcher Drew Butera on the roster.

The move gives the Twins more flexibility behind the plate because Joe Mauer is dealing soreness in his left knee after he was hit by a foul tip on Sunday. Mauer is serving as designated hitter tonight with Doumit getting the start at catcher.

“Right now I need protection with my catching situation,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “It’s why we had to make a roster move. I wasn’t ready to send down a pitcher yet. We ended up bringing a catcher up here because it protects me a little bit. Sean, if we get through all this, will go down there and get some swings, which is not a bad thing. He agreed with that too. He can go get swings and see what happens.”

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

Twins (6-16)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Alexi Casilla, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, DH
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Danny Valencia, 3B
6. Ryan Doumit, C
7. Chris Parmelee, 1B
8. Clete Thomas, RF
9. Jamey Carroll, SS

LHP Francisco Liriano (0-3, 11.02 ERA, 6.44 FIP, 16 1/3 IP, 12 K, 13 BB, 3 HR)

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

RHP Jerome Williams (1-1, 5.51 ERA, 3.62 FIP, 16 1/3 IP, 13 K, 7 BB, 1 HR)

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