Results tagged ‘ Matt Tolbert ’

Twins make first offseason roster moves

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins announced today they outrighted catcher Rene Rivera, infielder Matt Tolbert, outfielder Jason Repko, and right-hander Anthony Slama to Triple-A Rochester.

Additionally, the Twins reinstated right-hander Nick Blackburn (forearm surgery) and second baseman Alexi Casilla (right hamstring strain) from the 60-day disabled list. As a result of their roster moves, the Twins now have 38 players on their 40-man roster.

Rivera, 28, appeared in 45 games with the Twins, hitting .144 with a .211 on-base percentage and .202 slugging percentage with one homer and five RBIs.

Tolbert, 29, hit .198/.252/.266 with five RBIs and three stolen bases in 87 games while seeing time at second base, shortstop and third base.

Repko, 30, battled various injuries during the regular season, playing in 67 games and batting .226/.270/.286 with two homers and 11 RBIs.

Slama, meanwhile, made just two relief appearances with the Twins, tossing 2 1/3 scoreless innings. The 27-year-old, who saw his season end in early July with a strained muscle in his right elbow, posted a 2.92 ERA with 42 strikeouts and 16 walks in 37 innings with Triple-A Rochester.

Casilla to the DL (Game 105 vs. Texas)

ARLINGTON — The Twins received a blow to their middle infield today, as second baseman Alexi Casilla was diagnosed with a Grade 1 hamstring strain, and is expected to be out for two to three weeks, according to head trainer Rick McWane.

Casilla, who injured himself while legging out a double in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s 7-2 win against the Rangers, is scheduled to be placed on the disabled list after tonight’s game. Infielder Luke Hughes is expected to be recalled in his place.

Additionally, to bolster their middle infield depth, the Twins recalled second baseman Matt Tolbert from Triple-A Rochester, and optioned left-hander Chuck James to Rochester to give the Twins 12 pitchers on their active roster.

“He’s our second-hole hitter and was swinging great and playing great defense,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Casilla. “He’s doing all the things you’d like to see, and his head has been in the game. And then all of a sudden this happens. Our depth in the middle infield isn’t the greatest, so you can’t afford too many injuries like that. Some people will have to step up.”

Casilla, who was hitting .259/.322/.369 with 15 stolen bases and a team-high 21 doubles in 96 games this season, said he’s hopeful that he can return to action as soon as he’s eligible to be activated from the disabled list on Aug. 12.

“It’s pretty much the same as yesterday,” Casilla said. “I kind of pulled it a little bit, so I’m going on the DL and going back to Minnesota to take care of it over there. I don’t think I’ll need a [rehab] assignment. I’ll be ready in 15 days. … I hope they don’t send me on an assignment. I’ll say no because it’s too much time.”

In the meantime, the Twins will have to rely on a combination of Tolbert, Hughes and Trevor Plouffe at second base with Casilla out of action.

Tolbert, who hit .181 in 55 games with the Twins before being optioned on July 18, started at second base against the Rangers on Thursday.

And shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka is expected to bat second in Casilla’s absence, as Gardenhire said he’s hopeful he can handle the bat the way Casilla did in the two-hole.

“I’m hoping Nishi handles it very well,” Gardenhire said. “When we signed him, we were hoping he’d be at the top of the lineup. So maybe this will get his confidence going a little bit.”

Valencia out of action (Game 70 vs Padres)

MINNEAPOLIS — Danny Valencia is out of the lineup today against the Padres with soreness in his right arm stemming from a throw in the eighth inning of yesterday’s 1-0 win.

Valencia originally felt the soreness in his right biceps, but it moved to his triceps on Sunday. He said he remains hopeful he’ll return to action on Tuesday in San Francisco after Monday’s off-day.

“Actually it feels a lot better than I thought it would feel,” Valencia said. “It’s more in my triceps than my biceps right now. So it’s really day to day.”

Joe Mauer is in the lineup, but not at catcher, as he’s serving as the designated hitter and batting third. Matt Tolbert is starting at third base in Valencia’s absence, and Rene Rivera, who has worked well with Francisco Liriano recently, is behind the plate.

Padres (30-42)

1. Chris Denorfia, LF
2. Jason Bartlett, SS
3. Chase Headley, 3B
4. Ryan Ludwick, DH
5. Jesus Guzman, 1B
6. Cameron Maybin, CF
7. Orlando Hudson, 2B
8. Will Venable, RF
9. Ron Johnson, C

RHP Dustin Moseley (2-6, 3.16 ERA, 3.90 FIP, 1.76 K/BB)

Twins (30-39)

1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Alexi Casilla, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Michael Cuddyer, RF
5. Delmon Young, LF
6. Luke Hughes, 1B
7. Nishi, SS
8. Rene Rivera, C
9. Matt Tolbert, 3B

LHP Francisco Liriano (4-6, 4.67 ERA, 4.39 FIP, 1.43 K/BB)

Game 22 vs. Rays

It’s going to be quite cold tonight here at Target Field.

The Twins even received a shipment of specially designed hats from New Era that include built-in ear flaps to stay warm.

But it’s yet to be seen if any of the players will actually wear them during the game, as a few said they’ll wear them only during batting practice.

Either way, staying warm will be key for both teams, as the players are all expected to layer up to help fight the cold with temperatures expected to dip into the mid-30s.

Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano will also hope to heat up (no pun intended), as he’s off to a slow start this season with a 7.40 ERA over his first four outings of the season.

His ERA is certainly bloated compared to last season, but even worse, it’s his peripheral stats that are lacking this year. It’s obviously a small sample size, but he’s struck out as many as he’s walked with 14 strikeouts and 14 walks over 20 2/3 innings. He’s also served up four home runs after giving up just nine all of last season.

Liriano has always had trouble with walks, but last year he helped make up for it by striking out 201 batters over 191 2/3 innings, while walking 58.

His strikeout rate is down this season, and a big culprit could be that he’s suffering from a dip in fastball velocity, as it averaged 93.7 mph last year and is at 92.1 mph this year, according to FanGraphs.

It’s still early, so he could regain velocity as the season goes along, but it’ll be interesting to see if he can bounce back and repeat his numbers from his impressive 2010 campaign.

UPDATE: Delmon Young was a late scratch from the lineup, as he said he couldn’t get loose during batting practice. Matt Tolbert is now in the lineup, playing second base and batting ninth. Michael Cuddyer shifts from first base to right field, Jason Kubel from right field to left field and Luke Hughes from second base to first base. Additionally, Jim Thome (oblique) and Jason Repko (quad) are also unavailable tonight, leaving backup catcher Steve Holm as the lone option off the bench.

Twins lineup vs. Rays (7:10 p.m. start at Target Field)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Alexi Casilla, SS
3. Jason Kubel, LF
4. Justin Morneau, DH
5. Michael Cuddyer, RF
6. Danny Valencia, 3B
7. Drew Butera, C
8. Luke Hughes, 1B
9. Matt Tolbert, 2B

LHP Francisco Liriano (1-3, 7.40 ERA, 20 2/3 IP, 14 K, 14 BB, 6.38 FIP)

Rays lineup

1. Sam Fuld, LF
2. Johnny Damon, DH
3. Justin Upton, CF
4. Ben Zobrist, RF
5. Sean Rodriguez, 2B
6. Felipe Lopez, 3B
7. Kelly Shoppach, C
8. Dan Johnson, 1B
9. Reid Brignac, SS

RHP Wade Davis (2-2, 2.73 ERA, 26 1/3 IP, 10 K, 8 BB, 3.80 FIP)

Mauer gets the day off

The Twins enter Sunday afternoon’s series finale at Rogers Centre already in a 2-0 hole, and it doesn’t figure to get any easier against the Blue Jays with catcher Joe Mauer out of the lineup.

It’s somewhat of a surprising move, as it’s not a day game after a night game, and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire didn’t mention anything after yesterday’s loss about sitting Mauer today.

But Mauer, who is coming off minor surgery on his left knee, figured to get days off here and there, as the club plays games on 23 of the first 24 days of April.

And Gardenhire did say before Sunday’s game that Mauer took quite the beating behind the plate yesterday with left-hander Francisco Liriano struggling with control problems.

“Frankie bounced about 50 percent of his pitches,” Gardenhire quipped, “and Joe had to block them. So he got beat around a bit yesterday.”

So maybe it’s as good a time as any for Mauer to get a break, but the Twins certainly don’t want to fall to 0-3 for the first time since the 1981 season.

At least Justin Morneau is in the starting lineup, even though he’s serving as the club’s designated hitter. He hasn’t looked great so far at the plate, but it figures he’ll start to come around with more at-bats, as he obviously got a late start to Spring Training.

Matt Tolbert is also slated to see action at shortstop, as Gardenhire said he wanted to see all of his players play in the first series of the season. So far, only outfielder Jason Repko has yet to get in there, but it’s mostly because center fielder Denard Span is the only one doing any hitting for the club through two games.

Lineups for 12:07 CT start at Rogers Centre:

Twins
1. Denard Span CF
2. Tsuyoshi Nishioka 2B
3. Delmon Young LF
4. Justin Morneau DH
5. Michael Cuddyer 1B
6. Jason Kubel RF
7. Danny Valencia 3B
8. Drew Butera C
9. Matt Tolbert SS

Nick Blackburn RHP

Blue Jays
1. Yunel Escobar SS
2. Juan Rivera DH
3. Jose Bautista RF
4. Adam Lind 1B
5. Aaron Hill 2B
6. Edwin Encarnacion 3B
7. Travis Snider LF
8. J.P. Arencibia C
9. Mike McCoy CF

Brett Cecil LHP

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