Results tagged ‘ Twins ’

Day 7: Zumaya’s injury dampens day

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It was supposed to be just another day of full workouts at the Lee County Sports Complex, but it all changed after just 13 pitches from right-hander Joel Zumaya.

Zumaya, throwing live batting practice for the first time this spring, felt discomfort in his right elbow and cut his throwing session short.

He’s scheduled to have an MRI tomorrow morning, and we should get the results by tomorrow night or Monday morning, according to Twins general manager Terry Ryan.

The Twins are hopeful he just broke up some scar tissue — similar to what Joe Nathan experienced last year before he came back even stronger after a stint on the DL — but considering his injury history, there’s a reason to be concerned. Worst-case, Zumaya will need Tommy John surgery, which he’s never had done despite his lengthy list of injuries.

Speaking of Tommy John surgery, Twins GM Terry Ryan shared some positive news about prospect Kyle Gibson, who had the surgery done on Sept. 7. Ryan said he expects Gibson to be back in action this summer, which means he’s recovering at a good rate considering most pitchers need about 12 months to come back after the surgery.

“He’ll pitch this summer,” Ryan said. “I think we anticipate him pitching this summer. In fact, I don’t think, I know. It’s not anything different than the schedule.”

Other notes from today:
– The Twins are trying to get Ben Revere to bunt more this year, as he squared up to bunt just 15 times last year in 481 plate appearances, recording four hits and three sacrifices. He’s been working with Jerry White and Rod Carew to improve his technique.

– Former shortstop Trevor Plouffe is working out with the outfielders, as he prepares to become the club’s fourth outfielder. He’ll also get some work in the infield soon, but the Twins are more worried about getting him comfortable as a corner outfielder.

– Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he’s impressed by Danny Valencia so far in camp, as he worked hard to improve his fielding. “He’s way better,” Gardenhire said. “He’s bent over, he’s going to the ball low. As he told me, that was an adjustment. That was a big adjustment for him, because he’s so used to standing up and going after a ball and having to go all the way back down to the ground.”

– Ryan praised both catcher J.R. Towles and infielder/outfielder Steve Pearce, as they were both former top prospects with the Astros and Pirates, respectively, before signing Minor League deals with the Twins this offseason. Towles will get a fair shake to battle Butera for the third catcher spot, while Pearce will get a shot as a utility player who could see time at first base, outfield and third base.

– Alexi Casilla is bothered by a sore calf, but has been participating in the workouts with no problems. Luke Hughes, who has a strained right shoulder, still can’t throw yet, but has been fielding grounders all over the infield.

Here’s video of Zumaya throwing to Justin Morneau shortly before his injury.

And here’s photos from today’s workouts, including of Zumaya before his injury:

Twins officially begin Spring Training workouts

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Twins held their first official workout of Spring Training today, as pitchers and catchers performed a variety of drills at the Lee County Sports Complex.

The day started with the eight catchers on the roster meeting with Twins manager Ron Gardenhire before the pitchers worked on fielding practice on two different fields. All of the 33 pitchers invited to camp also threw off the mound in the bullpen. And the catchers finished the day by taking batting practice.

“A lot of people, a lot of bodies, a lot of pitchers,” Gardenhire said. “Good participation, everybody was running around. I didn’t go down and see the position players down on the other fields, but they looked like they were doing their thing, and the pitchers were all into it, so it’s just always nice to get back out on the baseball field.”

Other notes from today’s action:

– Joe Mauer got through the day just fine, as he worked with pitchers while they participated in fielding drills, caught about 90 pitches in bullpen sessions with Carlos Gutierrez, Brendan Wise and Jason Marquis and took batting practice.

– Twins GM Terry Ryan said that none of the 33 pitchers in camp have any health problems that will limit them in camp. Right-hander Joel Zumaya will be monitored closely after missing all of last year after undergoing elbow surgery, but threw 40 pitches in a bullpen session without any problems.

– Shortstop Brian Dozier is day to day after cutting his left hand, and is restricted from swinging for the next few days. Infielder Luke Hughes (shoulder) likely won’t start swinging the bat until next week.

– The Twins announced a new policy this season, as all injury updates will come from general manager Terry Ryan or assistant general manager Rob Antony instead of manager Ron Gardenhire.

And here are a bunch of photo’s from today’s first official workout:

Twins’ 25-man roster breakdown/predictions

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Spring Training officially kicks off for the Twins on Saturday with pitchers and catchers reporting to the Lee County Sports Complex in Fort Myers.

Altogether, 66 players will be in big league camp with the Twins, and only 25 will be making the trip north once camp breaks on April 4.

Some players are assured to be on the Opening Day roster, but like every Spring Training, others are fighting for the chance to make the club.

It’s obviously still too early to make any definitive judgments on how the roster will shake out, but here are my predictions a day before pitchers and catchers report:


Locks: Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano (L), Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn and Jason Marquis
Spots open: None
Situation: The Twins appear set with their rotation, as left-hander Brian Duensing is heading to the bullpen after the club signed Marquis this offseason. Everyone but Pavano dealt with injuries last season, but all head into camp healthy. Right-hander Liam Hendricks and left-hander Scott Diamond are likely to start the year at Triple-A Rochester.


Locks: Matt Capps (CL), Glen Perkins (L), Brian Duensing (L) and Joel Zumaya
Spots open: Three
Prediction: Anthony Swarzak, Alex Burnett and Terry Doyle
Other candidates: Jason Bulger, Jared Burton, Scott Diamond, Phil Dumatrait (L), Jeff Gray, Matt Maloney (L), Jeff Manship, Lester Oliveros, Esmerling Vasquez and Kyle Waldrop.
Situation: The bullpen competition could get interesting, but Swarzak is likely to make the club given his success last year and the fact he’s out of Minor League options. The Twins also like Burnett’s potential despite the fact he posted a 5.51 ERA in 50 2/3 innings in ’11. Doyle, a Rule 5 Draft pick from the White Sox, would have to be offered back to Chicago if he doesn’t make the team out of camp. But keep an eye out on Gray and non-roster invitees Burton and Bulger. It’s also worth noting that Gray and Maloney are out of options.


Locks: Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit
Spots open: One
Candidates: Drew Butera and J.R. Towles
Prediction: Butera
Situation: The Twins are going to keep three catchers considering Mauer caught just 52 games and Doumit caught just 60. Butera is the most likely to be that third backstop given his experience with Twins pitchers and the defense he brings behind the plate. But he did hit just .167 last year, and will be pushed by Towles, who has a career .286/.389/.443 line at Triple-A but just a .187/.267/.315 line in 484 big league plate appearances.


Locks: Justin Morneau, Alexi Casilla, Jamey Carroll, Danny Valencia
Spots open: One or two
Candidates: Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Luke Hughes, Chris Parmelee, Brian Dozier
Prediction: Nishioka, Hughes
Situation: The Twins might keep just one backup infielder, and if that’s the case, I believe Nishioka is the favorite because of his ability to play both shortstop and second base. But Hughes is out of options, so I think the Twins will give him another chance as long as he’s healed from the right shoulder injury he suffered in Australia. But it’s an important spring for both Nishioka and Hughes. And Parmelee and Dozier should called up at some point this year, even though they’re expected to start the year in the Minors.


Locks: Josh Willingham, Denard Span, Ben Revere, Trevor Plouffe
Spots open: One or none
Candidates: Rene Tosoni, Joe Benson, Darin Mastroianni
Prediction: No open spot
Situation: If the Twins decide to keep just one backup infielder, Tosoni would be the top candidate to make the club as a fifth outfielder. But I think the Twins are more likely to go with two backup infielders considering Doumit’s ability to play some right field. It’ll be interesting to see how Plouffe handles the transition to the outfield, and how much playing time he’ll get in the infield as the club’s utility player. Benson is an intriguing candidate, but needs more seasoning, as he’s yet to play at Triple-A.

Welcome from Hammond Stadium

FORT MYERS, Fla. — I just arrived in Fort Myers last night, and headed over to the Twins’ Spring Training complex this morning on the day before pitchers and catchers officially report.

A slew of pitchers threw off the mound today, including Scott Baker, Alex Burnett, David Bromberg, Scott Diamond, Anthony Swarzak, Liam Hendriks, Jason Bulger, Jared Burton, Jeff Manship and Hudson Boyd. And catchers Drew Butera, J.R. Towles, Chris Herrmann and Danny Lehmann also got some work in behind the plate.

Several infielders also took infield and batting practice such as Chris Parmelee, Aaron Bates and Ray Chang. Luke Hughes, who is recovering from a sprained right shoulder, also got in on the action, catching some throws at first base.

Left-hander Glen Perkins didn’t throw off the mound but did some long toss with Baker on the practice field. Other players showed up at the complex today, including Jamey Carroll, Alexi Casilla, Matt Capps and Brian Dozier.

It was a fairly informal workout, but things should ramp up once the club hosts their first official pitchers and catchers workout on Sunday.

One thing to look out for this Spring Training is much more coverage on the blog, as I plan on doing daily updates once Grapefruit League play begins and will be posting plenty of photos (and hopefully videos, too).

So for now, here are a few photos I took today:

Aaron Bates taking BP

Aaron Bates taking BP

Scott Diamond, Jason Bulger, Anthony Swarzak, Liam Hendriks and Hudson Boyd throwing bullpen

Scott Diamond, Jason Bulger, Anthony Swarzak, Liam Hendriks and Hudson Boyd throwing bullpen

Hammond Stadium

Hammond Stadium

Field at Hammond Stadium

Field at Hammond Stadium

Field at Hammond Stadium

Outfield at Hammond Stadium

View of pressbox at Hammond

View of pressbox at Hammond

View of infield at Hammond Stadium

View of infield at Hammond Stadium

Practice fields at complex

Practice fields at complex

Practice Field No. 5

Practice Field No. 5

Gauging Twins’ interest in Willingham

DALLAS — The Twins’ top priority remains signing Michael Cuddyer, but the club does have interest in free-agent outfielder Josh Willingham as a backup plan, a source confirmed on Monday.

There is nothing imminent between the Twins and Willingham, but the the Twins and Willingham’s agent, Matt Sosnick, are tentatively scheduled to meet face-to-face on Thursday if the club doesn’t reach a deal with Cuddyer, according to the source.

Willingham, 32, hit .246/.332/.477 last season with a career-high 29 homers and 98 RBIs in 136 games with the A’s.

It was reported earlier this morning that nine teams, including the Twins, Indians, Red Sox, Reds and Pirates have called on Willingham.

I’ll have more once we meet with Twins general manager Terry Ryan at 4:30 p.m. today.

Home Opener at Target Field

It’s almost impossible to put a damper on the home opener at Target Field.

The ballpark is amazingly beautiful, it’s packed full of fans and the weather couldn’t be any better today.

But at the same time, the effects of Tsuyoshi Nishioka’s injury could certainly be felt on his teammates and manager Ron Gardenhire.

It’s clear Nishioka was excited about playing here at Target Field for the first time, but now he’ll have to wait some time with his fractured bone in his lower left leg. He’s being evaluated by Dr. John Steubs today, and so we’ll get a better understanding of when he’ll return after today’s game.

But no matter how long Nishioka is out, the Twins have to move on and quickly, and it’s exactly what they’re doing with plenty of residual effects from Nishioka’s injury.

Second baseman Luke Hughes gets his first start of the season at second base, Joe Mauer is moving into the two-hole and Michael Cuddyer even took grounders at second in anticipation of seeing time there in Nishioka’s absence.

So it’ll be interesting to see how the Twins do moving forward now that Nishioka is likely out at least a month, or possibly even longer.

Anyways, here are the lineups for the Twins and A’s in the home opener at Target Field that’s set for a 3:10 p.m. CT start.


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

RHP Carl Pavano (0-1, 15.75 ERA, 13.45 FIP, 1.50 K/BB)


1. Coco Crisp, CF
2. Daric Barton, 1B
3. David DeJesus, RF
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Hideki Matsui, DH
6. Kurt Suzuki, C
8. Mark Ellis, 2B
5. Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B
9. Cliff Pennington, SS

LHP Brett Anderson (0-0, 1.50 ERA, 1.97 FIP, 5.00 K/BB)

Mauer gets second day off

The Twins are still searching a bit for offense so far this season, and it might not get any easier on Wednesday night against the Yankees with catcher Joe Mauer getting his second day off of the season.

His off-day comes as no surprise, though, as Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he expected Mauer to get a day off in Toronto and New York. And right-hander Carl Pavano worked with backup catcher Drew Butera 15 times last season to great results with a 3.65 ERA and a 3.05 K/BB ratio over 105 innings.

Pavano, however, actually had similar numbers with Mauer behind the plate last year, as he posted a 3.79 ERA and a 3.40 K/BB in 17 outings over 106 innings. The difference, however, was with attempting base stealers, as runners were 18-for-20 on stolen base attempts with Mauer behind the plate, and just 13-for-19 when Butera was catching.

So with that in mind, Butera is expected to serve as Pavano’s personal catcher this season, which does give Mauer the comfort of having a schedule of expected off-days throughout the season.

Gardenhire said he understands the outcry when Mauer isn’t starting, but said it’s just something that comes with being a catcher, especially one coming off left knee surgery over the offseason.

“I’m like everybody else, I’d love to have Mauer playing all the time,” Gardenhire said. “I’m no different than any fan sitting out there on their rocking chair or armchair, saying they want Mauer in the lineup. Believe me, I like that too. But catchers need rest, and so we need to make sure we give him one a week when Pavano is pitching.”

Lineups for 6:05 p.m. CT start at Yankee Stadium:

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

RHP Carl Pavano (0-1, 15.75 ERA, 13.45 FIP, 1.50 K/BB)

1. Brett Gardner, LF
2. Curtis Granderson, CF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, DH
5. Robinson Cano, 2B
6. Nick Swisher, RF
7. Eric Chavez, 3B
8. Eduardo Nunez, SS
9. Gustavo Molina, C

RHP Freddy Garcia (first start of season)

Duensing gets another shot at the Yankees

Left-hander Brian Duensing, who will make his first start of the season tonight against the Yankees, seemed excited but loose when talking to reporters Monday.

He joked about how he hasn’t pitched in a game since March 26, so in a recent bullpen session he had pitching coach Rick Anderson stand in at the plate to simulate pitching to a hitter. But one pitch, however, didn’t exactly go where he wanted it, as he nearly hit Anderson in the head with an errant fastball.

“I almost killed him,” Duening said with a laugh. “It was a fastball about head-high. I almost dropped it coming back, and instead of stopping my motion, I continued with it. He was already backing up, thank goodness. The next pitch was the hardest thing I had to do after throwing a pitch like that. I was in between laughing, crying and sweating all at the same time. It was bad.”

Duensing is hoping he’ll have better control when he faces the Yankees at new Yankee Stadium, a place he hasn’t exactly had great results at in the past. He’s only made two starts here, but they came in the postseason, and are two games he’d rather forget. Duensing allowed a combined 10 runs over eight innings in two defeats, including a Game 3 loss in last year’s ALDS that knocked the Twins out of the playoffs.

“I’d like to have a good outing so that I’ll like coming here,” Duensing said. “Right now, I don’t like it at all. But it’s a new year so we’ll see how it happens. You know my policy. Expect the worst, so that if it happens, you don’t get surprised by it.”

The Twins certainly hope Duensing isn’t at his worst, as they’re facing Yankees ace CC Sabathia, who has a career 3.05 ERA with 143 strikeouts and 62 walks over 191 2/3 innings against the Twins.

The Twins will also be without first baseman Justin Morneau, who is getting his first day off of the season with Michael Cuddyer getting the start at first. Jason Repko will also make his first start of the season in right field.

Lineups for the 6:05 p.m. CT start at Yankee Stadium:


1. Denard Span, CF
2. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Delmon Young, LF
5. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
6. Jason Kubel, DH
7. Danny Valencia, 3B
8. Jason Repko, RF
9. Alexi Casilla, SS

LHP Brian Duensing (first start)


1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Nick Swisher, RF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Robinson Cano, 2B
6. Jorge Posada, DH
7. Russell Martin, C
8. Andruw Jones, LF
9. Curtis Granderson, CF

LHP CC Sabatha (0-0, 3.00 ERA, 3.50 K/BB, 1.67 FIP)

New York, New York

It’s no secret that the Yankees haven’t been kind to the Twins in recent years.

After all, the Twins have gone just 2-11 against the Yankees the last two seasons, including a 1-6 record at Yankee Stadium. And Twins fans certainly don’t have to be reminded that the Yankees swept the Twins out of the postseason each of the last two years.

But Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who has a career regular-season record of 4-25 against the Yankees in New York, preferred not to talk about his club’s struggles against the Yankees before Monday night’s game.

“We’re working our way back to the Minnesota area,” Gardenhire joked. “It’s just another stopover.”

The Twins will see a new face on the mound, however, as rookie right-hander Ivan Nova is set to start for the Yankees after posting a 1.80 ERA over 20 innings in Spring Training.

He made a one-inning relief appearance against the Twins last year on May 16, but Denard Span and Joe Mauer are the only current Twins who faced him that day. Gardenhire, however, did say the Twins read scouting reports and watched video on Nova to get ready for the game and called him a Yankees “super-prospect.”

So it’ll be interesting to see how the Twins do against Nova with another new lineup, as Michael Cuddyer was benched in favor of Jason Kubel in right field with Jim Thome getting the start at designated hitter to give the Twins more of a left-handed look.

Lineups for the 6:05 p.m. CT start at Yankee Stadium

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

RHP Scott Baker

Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Jorge Posada, DH
Curtis Granderson, CF
Russell Martin, C

RHP Ivan Nova RHP

A New Day

Yesterday was an Opening Day the Twins would rather forget.

In fact, the 13-3 drubbing was a historic loss for the franchise, as it marked the club’s worst margin of defeat in a season-opening game. Their previous mark for Opening Day futility was set in 1995 when they lost 9-0 against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

They also tied a franchise record for runs allowed on Opening Day dating all the way back to 1929 when the Senators lost 13-4 to the Philadelphia A’s.

So while it was certainly an ugly start to the season, it was still just the first game of the year. And remember that a 13-3 loss and a 1-0 loss count the same in the standings. There’s simply no need to hit the panic button after one game.

And of course, it can all change today with a solid pitching performance from left-hander Francisco Liriano.

Liriano, though, needs to make sure he keeps the ball in the ballpark, as he surrendered three homers in a loss to the Jays late last season, and the Jays exploded for four homers yesterday.

So it’ll be an interesting matchup for Liriano and the Twins, who hope to bounce back from yesterday’s rough loss.

“Last night was just one of those nights where they whacked the ball around pretty good on us,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said before Saturday’s game. “So hopefully we’ll turn it around today, and Frankie will give us a good start.”

Lineups for the 12:07 p.m. CT start at Rogers Centre:

1. Denard Span CF
2. Tsuyoshi Nishioka 2B
3. Joe Mauer C
4. Justin Morneau 1B
5. Delmon Young LF
6. Jim Thome DH
7. Michael Cuddyer RF
8. Danny Valencia 3B
9. Alexi Casilla SS

Francisco Liriano, LHP

Blue Jays:

1. Yunel Escobar SS
2. Jose Bautista RF
3. Adam Lind 1B
4. Aaron Hill 2B
5. Edwin Encarnacion DH
6. Jayson Nix 3B
7. Juan Rivera LF
8. Jose Molina C
9. Mike McCoy CF

Kyle Drabek RHP