KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Andrew Albers was on a clubhouse phone a few minutes ago, speaking French as he answered questions from a radio station in Quebec about his impressive major-league debut last night. When he finished, he granted one more interview, with me.
How many does this make today? "About 20," he said, "starting at 9 a.m."
That's the price of being a national hero.
The native of North Battleford, Saskatchewan, is the talk of Canada today, apparently, after holding the Royals to four singles over 8 1/3 innings in the Twins' 7-0 victory. And the fact that British Columbia native Justin Morneau helped give him a three-run lead before he even took the mound made it even better.
"It was nice to get a guy the lead in his first game, no matter who it is," said Morneau, whose two-run home run in the first inning also gave him the Twins' home run lead. "To see a fellow Canadian throw that well makes it extra special."
But Albers said his preparation for his next start, against the Indians on Monday at Target Field, begins "right now. I've got to put last night aside, as exciting as it was, and get into my regular routine. One game doesn't mean much -- I've got a job to do, and that's to get ready to pitch again."
There were a few items of news with the team today, too: Liam Hendriks has, as expected, been chosen to start Friday night's second game in Chicago. He'll serve as the 26th man major-league teams are allowed to add for doubleheaders, then return to Rochester.
Aaron Hicks suffered a strained right quad in Durham, N.C., last night, and is not in Rochester's lineup tonight. The timing is perfect, however, because Darin Mastroianni has arrived to begin his rehab assignment, and will step in for Hicks tonight. Hicks' injury is not considered serious, assistant general manager Rob Antony said, and should only keep him out for a few days.
Meanwhile, the Twins career of Tim Wood, the 2012 International League Relief Pitcher of the Year, has apparently ended before it even started. The righthander, signed to a $675,000 one-year contract before the season, will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his pitching shoulder on Aug. 22, leaving his future in doubt. Wood turns 31 in November, pitched a total of 9 1/3 innings in the minor leagues this season, and now faces a rehabilitation period before he can pitch again.
Speaking of returning from injury, Danny Duffy returns to the major leagues for the Royals tonight, having undergone elbow reconstruction surgery a little over a year ago. He last pitched for Kansas City on May 13, 2012. He'll face Sam Deduno, as the Twins try to win a series from the Royals for the first time this year.
Joe Mauer gets the night off, following manager Ron Gardenhire's usual pattern of resting Mauer the night before an off day, giving him a two-day break. Chris Colabello, who homered last night, moved into the cleanup spot for the first time. And Pedro Florimon is back, after injuring his left wrist last Saturday; he missed four games with the injury.