KANSAS CITY, Mo. – There are no Twins among the 20 players that Major League Baseball is reportedly ready to suspend as part of the Biogenesis scandal, but that doesn’t alleviate the sadness that Ron Gardenhire feels about the affair.
“Relieved? I’m never relieved when I see anybody’s name” involved in a performance-enhancing drug scandal, the Twins’ manager said Wednesday, a day after ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” reported that prominent players such as former MVPs Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees and Ryan Braun of the Brewers might be suspended as part of the investigation.
“To me, that’s sad stuff, to see guys’ names out there, great players. I know they’re good guys, really good guys, because I’ve had a chance to meet all those guys, at least the big guys you’re talking about. They’re good guys, so it’s a tough time. I’m not relieved. I’m disappointed for them and baseball.”
The Twins’ players heard the news after Tuesday’s game, and there has been some conversation in the clubhouse about it, but “mostly, it really feels like it doesn’t involve us. I guess it would be a bigger deal if it involved one our players,” said Glen Perkins, who represents the Twins’ players as part of the union. “I wouldn’t expect anyone in our clubhouse to be in there. But these [scandals], it’s happened before and it’ll happen again.”
Both the manager and the player rep agree that another PED scandal will hurt the sport, and overshadow the game on the field again. “It’s disappointing. You always hope you’re past all that stuff, and now this starts coming out again,” he said. “Is seems like you have to deal with it over and over. It’s sad for the game of baseball. ... But as [MLB] has said all along, we’re going to clean this thing up and get it right. ... I guess that’s what they feel they have to do right now.”
“It’s not good for our game. You have to think about that when you make decisions —whatever those decisions might be,” Perkins said. “But you know, I don’t want to say I don’t care, but we have more important things to worry about right now than that.”
Bullpen best in MLB
The Twins’ bullpen has gone through good stretches before, but the past two weeks have been especially outstanding — best in the big leagues, actually. Since May 24, the bullpen’s cumulative 0.96 ERA, encompassing 37⅓ innings, leads the major leagues, and the group’s 2.83 ERA on the season is the lowest in the American League and behind only Pittsburgh and Atlanta (2.67 each, entering Wednesday) in the majors.
Not bad for a Rule 5 pick, a waiver claim, a couple of former starters and a couple of minor-league free agents.
“Guys are making pitches. We’ve got a bunch of guys who aren’t afraid to take the ball,” Gardenhire said. “The biggest thing you worry about is overuse, [so] we try to guard against that and give guys breaks, even when they tell you they’re fine. We still know that they’ve thrown a lot. But the guys have come up and done the job.”
He wasn’t certain back in spring training that it would happen.
“Did you see how they were throwing [in spring training]? It wasn’t exactly going great down there,” Gardenhire said. “Certainly we were worried; it wasn’t clicking right until the end. They started throwing the ball a lot better the last four or five times out.”
Lapanta pinch hits
• Anthony Lapanta will do play-by-play of Thursday’s game on FSN, filling in during a rare absence by Dick Bremer. The longtime announcer will miss the game to attend his son Erik’s graduation from Rogers High.