Greetings from sunny Target Field, where barely nine hours have passed since I left last night. The grounds crew is mowing the grass, taking advantage of a little extra time since neither team is planning to take batting practice before today's TV-dictated 12:10 p.m. start.
No, there's no Gopher football game tonight -- the reason the Twins are playing so early is because Fox's national exclusive window starts at 3 p.m., meaning no team can televise a game that largely takes place between 3-6 p.m. In order to put the game on FSN today, the game must start at noon.
Having faced one of the Mariners' prized righthanders -- and become Seattle's seventh shutout victim of the year, which leads the majors -- the Twins get a break today. They'll face Aaron Harang, whose season has been a 2-5, 6.51 ERA disappointment -- though he did record one of those shutouts his last time out, a complete-game 9-0 victory over San Diego. Harang threw 122 pitches in that one, so we'll see if there is any carryover.
The Twins will be using Kevin Correia, who is 0-1 in two career starts against Seattle.
UPDATES: Justin Morneau came in today with the flu, Ron Gardenhire said, and is "lying down in a dark room" at the moment. He was scratched from the lineup, and replaced by Chris Colabello, and the Twins don't know if he'll be able to pinch-hit later.
The decision to play Colabello was a tough one, Gardenhire said, because he would like to get Chris Herrmann some at-bats, too. But Colabello was swinging the bat so well in Triple-A -- though that was almost two weeks ago now -- that Gardenhire would like to see if he can provide that sort of production up here.
Joe Mauer is back in the No. 2 spot in the order; Gardenhire said that spot had RBI chances last night, and he realized he preferred Mauer being at the plate to Brian Dozier. With the bottom of the lineup hitting lately, it was an easy move to make, he said.
The Mariners have announced Sunday's starting pitcher, and it's someone the Twins know well -- or used to. Jeremy Bonderman, who won 67 games with the Tigers (and is 5-6 in 17 career starts against the Twins) will make his first major-league start since 2010. The Twins are trying to track down some recent tapes of him in the minor leagues, because "the old stuff won't do us any good," Gardenhire said.
Here are today's lineups:
Endy Chavez RF
Jason Bay LF
Kyle Seager 3B
Kendrys Morales 1B
Raul Ibanez DH
Nick Franklin 2B
Michael Saunders CF
Kelly Shoppach C
Brendan Ryan SS