The tarp is on the infield at Target Field, a pretty definitive sign that these dark clouds overhead are going to cause trouble tonight. Looks like batting practice will be cancelled, and the grounds crew is preparing for a long night.
Some forecasts say there's a break in the weather coming around game time, so it's not hopeless. Especially since tomorrow's forecast isn't any better, so you can bet the Twins (and the umpiring crew) will wait it out.
The Twins activated Trevor Plouffe this afternoon after he passed his final concussion test. To make room, they returned Chris Colabello to Class AAA Rochester, choosing to keep an eight-man bullpen and a three-man catching staff for the moment.
The pitching part is no surprise, especially after the Twins needed 14 innings last night. Catcher Chris Herrmann might have been a candidate to go back to Rochester, except the Twins visit Washington on next week's road trip, and manager Ron Gardenhire doesn't like how having two catchers restricts his options in games with no designated hitter.
If he puts Ryan Doumit in right field, for instance, he can't sub for defense because he needs to have someone available to catch in case Joe Mauer is injured. Herrmann also has the capability to play the outfield, even center field in a pinch, important while Wilkin Ramirez is on the disabled list.
In addition, Colabello went 1-for-11 in the week he was with the Twins, making the decision a little easier. Too bad Colabello didn't get to play a game at Target Field -- even though he wore the home jersey last night -- but his chance will likely come again later this summer.
Samuel Deduno (0-1, 10.13 ERA) makes his second start tonight, against Marco Estrado (4-2, 4.94) for the Brewers, who have lost four straight and now own a worse record than everyone but Miami in the National League.
I'll be back to update with lineups and maybe a weather report shortly.
UPDATE: Tonight's lineup has Joe Mauer batting third, and serving as the designated hitter. Chris Herrmann will catch Deduno -- they had one good game together for Rochester, "and that's good enough for me," Gardenhire said.
Gardenhire said he was encouraged by Brian Dozier's three-hit night in Milwaukee last night, enough to keep him in the No. 2 hole now that they're using American League rules again. Didn't sound like the move is necessarily permanent, but just a reaction to how the team has been playing lately. Same with the eight-man bullpen -- "I'd love to go to a six-man bullpen," Gardenhire said, "but that takes our starters getting deep into games every night." And that's not happening right now.
Here are the lineups for the 7:10 start, which looks a lot more likely than it did an hour ago -- the skies have brightened, and the rain is very light right now.