Jim Thome is at Target Field tonight, to be honored for his induction into the Hall of Fame, and there are a few Twins dignitaries here to take part. Michael Cuddyer is here for the weekend, and Jason Kubel arrived a few moments ago, looking like he could still smack a few doubles in the gap.
Also set to arrive here, albeit not until tomorrow: Michael Pineda. The big righthander, recovering from last year’s Tommy John surgery, is returning to Minneapolis to have his right knee examined, including an MRI. It’s been bothering him slightly, and he mentioned it to trainers after a bullpen session in Rochester, where he was scheduled to make his second Triple-A start on Sunday.
“It hasn’t been to a point where we felt it was inhibiting him at all,” said Twins manager Paul Molitor, who added that there is no swelling in his knee. “When he threw his bullpen the other day, he thought he should back down. We all know he’s at a point where we’re not going to push anything.”
It’s the first sign of any difficulty in Pineda’s comeback, one the Twins project will wind up with him in their rotation next spring. But it merely delays, not derails, Pineda’s progress, Molitor said; the injury is considered minor, and Pineda should still be able to pitch in a couple of games in September.
In tonight’s game, Stephen Gonsalves will make his second major-league start on the mound, and Willians Astudillo will make his first major-league start behind the plate. It’s an inexperienced battery, but Molitor believes there is a comfort level between the two the should help.
Here are the lineups for tonight’s game with Oakland: