TORONTO — Eddie Rosario’s reputation for disruption has traveled around the league. It paid off with a couple of runs on Monday.
With runners on first and second and one out in the third inning, Brian Dozier hit a double-play ball to shortstop. But Dozier hustled up the line, and when Jays second baseman Devon Travis didn’t make the pivot quickly, Dozier beat the throw, extending the inning.
That brought up Logan Morrison, and the infield shifted far to the right — except for third baseman Yangervis Solarte, who remained within 15 feet of third base rather than assume a position near deep short, as he normally would. That’s because the runner at third was Rosario, who has made it a habit of jockeying up and down the line to distract the pitcher. A similar play by Dozier forced a balk against Tampa Bay last week.
With their attention focused on Rosario, the Jays didn’t even throw to second base when Dozier stole it. And then Morrison hit a ground ball toward the shortstop position — but there was no fielder to stop it from rolling to center field and driving two runs home.
“I was trying to hit the ball up the middle,” said Morrison, who later beat the Jays’ shift by hitting a ball over it, and into the center field seats. “It doesn’t always happen when you’re hitting. I don’t have a joystick out there. But it worked out this time.”
When Eduardo Escobar came out of the game in the seventh inning, the rumors were triggered. When Brian Dozier joined him an inning later, they doubled.
Obviously the Twins have traded their infielders, and are removing them at the behest of their new team, right?
“If they have, I’m the last to know,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Because I haven’t heard a thing.”
The truth, Molitor said, is he wants to get some of his backup players a little more playing time. Ehire Adrianza, who played only once in Kansas City, took over for Escobar, while Taylor Motter, who hadn’t played since last Wednesday in the minors, replaced Dozier. In addition, Jake Cave took over for Eddie Rosario in left.
“After three games in Kansas City and a travel day off the turf, just trying to give some guys a couple innings off there,” Molitor said. “I’m looking at trying to get some guys in there that haven’t played a heck of a lot, but at the same time, we’re trying to put together the best team we can. We might get a couple different looks the next couple of days.”
The same holds true for his pitching usage; with the Twins enjoying an 8-1 lead, the manager called upon Matt Belisle, Matt Magill and Fernando Rodney — the latter two hadn’t pitched since before the All-Star break — to finish the game.
“Rodney hadn’t pitched in a long time. Magill hasn’t pitched either. I tried to figure out a way to get him an inning and still have him for some length tomorrow,” Molitor said. “Rodney had a little misfortune [in his inning, giving up two runs]. A bloop double, and then we give up a base not holding a runner.”
The Twins made no transactions after the game, so Adalberto Mejia remains on the roster at least until Tuesday. But the Twins will need a roster spot for Ervin Santana on Wednesday, so Mejia is the logical choice to return to the minors, assuming there are no trades in the meantime. The Twins will also have to drop a player from the 40-man roster in order to activate Santana from the 60-day disabled list.