Twins' offense cries out for another bat
- Article by: Joe Christensen
- Star Tribune
- June 10, 2007 - 9:43 PM
As the Twins consider trade options to bolster their inconsistent lineup, their focus appears to be adding a designated hitter or third baseman.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire acknowledged the need Sunday during his weekly radio show.
"You'd like to have one big bat, another big bat, either in the DH spot, or maybe put him at third base and put [Nick] Punto in the middle of the infield," Gardenhire told KSTP AM-1500. "Yeah, there's options. There's things that we can do here to probably improve it and give us even more depth all the way down through the lineup."
There are indications that one player the Twins could target is Tampa Bay infielder Ty Wigginton, a righthanded hitter who is batting .263 with 11 home runs and 33 RBI.
Wigginton, 29, is making $2.7 million this season, keeping him in the Twins' price range. Tampa Bay needs pitching, making the Devil Rays a good match for a team flush with pitching prospects.
When asked during his pregame session with reporters if his team needed another bat, Gardenhire said, "I think that's easy to say with any team. ... It's easy to say, but it's not that easy to go find.
"I think our organization is willing to go out there if it's the right fit and you don't ask too much for it. So after the draft now, it gets closer to the time when maybe they can start looking around and talking about it.
"Right now, all I can worry about is what we have here and trying to get on a roll with this offense."
Joe Mauer stopped by Gardenhire's office to say he felt good after catching the previous two games, but Gardenhire stuck with the plan to rest the batting champ, rather than let him serve as designated hitter.
Gardenhire said Mauer was available off the bench, but the need didn't arise Sunday in the 6-3 victory over Washington.
The Twins are reluctant to use Mauer as the DH because he strained his left quadriceps as the DH on May 4. Gardenhire stressed the team is being more cautious now, simply because Mauer just came off the disabled list after missing five weeks.
In other words, if Mauer's leg keeps responding well on days after he catches, he could DH again soon.
"I told them it's feeling pretty good," Mauer said. "Hopefully they won't be worried about my leg if it keeps going like this."
Jason Kubel, who left Saturday's game because of a hyperextended right knee, said he hopes to return to the lineup Tuesday.
"It's feeling better," he said. "It's a little sore but definitely better."
Kubel saw the team orthopedist, Dr. John Steubs, but said he won't need an MRI exam.
Gardenhire indicated Garrett Jones would be the likely call-up from Class AAA Rochester if Kubel or another outfielder went down.
"I liked [Jones] when he was up here; I liked the threat," Gardenhire said.
Outfielder Rondell White (strained right calf) has resumed his running program in Fort Myers, Fla., but Gardenhire's medical report said White was only at about 70 percent full speed.
Reliever Dennys Reyes (left shoulder inflammation) had no setbacks in a bullpen session. The next step is a simulated game Tuesday and then, possibly, a minor league rehab stint.
Joe Christensen firstname.lastname@example.org
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