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Latest rough outing bums Rincon

  • Article by: Joe Christensen
  • Star Tribune
  • July 14, 2007 - 11:02 PM

Pat Neshek has replaced Juan Rincon as the Twins' primary setup man, but that hasn't made Rincon's struggles any easier to stomach for him or the team.

Rincon had lowered his ERA to 3.98 by giving up one run in seven appearances before his rough outing in Friday's 5-3 victory over Oakland.

He gave up three runs in one-third of an inning and gave up his sixth homer of the season, raising his ERA back to 4.78.

"Things can turn around," Rincon said Saturday. "I don't think it can get any worse."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said the team is trying to find situations for Rincon to restore his confidence. Rincon has been inconsistent with his delivery, leading to sloppy location.

"He used to be able to throw the ball on the four spot, which is the outside corner to righthanders," Gardenhire said. "He used to be able to be consistent, and right now he can't get it there."

Comments stir Twins

Gardenhire met with team President Dave St. Peter on Saturday, expressing frustration with comments made on KSTP following Friday's game.

Talk host Dave Thompson, who came on after the Twins' postgame show, made reference to the 10-game suspension Rincon received in May 2005 for violating baseball's policy on performance-enhancing drugs and suggested Rincon hasn't been the same.

"It's been talked about, and it's being addressed," Gardenhire said. "We've had our say with our president, and he's going to take care of it. He's going to talk to them.

"They're supposed to be with us. And some of the things that were said were uncalled for and wrong."

St. Peter said he hadn't heard the comments but was trying to track down a copy. "Obviously, we're concerned," St. Peter said. "But in fairness, we need to look into it before commenting."

Before batting practice, Gardenhire also talked with KSTP color analyst Jack Morris about a question Morris asked Nick Punto following Friday's game. Morris asked Punto about the team trying to give the bullpen work in relief of Johan Santana. But Morris stressed Saturday that he wasn't second-guessing the decision to pull Santana with 91 pitches and a shutout bid.

Jones spells Morneau

Garrett Jones started at first base, allowing Justin Morneau to serve as the designated hitter.

Morneau's All-Star break was busy, as he competed in the Home Run Derby, the All-Star Game itself and attended the ESPYs on Wednesday in Los Angeles.

"Morneau obviously hasn't had a break at all," Gardenhire said.

Etc.

• Keeping Santana on his usual five-day schedule, with an open date Monday, the Twins will send Matt Garza, Santana and Scott Baker against the Tigers in their upcoming series, Tuesday through Thursday.

• Glen Perkins gave up three runs, including a two-run homer, in a one-inning start for Class A Fort Myers on Saturday. It was Perkins' second rehabilitation appearance, as he recovers from a strained left shoulder muscle.

Joe Christensen • jchristensen@startribune.com

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