Twins have interested observers

  • Article by: La Velle E. Neal III
  • Star Tribune
  • July 24, 2007 - 11:06 PM

TORONTO — This is the time of year during which it's just as interesting to see who's in the stands as it is to watch what's happening on the field.

On Tuesday, Tampa Bay's pro scout Lee Elia was in attendance. It's no secret the Twins are interested in infielder Ty Wigginton, so Elia's presence was an eyebrow-raiser. The Mets and Yankees also are interested in Wigginton, who can play first, second and third and has some pop.

On Saturday, Philadelphia assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was in attendance when Twins prospect Kevin Slowey, currently with Class AAA Rochester, faced Ottawa. The Phillies might set club records for offense this season, but they badly need pitching. Pat Burrell (.249, 12 home runs and 46 RBI) could be available, but he's making over $13 million this season and Philadelphia would have to eat most of that salary.

The Twins continue to look for offensive help, but their current three-game losing streak is making a playoff run look doubtful. Still, manager Ron Gardenhire said before the game that winning games could encourage GM Terry Ryan even more to make a deal.

"Well, we're trying to stay close," Gardenhire said. "You want to stay as close as you can to give your GM a chance to say, 'If we can do this, this could help us get over the hump.' "

Gardenhire said he hadn't spoken to Ryan as of Tuesday afternoon, which reminded him of something.

"Is my phone plugged in over there?" he said. "I better plug that sucker in."

White OK

Although designated hitter Rondell White was 0-for-4 on Monday in his first game since April 4, he said he didn't feel as out of sync at the plate as he had feared. White, who had a torn right calf muscle and sore hamstrings, is treating his legs daily, but it's not known when, or if, he'll be able to play in the outfield.

"The only issue is going to be running," Gardenhire said. "The legs aren't there."

White went 2-for-4 with a double Tuesday night.

Rotation news

Lefthander Johan Santana will be kept on his five-day schedule, so righthander Matt Garza, who pitched on Sunday in front of Santana, will start Sunday in Cleveland after Santana.

The matchups for the Cleveland series: Friday, Boof Bonser vs. Paul Byrd; Saturday, Santana vs. Jake Westbrook; Sunday, Garza vs. C.C. Sabathia.

Bunting woes

Anyone who gets to the Metrodome by 3 p.m. on game days has seen Jason Bartlett, Nick Punto, Jason Tyner and others practicing bunts before pregame workouts begin.

Despite the extra effort, the Twins often have struggled to get bunts down and move runners over. Bartlett, Punto and Luis Castillo all have failed recently to get bunts down.

"We've been so bad at it that when we do have to do it, we think so much about it," Bartlett said. "We think so much about mechanics rather than just bunting the ball."

After Bartlett failed to get a bunt down on Sunday, Gardenhire was going over mechanics with him in the dugout.

"I used to be able to bunt great," Bartlett said. "Now I think about it too much, trying to do different things all the time."

Redmond ready

Backup catcher Mike Redmond has done little since Thursday, when he felt the knuckle on his left middle finger pop while swinging a bat. But he took batting prac- tice before Tuesday's game and is expected to start today.

Joe Mauer has caught five consecutive days since Redmond was sidelined, including Sunday's day game after a night game.

"Joe is sore," Gardenhire said. "He's catching [Tuesday], but his body is feeling it. You can see it."

La Velle E. Neal III •

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