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Twins notebook: Twins ask Bonser to lighten up, literally

  • Article by: Joe Christensen
  • Star Tribune
  • August 20, 2007 - 12:11 AM

With Boof Bonser riding a 12-start winless streak, the Twins will keep him in the starting rotation, but they want him to lose weight.

Bonser, 24, is listed on the roster at 6-4 and 260 pounds. Manager Ron Gardenhire said Bonser has worked hard to maintain that weight all season, but now the team wants to see how he will do by shedding about 10 to 15 pounds.

Gardenhire said he has spoken to strength and conditioning coach Perry Castellano about a diet program Bonser can begin soon and carry into the offseason.

"It's not like his weight really fluctuates up and down; it stays the same," Gardenhire said. "He comes in and does all of his work, but if we got him down to a better weight, we'll see. We'll talk to him about it and see if that will help."

Bonser is 5-10 with a 4.93 ERA, despite going 0-8 during the longest winless streak for a Twins pitcher since Pat Mahomes went 12 starts without a victory from 1995 to 1996.

Opponents are batting .269 against Bonser in innings 1-4 but .337 in the fifth inning and .328 in the sixth. Those numbers raise questions about his stamina.

"Now we take him and say, 'OK, this is what we think can get you to the next level,' " Gardenhire said.

Blister not a concern

Johan Santana's slider was the pitch that gave him the most trouble when he was dealing with a cracked fingernail and blister problem in recent weeks.

Only four of Santana's 112 pitches were sliders in Sunday's 1-0 victory over Texas, but he said the finger wasn't the reason. He said he also threw very few sliders when striking out 13 Rangers in a 7-1 victory May 22.

"I wasn't really thinking about my finger or my slider," Santana said. "I was just trying to get people out."

Though Santana's finger is mostly healed, Gardenhire did cite it as one reason not to push him past the eighth inning.

"We were going to give him the decision," Gardenhire said. "With him tipping his hat and everything, 110-plus pitches, coming off a blister, broken fingernail and all those things, we were going to give him a decision, but you know, what? He did his job. He did everything he was supposed to do."

Gaetti's induction

After officially becoming the 18th member of the Twins Hall of Fame, Gary Gaetti threw out the ceremonial first pitch — with a twist.

He went to third base and fired to first baseman Kent Hrbek, re-enacting a play they'd made since their days at rookie level Elizabethton in 1979 and more famously to end the 1987 World Series.

"I would just like to say thanks to Kent for being my best friend in baseball, for making me laugh and being such a big target at first base," Gaetti said.

Etc.

• Twins shortstop Jason Bartlett missed the series becaues of a strained left hamstring, but the training staff thinks he will be ready to play again within two or three days.

• Jason Kubel sat one day after returning to the lineup and going 2-for-4. His right oblique muscle was fine, Gardenhire said, but "I don't think he's ready to run around and throw the ball." Joe Mauer was the DH, and Rondell White started in left field.

• Third baseman Brian Buscher (right leg infection) is 4-for-9 three games into his rehab assignment for Class AAA Rochester and likely will be activated from the disabled list when he is eligible on Wednesday.

• Justin Morneau had drawn only one walk in 65 August plate appearances before going 0-for-1 with three walks Sunday.

Joe Christensen • jchristensen@startribune.com

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