Trevor Plouffe, left, celebrated his first-inning home run with Jason Kubel. Plouffe also had a double in the Twins' 13-5 victory over the Angels.

Gus Ruelas, Associated Press

Shorthanded Twins roll with Mauer on bench again

  • Article by: LA VELLE E. NEAL III
  • Star Tribune
  • September 3, 2011 - 1:15 AM

ANAHEIM, CALIF. — Twins manager Ron Gardenhire looked at his roster Friday and was reminded of the never-ending run of injuries.

"I need more players," he said. "I still have only three players on the bench, and I have three catchers on my roster."

He wasn't complaining. He stated it matter-of-factly. Perhaps he has been desensitized after a season's worth of updates by trainer Rick McWane. The Twins have used the disabled list 24 times this season, with six players missing at least 47 games and 11 missing at least 20.

Then, before the first pitch was thrown Friday, Joe Mauer was scratched because of an upper respiratory infection.

Gardenhire was down to two bench players for the start of the series vs. the Angels: catcher Rene Rivera and outfielder Jason Repko. Neither was needed as the Twins won 13-5, giving them back-to-back victories for the first time since July 26-27.

The Twins would like to bring back infielder Matt Tolbert from Class AAA Rochester, but he has to remain there at least 10 days after being sent down Sunday.

It's September. Any player on the 40-man roster can been called up to the majors, but the Twins have so many injuries that the players they normally would call up are already here. Apparently, they are reluctant to make moves to create space on the 40-man roster to provide reinforcements.

And the few players that are on 40-man roster at Class AA New Britain are trying to get the Rock Cats into the Eastern League playoffs. "You can't rob that team," Gardenhire said.

So the Twins have achieved what seemed impossible: They are shorthanded in September.

Lefthander Glen Perkins, a revelation out of the bullpen this season, is not available for a few days because of a sore forearm.

Morneau, who has been battling mild concussion symptoms, took some swings Friday but isn't expected to be ready for several more days.

When Mauer dropped out of the starting lineup, Luke Hughes stepped in at first base. This is the time for Hughes, Trevor Plouffe and Rene Tosoni to show they can be factors in 2012, and all three had two hits Friday.

The injuries never ended for the Twins this season, so they might as well give playing time to those who need developing.

"Do we really have anything else to talk about?" Gardenhire asked after McWane's injury update.

Yes. A reporter wanted to know more on prospect Kyle Gibson's upcoming elbow surgery.

Taking advantage

Angels ace Jered Weaver was supposed to start Friday but had to attend his grandfather's funeral. His replacement, rookie righthander Tyler Chatwood, entered with 63 walks in 130 1/3 innings.

And he pitched accordingly.

After holding the Twins to a solo homer by Plouffe over the first three innings, he couldn't find the plate. The Twins scored five times in the fourth and continued pouring it on against the Angels bullpen.

The Twins trailed 2-1 heading into the fourth before scoring two quick runs for a 3-2 lead. With two outs and Hughes on third, Chatwood walked Ben Revere, Plouffe and Jason Kubel to force in a run. That was it for Chatwood, but the Twins scored two more runs in the inning on an RBI infield single by Michael Cuddyer and bases-loaded walk by Danny Valencia off Jerome Williams.

The Twins drew two more bases-loaded walks in the eighth inning. They walked nine times in all, in addition to their 15 hits.

Carl Pavano pitched into the seventh inning to win for the first time since July 7.


• The Twins are worried about who will start Tuesday vs. the White Sox. On Monday, they plan to start righthander Anthony Swarzak and lefthander Scott Diamond in a day-night doubleheader. They will call up a reliever for Monday but don't have a starter for Tuesday. "It's a work in progress," Gardenhire said.

• McWane said injured lefthander Francisco Liriano feels better, but his agents will send him to Angels expert Dr. Lewis Yocum for a second opinion Saturday. A recent magnetic resonance imaging exam of Liriano's shoulder was as clean as the one taken in May. But the recent MRI has been sent to Yocum to be looked at.

• Injured center fielder Denard Span returned to the Twin Cities and will work out at Target Field on Saturday.

• Alexi Casilla is making good progress with his hamstring and will start jogging Saturday.

• Scott Baker (elbow) threw in the bullpen Thursday and will throw again Saturday.

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