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The Minnesota Twins' Justin Morneau

Rodger Mallison, Mct - Mct

Morneau set for special delivery

  • Article by: La VELLE E. NEAL III
  • Star Tribune
  • July 21, 2012 - 12:51 AM

KANSAS CITY, MO. - Justin Morneau was the designated hitter on Friday, in case he needed to make a fast getaway.

His wife, Krista, is due with their second child.

How soon? "Like ... now," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Morneau made it through Friday's game, going 0-for-5 in the 2-1, 11-inning victory over the Royals. But plans are in place for him to leave the team when it's time for family expansion.

"A private jet will pick him up," Gardenhire joked. "Or a helicopter."

Once he leaves, he will be placed on the league's paternity list, which gives him three days to return to the team and allows the Twins to call up a replacement -- likely Chris Parmelee, batting .302 with four homers and 18 RBI in 28 games at Class AAA Rochester.

Bullpen or playpen?

The Twins are committed to splitting closing duties between Glen Perkins and Jared Burton, depending on freshness and matchups. Perkins got the nod Friday, earning his fifth save.

But for the plan to work, the Twins need righthander Alex Burnett to pitch in more important situations in games. On Thursday, he walked two Orioles and took the loss when both runners came around to score.

"He's really going to have to help us out," Gardenhire said.

Another reason Burnett needs to step up is because the Twins are in uncharted territory with Burton. He has been fantastic, posting a 2.35 ERA in 39 games after a scoreless eighth inning Friday. But Burton has never pitched this late into a season without getting injured. So they plan to closely monitor his workload.

Another pitcher who figures to get more late-inning looks is righthander Casey Fien, who worked two scoreless innings Friday and has thrown 8 1/3 scoreless innings since being called up from Rochester. "Fantastic," Gardenhire said before the game of Fien's pitching so far.

Negro Leagues salute

The Royals are saluting the Negro Leagues on Saturday, and they will wear Kansas City Monarchs uniforms. The Twins will oblige by wearing St. Paul Gophers uniforms.

The Gophers were formed in 1907 and lasted just four years. They weren't an official Negro Leagues team, because the league wasn't established until 1920.

In addition, Twins great Tony Oliva is in town to take part in a Q & A at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum on Saturday.

Etc.

• Lefthander Brian Duensing originally was charged with an earned run against Baltimore on Thursday on the play in which third baseman Trevor Plouffe overthrew Joe Mauer at home plate. The Twins announced on Friday that the league had decided to change it to an unearned run.

• The Royals will start righthander Jeremy Guthrie in Sunday's series finale. Friday, they traded lefthander Jonathan Sanchez to Colorado for Guthrie, who was 3-9 with a 6.35 ERA for the Rockies in 19 games (15 starts).

• Reliever Carlos Gutierrez, the Twins' first-round pick in 2008, had surgery on Friday to clean up his shoulder. The surgery was performed by Los Angeles Angels team physician Dr. Lewis Yocum.

• Righthander Carl Pavano remains on track to throw in the bullpen on Sunday. He has been throwing in long-toss drills for the past couple of weeks.

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