I'm in Milwaukee for the Twins' series. Before the game, the Twins announced that Justin Morneau will be out until at least August. He'll undergo surgery on his neck to repair a herniated disc that is causing pain and numbness in his left arm.
We all know that the Twins have been decimated by injuries. Let's spin this story forward in two ways:
1. Gardenhire said Mauer is taking grounders in case the Twins need him to play another position with Morneau out. This can only be good. This lineup's lack of run production is catching up to it this week. Mauer needs to be in the lineup every day, one way or another. And in a National League city, with the DH not available, he should be available to play first base.
2. Once again Michael Cuddyer becomes invaluable. He's helped carry this team all month, and now he'll be needed at first, DH and in rightfield, and we know he's willing to play every day, and play with pain, and attempt to lead this team.
I didn't think there was any chance of Cuddyer re-signing with the Twins, but it's such a good marriage, both sides should strive to find a way. He's the kind of guy who should play with one franchise his entire career. He's smart enough to know the grass isn't greener elsewhere, and the Twins' entire organization values him.
And if you didn't think there was a place for him to play next year, well, the Twins can't assume Morneau is going to play 150 games at first base next season. Cuddyer would again be the perfect combination first baseman/outfielder for this team.
-Yes, I liked David Kahn's draft on Thursday night. But you knew there had to be another layer of intrigue, and here it is: There are reports (from Draftexpress.com) that Tanguy Ngombo of Qatar is 27, not 21, and is too old to be eligible for the draft.
That would be a blow to a front office that has been touting its international scouting.
What's really fascinating is that if you spell his name backwards, you get Yugnat Obmogn.
-Jose Mijares continues to be a major disappointment. Or maybe we just expected too much from him.
The guy has a career 2.73 ERA, and yet you can't trust him.
-Spoke with former Twin LaTroy Hawkins, one of my favorites, before the game. He underwent shoulder surgery last year, and has allowed just one run this season. His ERA is 0.47.
``I'm sticking around, trying to get some guys out,'' he said with a smile. ``Surgery was tough. Missing a lot of last year was tough. But I couldn't be mad. I went a long time without having surgery.
``I think the hardest part is rehab. Rehab sucks. I mean, rehab sucks. It threw mjy whole offseason out of whack.
``But you know what, you go through it and it makes you stronger and makes you appreciate your talent. It's not like I didn't take care of myself the first time, but you do take extra steps to give yourself a second chance to play the game.''
-Twins lose, 4-3. Key moment is Ron Gardenhire's decision to take Scott Baker out and have Mijares pitch to lefty Prince Fielder, one of baseball best and hottest hitters.
Fielders kills righthanders, but he also hits well against lefties.
My default position on this remains the same: I favor the Twins' starters, who have been the key to their turnaround, staying in the game as long as they can. I would much rather have Baker decide the game than Mijares. In any situation. Against any batter.
-My Milwaukee colleagues tell me that Delmon Young worked out at Miller Park for the Brewers when he was eligible for the draft in which the Rays took him first overall.
They said he put on the best power hitting display they've ever seen from an 18-year-old, bashing homers to all fields. Then the Brewers told him he could hit in the first group of batting practice, with the scrubs, and he insisted on hitting with sluggers like Richie Sexson. And he put them to shame.
Which is another reminder that Young should spend more at-bats trying to knock down a scoreboard and fewer trying to bloop a single to right.
-Upcoming: We're aiming for Wolves and Twins guests on Sunday Morning Sports Talk, 10-noon on Sunday, following the Ron Gardenhire Show at 9:30 on 1500ESPN. Also, Milwaukee radio star Drew Olson will join us to talk Brewers, Packers, Bucks, etc.
My Twitter handle is @Souhanstrib.