With just over a week to go before the July 31 deadline for trades without waivers, the chatter about available hitters is increasing. And scouts from the Mets and Giants were on hand Saturday at the Twins-Angels game.
There are indications that the Twins might have interest in Washington's Dmitri Young, who entered Saturday second in the National League batting race.
A history lesson is required here. The Twins were interested last year in the Nationals' Alfonso Soriano, but Washington GM Jim Bowden wanted Matt Garza and two additional top pitching prospects in return. The Twins were able to modify the deal, but the Nationals surprisingly never traded Soriano, and he joined the Cubs as a free agent this year.
Young, batting .340, would more than fill the Twins' need for a quality hitter.
Tampa Bay infielder Ty Wigginton, who also would be a good fit for the Twins, is now being pursued by the Mets and Yankees, with reports out of New York indicating that the Yankees would give up reliever Scott Proctor to get him.
It's not out of the question that the Twins would try to get a veteran hitter such as Cincinnati's Jeff Conine. The club has tried to sign Conine as a free agent in the past. And the Reds and Twins have made two deals since former Twins assistant GM Wayne Krivsky left to become Cincinnati's general manager.
Twins GM Terry Ryan will remain in the Twin Cities and man the phones before the trade deadline while the club travels to Toronto for a three-game series that begins on Monday.
Kubel sees a change
Jason Kubel tapped out in his first at-bat Saturday, ending a streak of reaching base in seven consecutive plate appearances.
After batting around .250 most of the season, the Twins hope it's the beginning of a hot streak by the outfielder.
Kubel said he's seeing the ball as well as he has all season.
"It took half a year to get it but at least it's here," said Kubel, who wound up going 0-for-2 with a walk in the 5-2 victory over the Angels. "This is a good time to get it. I just want to keep it up and don't do anything different."
Twins outfielder Torii Hunter is rooting for Kubel to step up during this crucial point of the season.
"I'm glad he's swinging like that," Hunter said. "That gives me a little more protection. If he keeps swinging like that it will be good for us."
The saga continues
Rondell White, out since the first week of the season, is healthy but still hasn't played a full game during his minor league rehabilitation stint.
That's because White's game Saturday with the Twins' rookie league team was shortened to four innings because of rain. He did go 1-for-2 before play was stopped.
Hunter spoke with White on Saturday afternoon, and White told him he's ready to return to the Twin Cities after more than two months in Fort Myers, Fla.
Manager Ron Gardenhire has made it clear that he wants White back, but Ryan would like to see White play nine innings first.
"His legs seem to be in good shape," Ryan said. "His calf hasn't been an issue."
White landed on the disabled list because of a torn right calf muscle but was slowed recently by a strained left hamstring.
Catcher Mike Redmond is still bothered by a sore knuckle on his left middle finger. He didn't go through pregame workouts for a second consecutive game, didn't play and won't start today. Gardenhire said he would consider calling up a third catcher if Redmond doesn't get better.
The Twins entered Saturday with a 3.83 team ERA in July, fourth-lowest in the majors.
After Saturday's game, the Angels traded backup catcher Jose Molina to the Yankees for minor league reliever Jeff Kennard. Molina had been with the Angels since 2001.