Punto will not use injury as an excuse

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 26, 2007 - 11:23 PM

DETROIT - Twins infielder Nick Punto kept the news quiet because the last thing he wanted, during this miserable season, was to make excuses.

But Punto played through pain in his rib cage area for about six weeks after suffering a slight oblique muscle injury in early June.

During those weeks, Punto stopped going to the batting cage for extra hitting, choosing to save his swings for on-field batting practice and the games.

He felt better at the end of August, and it helps explain why September has been his best month.

Punto ended August with a .197 batting average. But he has raised that average to .212 by batting .311 (19-for-61) for September.

Punto sounded surprised when a reporter asked him about the injury.

"I don't want it to be an excuse because I felt plenty good enough to play," he said. "If I had it to do all over again, I would have done the same thing."

Punto battled numerous injuries earlier in his career, but the past two seasons he has shed the label as a player who can't keep himself in the lineup.

He played 135 games last year and batted .290.

This year, he has played a career-high 147 games.

"A few years ago, maybe I would have said something about [the injury]," he said. "But I had a good enough swing. I wasn't about to pull myself out of the lineup and let my teammates down."

Gardenhire's view

One day after Torii Hunter told KFAN AM-1130, "Somebody needs to slap a couple people around and say, 'You got to play no matter what,' " manager Ron Gardenhire said that's not his jurisdiction.

"Players can get on players all they want, and they should," Gardenhire said. "As a manager, I have respect for these players enough, if they tell me they can't play, they can't play."

Gardenhire added, "It's the worst thing a manager can do is question a guy's heart.

"From a manager's standpoint, you start questioning whether a guy is really hurt or not, I don't think you'll have this job too long. I really don't. You'll lose the players. You'll lose respect. It's very important to have the players' respect and understanding."

Umpire shuffle

After his heated exchange with San Diego Padres outfielder Milton Bradley on Sunday, umpire Mike Winters was in Detroit for the Twins-Tigers series.

  • related content

  • Twins: It was that kind of season

    Wednesday September 26, 2007

    Johan Santana's final start of 2007 was shortened to three innings because of a lengthy rain delay in Detroit.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - LP: A. Loup 4 FINAL
Cleveland - WP: J. Outman 6
LA Angels - LP: H. Santiago 1 FINAL
Detroit - WP: R. Porcello 2
Atlanta - LP: G. Schlosser 3 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: J. Valverde 4
Seattle - LP: T. Wilhelmsen 2 FINAL
Miami - WP: M. Dunn 3
St. Louis - LP: S. Maness 2 FINAL
Washington - WP: R. Soriano 3
Milwaukee - WP: Z. Duke 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: J. Gomez 2
NY Yankees - WP: P. Claiborne 5 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: H. Bell 1
Minnesota - WP: P. Hughes 8 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: Y. Ventura 3
Cincinnati - WP: H. Bailey 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: C. Villanueva 2
Chicago WSox - WP: E. Johnson 16 FINAL
Texas - LP: R. Ross Jr. 2
Houston - LP: B. Peacock 1 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Chavez 4
Philadelphia - WP: J. Diekman 10 FINAL
Colorado - LP: M. Belisle 9
San Francisco - WP: T. Lincecum 4 FINAL
San Diego - LP: R. Erlin 3
Arizona - LP: J. Collmenter 1 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: J. Wright 4
Baltimore - LP: B. Matusz 5 FINAL
Boston - WP: E. Mujica 6
Dallas 85 FINAL
San Antonio 90
Charlotte 88 FINAL
Miami 99
Washington 102 FINAL
Chicago 93
Portland 122 FINAL
Houston 120
Philadelphia 4 FINAL
NY Rangers 2
Detroit 1 FINAL
Boston 4
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
San Jose 7
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How much optimism do you have in the Twins today?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close