Banged-up Twins have no problems with rainout

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 23, 2011 - 7:53 AM

Justin Morneau and Delmon Young were expected to sit out again, but both might be able to return to the Twins lineup for Saturday's day game.

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The Twins have felt charmed by Minnesota's weather ever since they opened Target Field, and on Friday night, Mother Nature worked her magic again.

Last year, the Twins seemed to dance between the rain drops, making it through their first season in the new ballpark with only one postponement.

But with several players ill and/or injured, the Twins were thrilled when the rains came Friday, enabling them to postpone their game against Cleveland until either July or September.

"It was welcomed for everybody," first baseman Justin Morneau said. "We've got some guys banged-up, so an extra day will hopefully make a difference."

By July or September, the weather should be warmer, and the Twins should be in far better shape than they would have been Friday.

Joe Mauer, Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Kevin Slowey are on the 15-day disabled list. This means those three will each miss one fewer game.

Morneau (flu symptoms) and Delmon Young (sore ribs) were scheduled to be out of the lineup again Friday, but it sounds as if both might have a chance to play Saturday.

Young's magnetic resonance imaging exam results assured the Twins that he wouldn't hurt himself worse by taking swings in the batting cage, and when he gave it a try Friday afternoon "he came out perfect," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Morneau has lost about 10 pounds and hasn't played since last Saturday. He had a cortisone shot Friday to relieve some neck pain that had been there before he became sick. Still, as he left the clubhouse after a light workout, he was in great spirits.

He said he would see how he felt Saturday morning but hoped to be back on the field.

"So we gained two [players]," Gardenhire said. "That's good."

The Twins postponed the game about 30 minutes before the first pitch, even though radar showed the rain probably would be tapering later in the evening, as it eventually did.

After this weekend, Cleveland is scheduled to return to Minnesota for a three-game series July 18 to 20 -- that comes during a stretch of 28 games in 28 days for the Twins -- and Sept. 16 to 18. The teams have a mutual open date on Sept. 19, or this one can be rescheduled for any of those dates as part of a day-night doubleheader.

The Twins originally were scheduled to play 23 of the first 24 days in April, but they also had a rainout at Yankee Stadium April 6. That game likely will be made up in September.

Even with these two weather reprieves, the Twins have limped their way to a 7-12 start and trail first-place Cleveland (13-6) by six games.

"Funny thing about it is we came out of spring training the only team healthy, and it didn't take very long until we weren't the only team healthy," said Gardenhire, whose team opened the season without anyone on the DL. "That happens; that's the game. You've just gotta work your way through it."

Gardenhire said he can't recall being with a team that had this many health issues early in the season.

"I think the amazing part is the flu and the viral infection's knocked us out more than baseball itself," he said.

The Twins rank last in the American League in scoring, at 3.0 runs per game. They're hoping Morneau and Young can jump-start the lineup when they return. After all, there's only so much Mother Nature can do.

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