THREE-GAME SERIES AT TARGET FIELD
Today, 7:10 p.m. • FSN, 1500ESPN
LHP Scott Diamond (0-1, 4.26) vs. RHP Rick Porcello (11-8, 5.17)
Saturday, 3:10 p.m. • Ch. 9, 1500ESPN
RHP Carl Pavano (6-10, 4.54) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (19-5, 2.28)
Sunday, 1:10 p.m. • FSN, 1500ESPN
LHP Brian Duensing (8-13, 5.12)
vs. RHP Brad Penny (9-9, 4.82)
Infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka was available off the bench Thursday and told manager Ron Gardenhire that he should be ready to start Friday. Nishioka missed the entire series against the Orioles because of a sore back/oblique. That has allowed Trevor Plouffe to get some starts at short, where he's played fairly well. Plouffe is batting .313 over the past 12 games with four doubles, a triple and a home run. ... Justin Morneau's double in the third inning on Thursday was his first hit off a lefthanded pitcher since May 28. ... Of the 41 players used by the Twins this season, 21 have been pitchers. ... The Twins have lost 13 of 16 games to the Tigers going back to late last season. Another loss would guarantee their first losing season series against them since 2007.
On the 19th day, catcher Alex Avila rested. Avila had played 18 consecutive days at baseball's most vital and demanding position before getting Thursday off. Avila batted .393 with four homers and 11 RBI during that stretch. ... Outfielder Brennan Boesch is day-to-day with a sprained right thumb. ... On July 11, Tigers ace Justin Verlander spoke of pulling away in the AL Central. The Tigers were 49-43 and one-half game ahead of Cleveland at the time. By going 21-15, the Tigers now lead the division by six games. Verlander shoots to become the first Tigers pitcher to win 20 games in a season since Bill Gullickson in 1991 when he takes the mound on Saturday. ... Miguel Cabrera is expected to return to the club Friday being away on paternity leave for the birth of his son Christopher Alexander.
LA VELLE E. NEAL III