Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.
I was about to wax poetic about tonight's 12-5 victory for the Twins, when word came (via the White Sox on Twitter), that the Twins had just traded Francisco Liriano.
So, I had about 30 minutes to write that (and an abbreviated game story) for our first metro editions. To anybody who gets one of those papers -- or anyone who saw that slop online -- I apologize. Hopefully, my late-edition stuff is more legible.
And I'm not complaining. If I thought the trade turned my night upside down, imagine the three players involved.
Besides getting traded to the Twins, along with Eduardo Escobar, Pedro Hernandez was with his wife in Fort Wayne, Ind., as she gave birth to their daughter. That second bit of news came just minutes after the trade was announced.
It’s going to be whirlwind time for all three of these ballplayers -- Liriano, Hernandez and Escobar -- so here’s a quick glance at each situation.
He was scheduled to start for the Twins on Sunday against Cleveland. Now he’s going to wait around the Twin Cities because the White Sox are heading to Target Field for a three-game series that starts Monday. He’ll likely pitch in one of those three games -- against the Twins -- but White Sox manager Robin Ventura wasn’t ready to say which one.
The Twins could have waited to see how Liriano did against Cleveland and seen if there was a better offer before Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline.
“I didn’t want to do it,” General Manager Terry Ryan said. “Number one, I didn’t think it was fair to him any longer. He had his name out there and everyone was out there talking about it. I know he was concerned. I didn’t want him to go out there for many reasons. That’s one, and another is I certainly didn’t want him to get hurt.
“I waited as long as I wanted anymore to have go through all of this. For him to pitch here tomorrow, I’m not sure that would’ve been fair.
“If he would’ve spun one up there and done great or had a stinker, I don’t think it would’ve affected it. When you evaluate guys, when you see what you like, you never forget that. They know what they’re getting and I know what we’re giving up.”
The White Sox had the 23-year-old lefthander make a spot start at Fenway Park on July 18, and he gave up eight runs over four innings before getting sent back to Class AAA Charlotte.
The Twins are sending the Venezuela native [and his expanded family] to Class AAA Rochester. While he's introducing himself to his new teammates, he can pass out the celebratory stogies.
Ryan believes Hernandez has the stuff to be a full-time big league starter, though the GM didn’t want to label him a potential No. 1-5, etc.
“He has enough stuff,” Ryan said. “He’s got a fastball, slider and a change. He throws a lot of strikes, which is good, but I’m not going to say he pitches to contact. No, he doesn’t do that. He pitches to get outs.”
In another awkward twist, Escobar has been on Chicago’s major league roster all year, but after this trade, he’ll be joining Hernandez in Class AAA Rochester.
Listen kid, you might have been good enough for the first-place White Sox, but you’re heading back to the minors before you can expect to play for these vaunted Twins.
“That was a tough decision because he’s been in the big leagues, but I think he needs regular at-bats and we’re going to send him to Rochester for that reason,” Ryan said.
Another 23-year-old Venezuela native, Escobar has received limited playing time behind shortstop Alexei Ramirez and second baseman Gordon Beckham. Escobar is 18-for-87 (.207) with no homers and 14 runs scored.
The Twins think Escobar can become an everyday shortstop or second baseman.
“He’s a switch-hitter who can run,” Ryan said. “He’s got tremendous energy. He’s strong enough. He can play shortstop. He can play second. He doesn’t really profile at third offensively, but he can play there. Defensively you wouldn’t have any problem with any of the three.”
* Brian Duensing will start Sunday's game in Liriano's place. Ryan said he's not sure if Duensing will remain in the rotation. It could depend on how well he pitches. Liam Hendriks has been very good for Rochester, but he had a rough outing tonight.
* The Twins will be promoting someone from Rochester to take Liriano's roster spot, but Ryan wasn't ready to say who that will be.
|Seattle - LP: F. Hernandez||0||FINAL|
|Cleveland - WP: J. Masterson||6|
|Arizona - LP: W. Miley||1||FINAL|
|Miami - WP: R. Nolasco||2|
|Cincinnati - LP: A. Chapman||2||FINAL|
|Philadelphia - WP: A. Bastardo||3|
|Houston - LP: L. Harrell||0||FINAL|
|Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke||1|
|Los Angeles - LP: K. Jansen||2||FINAL|
|Atlanta - WP: L. Avilan||5|
|Tampa Bay - WP: M. Moore||3||FINAL|
|Baltimore - LP: C. Tillman||1|
|Boston - WP: J. Lackey||5||FINAL|
|Minnesota - LP: P. Hernandez||1|
|Milwaukee - LP: K. Lohse||2||FINAL|
|St. Louis - WP: J. Gast||4|
|NY Mets - WP: S. Rice||4||FINAL|
|Chicago Cubs - LP: K. Fujikawa||3|
|Chicago WSox - LP: J. Peavy||2||FINAL|
|LA Angels - WP: J. Vargas||6|
|Kansas City - LP: K. Herrera||3||FINAL|
|Oakland - WP: J. Blevins||4|
|Washington - LP: D. Haren||4||FINAL|
|San Diego - WP: A. Cashner||13|
|San Francisco - LP: B. Zito||0||FINAL|
|Colorado - WP: J. Nicasio||5|
|Detroit - LP: J. Ortega||8||FINAL|
|Texas - WP: R. Ross||11|
|Red Bull New York||1|
|Sporting Kansas City||1||FINAL|
|Real Salt Lake||4||FINAL|