Twins' Willingham gets mental break

hide

Twins left fielder Josh Willingham

Photo: Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Twins outfielder Josh Willingham, his batting average plummeting and his frustration building, did not start Sunday’s game against Boston.

Willingham finished April batting .250. In May, he is batting .132 with a .208 slugging percentage. He has not homered in 75 plate appearances. Overall, he’s batting .198 with five home runs and 18 RBI. At the same point last year, Willingham was batting .298 with eight homers and 24 RBI.

He was visibly frustrated after a couple of his at-bats during Saturday’s game against the Red Sox, so manager Ron Gardenhire decided it was time to give Willingham a mental break.

“He was a little fired up [Saturday night],” Gardenhire said. “I haven’t seen that out of him too often. So take a break.”

The break didn’t last. Willingham struck out in a pinch-hit appearance Sunday, and a Dustin Pedroia hit bounced off his glove and over the left field fence.

With Willingham struggling, Justin Morneau has been moved up to third in the batting order.

Dozier adjusts

Gardenhire praised Brian Dozier’s defense as second base but also pointed out that the second-year infielder is hitting the ball into the air a little too much.

Dozier is batting .128 over his past 10 games, so hitting coach Tom Brunansky has been working with Dozier on making some mechanical adjustments that the Twins hope will lead to more line drives.

Gardenhire was encouraged by what he has seen from Dozier in batting practice.

“We know the kid can hit,” Gardenhire said. “He just has to carry it into the game.”

Jamey Carroll, swinging a hot bat recently, started at second on Sunday. Gardenhire indicated that Dozier would be back in the starting lineup soon.

Suited for NL action

Twins pitchers have taken batting practice and worked on their baserunning in preparation for the interleague series at Atlanta this week. But it just so happens that the Twins’ three scheduled starters are imports from the National League — Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey and Vance Worley.

“That’s strategy,” Gardenhire joked.

Pelfrey is a career .098 hitter with no homers, 13 RBI, and 24 sacrifice hits. Worley is batting .153 with no homers, seven RBI and nine sacrifice hits. Correia is batting .116 with no homers, 12 RBI and 41 sacrifice hits.

“They know what they are doing,” Gardenhire said. “They can handle the bats. … Not as much of an experience for them as it is for guys who have been in our league.”

Gibson strong again

Class AAA Rochester righthander Kyle Gibson had his best outing of the year Sunday, taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning before finishing with a three-hit complete-game shutout as the Red Wings beat Lehigh Valley 11-0.

Gibson needed only 93 pitches for his gem — 58 were strikes, 35 were balls. He walked two and struck out eight, improving to 3-5 with a 3.25 ERA.

The Twins have wanted Gibson to show more consistency, so his next start will be important. Before Sunday, his previous outing lasted three innings. Before that, he pitched a complete game. Before that, he was knocked out in the fifth. Before that, he pitched 6 ⅔ scoreless innings.

Colabello honored

Class AAA Rochester first baseman Chris Colabello was named Twins minor league player of the week. He batted .560 in seven games with three home runs and eight RBI.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Minnesota 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 6:30 PM
Boston
Portland 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Sacramento 6:30 PM
Cleveland
Toronto 6:30 PM
Brooklyn
Dallas 7:00 PM
Miami
LA Clippers 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Golden State 8:00 PM
Utah
Chicago 9:30 PM
Phoenix
Pittsburgh 6:00 PM
New Jersey
St. Louis 6:00 PM
Carolina
Nashville 8:00 PM
Colorado
Buffalo 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Chicago 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Harvard 32 1st Half 3:16
Princeton 27
Quinnipiac 6:00 PM
Canisius
Brown 6:00 PM
Cornell
Siena 6:00 PM
Manhattan
Marist 6:00 PM
Niagara
Dartmouth 6:00 PM
Penn
Oregon 7:00 PM
Arizona State
Yale 7:00 PM
Columbia
Monmouth 7:00 PM
Fairfield
IUPUI 7:00 PM
Western Ill
Oregon State 9:00 PM
Arizona
Kent State 9:00 PM
Buffalo
Canisius 75 FINAL
Monmouth 58
Butler 6:00 PM
Providence
Cornell 6:00 PM
Brown
Columbia 6:00 PM
Yale
Coll of Charleston 6:00 PM
Drexel
Penn 6:00 PM
Dartmouth
Elon 6:00 PM
James Madison
(19) Princeton 6:00 PM
Harvard
(9) Florida State 6:00 PM
Georgia Tech
Quinnipiac 6:00 PM
Siena
Richmond 6:00 PM
Rhode Island
Loyola-Chicago 6:05 PM
Southern Ill
Georgetown 7:00 PM
DePaul
Villanova 7:00 PM
Marquette
Wichita State 7:00 PM
Northern Iowa
Xavier 7:05 PM
Creighton
Bradley 7:05 PM
Illinois State
Missouri State 7:05 PM
Drake
Arizona 8:00 PM
Utah
(11) Arizona State 8:00 PM
Colorado
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 optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close