Twins' situational hitting remains a sore spot

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Twins center fielder Aaron Hicks hit the ground after fouling a ball off his foot during the fourth inning Friday.

Photo: Frank Gunn, ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP

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– The Twins aren’t afraid to juggle the roster if the results don’t change, assistant General Manager Rob Antony said.

Antony was asked before Friday night’s 4-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays if looking at Class AAA Rochester to shake up things could be an option for the Twins.

“Right now, what’s out there needs to get it done,” Antony said, “and if not, if some guys can’t get it done, then we are going to have to make some changes.

“A lot of guys have had their moments and have showed at times that they can do the job, then at other times you look at the numbers and they aren’t what they should be or they should be better. It’s very frustrating.”

The Twins had runners on second and third with one out in the first inning Friday but failed to score. They had two on with two out in the fourth but failed to score. Friday’s loss was their sixth in a row, and failing in run-scoring situations has been part of the problem.

“[It’s] not any one person, or if you can say, ‘If this guy gets going we will be all right,’ ” Antony said. “This team needs to get going and take advantage of opportunities.”

They did hit .279 with runners in scoring position on their recently completed homestand, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a 2-6 record against the Kansas City Royals and the New York Yankees.

“Our offense needs to start picking up some of these runs,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

The Twins haven’t been able to manufacture runs, and they don’t appear to have the personnel to do it. They don’t have a lot of speed. With Josh Willingham recovering from knee surgery, they don’t have a righthanded power presence in the lineup other than Trevor Plouffe. Friday’s lineup was filled with inexperienced hitters.

For half a season, the Twins offense has been unproductive. They don’t have a bona fide hitting prospect at Rochester, but they do have 29-year-old Chris Colabello, who is at or near the top in the International League in most major offensive categories, hitting .359 with 21 home runs and 67 RBI. The righthanded-hitting Colabello has hit .125 (2-for-16) in seven games with the Twins.

Dickey on deck

Toronto was expected to challenge for the American League East title but has fallen a little short of expectations.

“It’s just like you guys,” said Blue Jays announcer and former Twins ace Jack Morris. “It comes down to starting pitching.”

Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, last year’s National League Cy Young Award winner with the Mets, was supposed to lead a sturdy rotation, but he started out 2-5. Recently, the former Twins righthander has showed signs of harnessing that spinless pitch he throws. Dickey has given up only two earned runs over his past two starts while striking out 10 in 16 innings.

Dickey will start Saturday. The current Twins roster is 4-for-20 against Dickey with no extra-base hits. Jamey Carroll has three of the four hits, so look for him to be somewhere in the lineup.

Etc.

• Third base prospect Miguel Sano did not start Thursday or Friday for Class AA New Britain because of arm fatigue. He did get a pinch-hit RBI double in the ninth inning Thursday. The Twins don’t seem to be overly concerned. Antony also pointed out it was a good time for Sano to get a little bit of a break, as he is scheduled to travel to New York and play in the All-Star Futures Game on July 14.

• The Twins have signed another international prospect, locking up righthander Callan Pearce from Durban, South Africa. The Twins are impressed with his athleticism.

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