Startribune.com digital sports editor Howard Sinker used to cover the Twins and now shares season tickets with friends in Section 219 of Target Field. He blogs about baseball from the perspective of a long-time fan who loves the game, doesn’t always believe the hype and likes hearing what others think. Howard sometimes talks about sports with Cathy Wurzer on MPR's Morning Edition.

Trying to figure out the Twins roster mess

Posted by: Howard Sinker Updated: May 9, 2014 - 2:58 PM

Let's get one thing straight for starters, OK? I'm not going to be the one who will question how badly Joe Mauer is hurt. Some of the nasty comments that started with the first announcement that he'd left last Sunday's game with back spasms are from the place in Internet hell where the all-seeing-but-unknowing reside and make me feel the need to shower after reading. There are enough valid Mauercentric issues to debate in which cases can be made for all sides.

I'm writing this after a trip to a sports medicine place Friday morning. Because of the NFL draft and a couple of other things that are current increasing the volume of work in the "A" job, my mousing hand was bothering me enough that I figured I should get it checked out. It wasn't a huge deal, but I'm sure you understand: Check something small before it becomes bigger. I had X-rays and saw the doc and he delivered a less-than-dire diagnosis.

I'm not going to share it with you, beyond calling it Unilateral Hand Weakness.

Back to Mauer: There's enough blame to go around on this one. The Twins missed a prime chance to move on from some of their errant personnel ways. What if the Twins had told Mauer: "Joe let's give this a couple of days and then, if you can't play, we'll put you on the disabled list so you can heal." Yes, there would have been some ugly chatter but first basemen do get hurt. (See Killebrew, Harmon.)

In recent years, the Twins have let the day-to-day thing drag on and on to the point that I have interpreted "day to day" as meaning an eventual trip to the disabled list. (See Willingham, Josh.) During Thursday's loss -- which will be remembered as the afternoon of the one-man bench and a lineup that would get hooted at during spring training -- there was chatter that Willingham, now out for more than a month, could be transferred to the 60-day disabled list to help the Twins through their current roster problems. That's a lot of days, by any reckoning.

And there was this report on Oswaldo Arcia, who hurt his hand and wrist during the first week of the season. If you don't want to click, it says the Twins planned to rest Arcia for a few days "so it's possible he might not return until at least Wednesday, April 9."

Today is the one-month anniversary of that diagnosis, which seemed pretty glum at the time considering the injury was thought to be pretty minor. Arcia was back in action at Class AAA Rochester on April 26, but scuttled the Twins' plans to call him up this week when he came to the ballpark in Rochester complaining of "stiffness."

All of this conjures recollections of Michael Cuddyer's wart and Delmon Young's ribs for me -- and maybe a couple of others for you.

So if Mauer goes on the disabled list during the Detroit series, I won't be shocked. If he doesn't, I'll be happily surprised. The bigger point here is that the Twins have lost credibility in their proclamations about player health. The point is not that I'm expecting them to share ever detail. If the Twins wanted to call the thing that haunted Mauer "bilateral leg weakness" a few years back, so be it.  (I'm assuming that would be a lower body injury in the NHL.)

The point is that I expect the Twins to have a better handle of what's going on with the health of their players and to err on the side of telling them, "Dude, if you can't play, we'll sit you down for a spell and get somebody else." That's not a bad way to set a tone when it comes to roster management.

And as long as I'm on the topic of roster management, this 14-pitcher thing -- one of the contributors to Thursday's Florimon-only bench -- has me kind of puzzled. Gardy brought in Michael Tonkin to pitch an inning of relief Thursday. It was the first time he'd pitched since the previous Thursday, when the crisis alert was sounded after the doubleheader with the Dodgers. Anthony Swarzak pitched a bit Thursday after making only one appearance since that doubleheader.

That alone should debunk the need for 14 pitchers, along with the fact that Caleb Thielbar had pitched to only five batters since April 25 before coming in Thursday. I'm just not getting it, and I suspect I'm not going solo there. Gardy should have been able to do more than throw up his hands in frustration over Mauer's back and Sam Fuld's concussion.

Going into Detroit, which has the best record in baseball along with aces Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer ready to pitch the next two games, the Twins still have 14 pitchers and three shortstops on the roster. Great, huh? I'm glad I have the Wild and a college graduation to distract me this weekend. (And just so you know, despite my Unilateral Hand Weakness diagnosis, I'll be back in the Web chair at startribune.com on Sunday for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.)

Seriously, here's the deal: I don't expect the Twins to me totally honest with you and me. I do expect them to be totally honest with themselves.


 

ADVERTISEMENT

Atlanta 6 FINAL
Detroit 4
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
Houston 6
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Miami 1
Baltimore 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
NY Yankees 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Chicago Cubs 6 FINAL
San Francisco 8
Los Angeles 6 FINAL
Chicago WSox 1
San Diego 4 FINAL
Seattle 9
Cleveland 9 FINAL
Cincinnati 3
Milwaukee 2 FINAL
LA Angels 3
Oakland 2 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 2
Texas 4 FINAL
Kansas City 5
Colorado 3 FINAL
Arizona 4
NY Mets 4 Bottom 7th Inning
Washington 3
Boston 1 Bottom 2nd Inning
Minnesota 4
Toronto 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Baltimore 0
Oklahoma City 7:00 PM
Chicago
Dallas 9:30 PM
Portland
Calgary 1 2nd Prd
Boston 1
St. Louis 1 2nd Prd
Philadelphia 0
Minnesota 0 2nd Prd
Washington 1
Toronto 0 1st Prd 11:17
Tampa Bay 1
Dallas 1 1st Prd 10:34
Florida 0
NY Islanders 7:00 PM
Nashville
Vancouver 8:00 PM
Arizona
Montreal 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Morgan State 76 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 89
Niagara 54 FINAL
Siena 71
Holy Cross 27 2nd Half
Bucknell 36
Western Ky 39 2nd Half
Charlotte 33
Navy 22 2nd Half
Colgate 27
Temple 27 1st Half 6:34
East Carolina 25
UAB 27 2nd Half
Fla Atlantic 32
Boston Univ 34 2nd Half
Lafayette 40
American Univ 23 2nd Half
Lehigh 27
Wisconsin 44 2nd Half
Minnesota 34
Fairfield 7 2nd Half
Saint Peters 22
Arkansas 49 2nd Half
South Carolina 38
Morehead State 36 2nd Half
UT Martin 28
USC Upstate 27 2nd Half
Fla Gulf Coast 25
Lipscomb 24 2nd Half
North Florida 37
Southern Ill 25 2nd Half
Missouri State 19
Texas State 6 1st Half 12:15
Appalachian St 10
SC State 6:30 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Delaware State 3 1st Half 17:14
Coppin State 4
Middle Tennessee 12 1st Half 9:36
FIU 8
Texas-Arlington 28 1st Half 11:38
Ga Southern 14
Norfolk State 6:30 PM
Hampton
NC A&T 6:30 PM
NC Central
Savannah State 7:00 PM
Florida A&M
Southern Miss 7:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Georgia State 7:00 PM
ULM
Marshall 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Rice 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ark-Little Rock 7:15 PM
Louisiana
South Alabama 7:30 PM
Arkansas State
Alabama State 7:30 PM
Grambling St
Alabama A&M 7:30 PM
Jackson State
Sam Houston St 7:30 PM
Lamar
Central Arkansas 7:30 PM
Nicholls
Portland State 7:30 PM
Northern Ariz
Southern U 7:30 PM
Prairie View
Alcorn State 7:30 PM
Texas Southern
Houston Baptist 7:30 PM
TX A&M-CC
SE Louisiana 7:45 PM
New Orleans
California 8:00 PM
Arizona
Eastern Ill 8:00 PM
Belmont
Memphis 8:00 PM
Connecticut
VA Commonwealth 8:00 PM
Davidson
Ark-Pine Bluff 0 Postponed
Miss Valley St 0
Marist 8:00 PM
Quinnipiac
Sacramento St 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Northwestern St 8:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
North Texas 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 8:00 PM
Washington
Idaho 8:00 PM
Weber State
Abilene Christian 8:00 PM
Incarnate Word
Eastern Wash 8:05 PM
Idaho State
Bradley 8:35 PM
Drake
Cal State Fullerton 9:00 PM
UC Irvine
CS-Northridge 9:00 PM
Long Beach State
UC Riverside 9:00 PM
UC Davis
Stanford 10:00 PM
Arizona State
Utah 10:00 PM
Washington St
Monmouth 68 FINAL
Canisius 56
Wake Forest 85 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 79
Saint Louis 65 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 58
Saint Peters 62 FINAL
Rider 54
UNC-Asheville 51 FINAL
Liberty 59
UNC Greensboro 44 FINAL
(17) Chattanooga 78
Michigan State 69 FINAL
Michigan 49
Arkansas 72 FINAL
Ole Miss 61
Manhattan 51 FINAL
Niagara 57
Massachusetts 63 FINAL
Richmond 67
Virginia 52 FINAL
Miami-Florida 62
Jacksonville St 45 FINAL
Belmont 55
Morgan State 65 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 50
Campbell 65 FINAL
Winthrop 52
Furman 65 FINAL
Samford 54
Oregon 64 FINAL
Washington St 66
Indiana 52 FINAL
(23) Rutgers 63
Pepperdine 67 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 68
Auburn 47 FINAL
(18) Texas A&M 57
Morehead St 66 FINAL
Tennessee St 81
George Mason 43 FINAL
Saint Josephs 71
Western Carolina 53 FINAL
East Tenn St 73
Arizona 62 FINAL
UCLA 80
Texas State 55 FINAL
Appalachian St 61
TX-Arlington 66 FINAL
Georgia Southern 41
SC State 57 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 56
Delaware State 51 FINAL
Coppin State 80
Portland 58 FINAL
Santa Clara 66
Norfolk State 49 FINAL
Hampton 64
NC A&T 67 FINAL
NC Central 46
Savannah State 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 51
Central Arkansas 43 FINAL
Nicholls 53
Houston Baptist 48 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 73
Old Dominion 67 FINAL
Marshall 55
Virginia Tech 47 2nd Half 1:00
Pittsburgh 44
Gardner-Webb 63 2nd Half 2:22
Radford 51
Georgia 60 2nd Half 2:52
Missouri 54
Ark-Little Rock 60 2nd Half 4:10
Louisiana 54
South Alabama 57 2nd Half 2:17
Arkansas State 60
Georgia State 66 FINAL
ULM 61
Sam Houston St 47 2nd Half 10:16
Lamar 60
SE Louisiana 48 2nd Half 11:28
New Orleans 56
Northwestern St 32 2nd Half 12:22
Stephen F Austin 30
Alabama A&M 35 2nd Half 13:12
Jackson State 41
Alabama State 27 2nd Half 16:50
Grambling 38
Southern U 48 2nd Half 15:48
Prairie View 30
Alcorn State 37 2nd Half 12:10
Texas Southern 49
Ark-Pine Bluff 0 Postponed
Miss Valley St 0
Wofford 41 2nd Half 7:17
Mercer 59
Abilene Christian 34 2nd Half
Incarnate Word 26
La Salle 29 2nd Half
Rhode Island 23
Illinois 29 2nd Half
Nebraska 49
TX-San Antonio 28 1st Half 0:02
Rice 26
Valparaiso 27 2nd Half
Oakland 25
Missouri State 26 2nd Half
Indiana State 23
Georgia Tech 7:00 PM
(15) North Carolina
Presbyterian 7:00 PM
High Point
Charlotte 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Florida Atlantic 7:00 PM
UAB
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
North Texas
Wichita State 7:00 PM
Evansville
Loyola-Chicago 7:00 PM
Northern Iowa
Bradley 7:05 PM
Drake
Vanderbilt 7:30 PM
(12) Kentucky
Colorado 8:00 PM
USC
San Francisco 8:00 PM
Pacific
FIU 8:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Idaho State 8:00 PM
Eastern Washington
Weber State 8:00 PM
Idaho
Purdue 8:25 PM
Minnesota
Cal-Irvine 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Long Beach St 9:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Hawaii 9:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
UC Davis 9:00 PM
UC-Riverside
Northern Ariz 9:00 PM
Portland State
Southern Utah 9:00 PM
Sacramento St
Utah 10:30 PM
Washington
BYU 10:30 PM
St Marys-CA
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: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT