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.

Former Twin takes the mound against old team

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: August 27, 2014 - 5:47 PM

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Royals took their team picture before batting practice today, and I watched Liam Hendriks walk out somewhat sheepishly toward the risers in center field, having his picture taken with teammates he hasn't met yet. Hendriks was acquired by the Royals in a trade with Toronto on July 28, and the Aussie righthander is making his debut with his new team tonight.

    As Twins fans know well, Hendriks is one of the most extreme examples of what's commonly called a "Four-A" player in baseball today -- a guy who looks like a superstar in the minor leagues, but who cannot find success in the majors:

    -- Hendriks went 9-3 with a 2.20 ERA in Class AAA Rochester two years ago.

    --  When the Twins let him go last winter, the Blue Jays claimed him and he went 8-1 with a 2.33 ERA for their Triple-A team. 

    -- Since the trade last month, he's gone 4-1 with a 2.83 ERA for the Royals' top minor league team.

    Yet here are his ERAs the past four seasons in his various major-league opportunities: 6.17, 5.59, 6.85 and 6.08.

    "You never know with a pitcher. You never know when they're going to figure it out or find their niche," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who watched Hendriks start 17 games before finally earning his first victory. "We know he's got the fastball. In the minor leagues, it's different -- these guys can hit the fastball."

    We'll see if the Twins can, too. Hendriks has started 31 games in the majors, and has a 3-13 record. But he's never faced his former team.

    To make room, the Royals optioned Aaron Crow to Class AA Northwest Arkansas, but I'm not sure the righthanded reliever will actually go. Minor-league seasons end next Monday, so Kansas City is likely just giving Crow a five-day break before rosters expand next week.

    Here are the lineups for tonight's 7:10 game:



Santana CF

Dozier 2B

Mauer 1B

Vargas DH

Arcia RF

Plouffe 3B

Suzuki C

E. Escobar SS

Schafer LF


Hughes RHP




Aoki RF

A. Escobar SS

Gordon LF

Butler 1B

Perez C

Ibanez DH

Moustakas 3B

Colon 2B

Dyson CF


Hendriks RHP


Baltimore 2 FINAL
Detroit 15
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Northeastern 1 FINAL
Boston 2
Miami-Fla 1 FINAL
Miami 7
Pittsburgh 8 FINAL
Toronto 7
San Francisco 4 FINAL
Oakland 9
Cleveland 0 FINAL
Cincinnati 10
Boston College 0 FINAL
Boston 1
Arizona State 0 FINAL
Arizona 4
Boston 26 2nd Qtr 5:44
Cleveland 45
LA Lakers 42 2nd Qtr 5:36
Charlotte 40
Sacramento 37 2nd Qtr 11:32
New York 21
Houston 15 1st Qtr 6:20
Atlanta 15
Utah 7:00 PM
Washington 7:00 PM
Milwaukee 8:00 PM
Nashville 0 2nd Prd
New Jersey 1
Calgary 1 2nd Prd
Philadelphia 0
Washington 2 2nd Prd
Columbus 0
Buffalo 0 1st Prd 14:08
Tampa Bay 0
Toronto 0 1st Prd 14:02
Florida 0
Ottawa 7:00 PM
NY Islanders 7:30 PM
Anaheim 8:00 PM
Los Angeles 8:30 PM
San Jose 9:00 PM
Ole Miss 27 2nd Half
Alabama 30
Eastern Mich 35 1st Half 0:11
Ball State 24
Kent State 34 1st Half 2:58
Bowling Green 27
Ohio 29 1st Half 0:30
Buffalo 39
Georgetown 30 2nd Half
Butler 24
Toledo 37 2nd Half
Central Mich 36
Rhode Island 27 1st Half 1:46
Dayton 33
Youngstown St 35 1st Half 1:15
Detroit 27
North Carolina 39 2nd Half
Georgia Tech 21
Loyola-Maryland 11 1st Half 3:41
Holy Cross 28
Iowa 25 1st Half 2:31
Indiana 24
Akron 23 2nd Half
Miami-Ohio 17
Army 26 1st Half 1:20
Navy 22
Maryland 31 1st Half 0:08
Rutgers 23
Kennesaw St 13 1st Half 4:00
USC Upstate 32
Jacksonville 22 1st Half 3:51
Fla Gulf Coast 28
Lipscomb 31 1st Half 1:41
Northern Ky 35
Stetson 12 1st Half 14:36
North Florida 11
Wright State 7:00 PM
Western Mich 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
Nebraska Omaha 7:00 PM
North Dakota
Houston Baptist 7:00 PM
Abilene Christian
NC State 8:00 PM
Texas A&M 8:00 PM
Kentucky 8:00 PM
West Virginia 8:00 PM
Auburn 8:00 PM
Michigan 8:00 PM
Villanova 8:15 PM
Longwood 55 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 63
Charleston Southern 39 FINAL
Presbyterian 47
Coastal Carolina 54 2nd Half 0:29
UNC-Asheville 64
NJIT 23 2nd Half
UMass Lowell 34
West Virginia 7:00 PM
Kansas State
TCU 7:00 PM
Fresno State 8:00 PM
Air Force
San Jose St 8:00 PM
Boise State
Nevada 8:00 PM
Colorado State
UNLV 8:00 PM
San Diego State
Wyoming 8:00 PM
Utah State
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