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.

Morneau closer to a return; Twins sign first-round pick

Posted by: Phil Miller under Twins game coverage, On the road Updated: August 6, 2010 - 6:00 PM

CLEVELAND -- The Twins have six games remaining on this road trip and Francisco Liriano will start two of them -- tonight against the Indians and next Thursday against the White Sox.

Liriano has pitched 21 consecutive scoreless innings after having a 23-inning scoreless streak earlier this season. He might be the hottest pitcher in baseball, at 4-0 with a 0.63 ERA and 33 strikeouts in his past four starts.

The Indians will counter with Jeanmar Gomez, who is making his third major league start. I'm told he's one of Cleveland's top pitching prospects. Fastball will range from 90-92 with good movement. He threw a perfect game last year in Class AA but was 8-8 with a 5.20 ERA this year in Class AAA.

Joe Mauer is getting another DH assignment and likely won't catch Saturday, since Carl Pavano is starting. Drew Butera keeps getting starts behind the plate.

Update: Orlando Hudson (strained right oblique) had no problem swinging from both sides of the plate today and is expected to come off the DL on Sunday, as scheduled.

Justin Morneau (concussion) had another good day working out at Target Field. Plan is to have him take BP with the Twins on Tuesday and Wednesday in Chicago and, if all goes well, head out on a minor-league rehab stint. Gardy says he's champing at the bit, but team wants to make sure he can make it through a full day's activities. It will be a step for Morneau just to take BP and then watch the entire game on the bench.

The plan for Mauer (right shoulder tendinitis) now is to have him catch Sunday, allowing him a day of rest with Monday's off day, and then resume catching against the White Sox.

Jon Rauch (skin issue) is available to pitch tonight. Jesse Crain is getting the night off. Twins also would like to avoid using closer Matt Capps.

Update: The Twins announced that they have signed first-round draft pick Alex Wimmers to a $1,332,000 bonus. Wimmers was the 21st overall pick in the June draft. He went 9-0 with a 1.60 ERA for Ohio State and was named the National Pitcher of the Year by the College Baseball Foundation.

The Twins assigned Wimmers to the Class A Fort Myers Miracle.

"I just wanted to get this on the road," Wimmers said. "I've had the summer, but I miss pitching too much."

TWINS (61-48)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Alexi Casilla, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, DH
4. Delmon Young, LF
5. Jason Kubel, RF
6. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
7. Danny Valencia, 3B
8. J.J. Hardy, SS
9. Drew Butera, C

Starting pitcher: LH Francisco Liriano (10-7, 3.18 ERA)

INDIANS (46-63)

1. Michael Brantley, CF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
4. Shelley Duncan, DH
5. Matt LaPorta, 1B
6. Jason Nix, 3B
7. Trevor Crowe, LF
8. Jason Donald, 2B
9. Lou Marson, C

Starting pitcher: RH Jeanmar Gomez (2-0, 1.50 ERA)

Progressive Field. First pitch: 6:05 p.m. TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network

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