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.
Francisco Liriano returns to the mound for the Twins tonight, looking for his career-high 13th victory. He tossed seven shutout innings against the Royals on July 26 and has a 2.17 ERA since the All-Star break.
Brian Bannister will start for the Royals with fellow starter Luke Hochevar scheduled to pitch in relief. Both are coming off the disabled list. Bannister had right rotator cuff tendinitis, and Hochevar had a right elbow strain.
Reminder, it'll be Brian Duensing vs. Zack Greinke in Wednesday night's series finale. Greinke has a 10.29 ERA in three starts against the Twins this year, so it's not like they should be intimidated, but he is 8-8 with a 3.36 ERA in his other 26 starts.
The White Sox send Freddy Garcia to the mound in Detroit, opposite Justin Verlander. Once again, that game will be one hour ahead of this one, which makes it fun for scoreboard watching.
Hope to get updates on Brian Fuentes' bullpen session and check in with Pat Neshek and Glen Perkins, who are arriving from Class AAA Rochester.
Update: Neshek and Perkins are both here and will be available tonight out of the bullpen.
Fuentes (lower-back stiffness) didn't feel great when he threw today, so they'll try again Thursday, Manager Ron Gardenhire said. Gardy also said his best guess for 3B Danny Valencia's return is Friday. The Twins are really holding Valencia back, but the last thing they want is to see Valencia turn a stiff hamstring into a torn hamstring.
1. Gregor Blanco, CF
2. Mike Aviles, 2B
3. Billy Butler, 1B
4. Wilson Betemit, DH
5. Josh Fields, 3B
6. Alex Gordon, LF
7. Brayan Pena, C
8. Jai Miller, RF
9. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
Starting pitcher: RH Brian Bannister (7-11, 5.95 ERA)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Jason Kubel, RF
5. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
6. Jim Thome, DH
7. Delmon Young, LF
8. J.J. Hardy, SS
9. Matt Tolbert, 3B
Starting pitcher: LH Francisco Liriano (12-7, 3.27 ERA)
Target Field. First pitch: 7:10 p.m. TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network
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