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.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he considered starting Joe Mauer at first base tonight because Luke Hughes has a sore knee. But Hughes was able to play, so Gardenhire has Mauer at DH.
Still, it's a sign that Mauer could show up on the lineup card at first base any day.
"He’s going to get out there [at first base] pretty soon," Gardenhire said. "I think he’s pretty much ready to go out there, anytime we say let’s go do it."
Mauer agreed that playing first base in a game will be the best way to learn the position's nuances. He's been taking ground balls and working on throws to second base, but when it comes to bunt plays and relay positioning, etc., he'll have to learn on the fly.
"Ideally, yeah, you’d like to maybe get into a couple spring training games and stuff like that, but that’s not the situation we’re in right now," Mauer said. "Really, the only reason I’m taking ground balls over there and things like that is we’ve had so many injuries, and if that’s the way I can help out the team, that’s what I’m going to do."
Just like in the Twins' last series against the Dodgers, Mauer is getting the chance to DH at night before catching the next afternoon. This will allow the Twins to have both Mauer and Jim Thome in the lineup Sunday against righthander Zack Greinke.
Jason Kubel (sprained left foot) took batting practice and felt good running forward today in Fort Myers, Fla., but the foot bothers him when he makes cuts. He won't appear in a rehab game again until that pain goes away.
Delmon Young is leaving Sunday for a rehab assignment with Class AAA Rochester.
Tonight's game features the same pitching matchup as last Sunday's game in Milwaukee -- Carl Pavano vs. Chris Narveson.
The Twins played some sloppy defense behind Pavano in that 6-2 loss, as the Brewers completed a three-game sweep. Narveson, Milwaukee's No. 5 starter, held the Twins to two runs on five hits over 6 2/3 innings, with two walks and seven strikeouts.
Quick fact: Ryan Braun has a 21-game hitting streak. He hit a two-run homer against Pavano last Sunday.
Update: The Twins reached an agreement with Miguel Gonzalez, a righthanded pitching prospect from the Dominican Republic. The deal hasn't officially been signed yet, but Sports Illustrated's Melissa Segura reported (via Twitter) that he'll receive a $650,000 signing bonus.
1. Rickie Weeks, 2B
2. Nyjer Morgan, CF
3. Ryan Braun, LF
4. Prince Fielder, DH
5. Mat Gamel, 1B
6. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
7. Mark Kotsay, RF
8. Jonathan Lucroy, C
9. Craig Counsell, 3B
Starting pitcher: RH Carl Pavano (5-6, 4.24 ERA)
1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Alexi Casilla, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, DH
4. Michael Cuddyer, RF
5. Danny Valencia, 3B
6. Luke Hughes, 1B
7. Jason Repko, LF
8. Drew Butera, C
9. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS
Starting pitcher: LH Chris Narveson (5-5, 4.42 ERA)
Target Field. First pitch: 6:10 p.m. TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network
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