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.
Manager Ron Gardenhire said he gave Joe Mauer a choice between catching and playing first base today, and Mauer picked first base.
That shows you how far this experiment has come. Mauer has been playing every game and might have had a hard time catching throughout this heat wave, but this has allowed the Twins to keep Jim Thome's bat in the lineup at DH.
Carl Pavano is scheduled to pitch Thursday against the Tigers, so look for Drew Butera to catch that game, too, with Mauer getting another start at first base.
"The original plan was to have him catch today because Carl’s pitching tomorrow, but I’m kind of happy he’s going to play first base today," Gardenhire said. "It’s going to be really hot, and this gives him a couple days away from the squatting for him.
"We’re playing a lot of games in a row here, and we need his bat in there every day. First base is a breather, so that’s good."
Scott Baker threw a bullpen session this morning, and assuming he gets through it OK, it sounds like he'll make Saturday's start against the Tigers.
Won't rush Kubel, Span
Jason Kubel has had no problems with his sprained foot at Class AAA Rochester, but the Twins want him to get more at-bats before activating him from the DL.
It's possible he'll be activated Friday, Gardenhire said, but that will depends on how he does tonight and in Thursday's day game for the Red Wings.
Denard Span is getting a scheduled day off for Rochester tonight, but he's expected to play Thursday.
Another hot one
The heat will be a factor again today at Target Field, as the Twins look to build off Tuesday’s ninth-inning comeback to gain a split of this four-game series against Cleveland.
I keep refreshing this page, watching to see how hot it is outside the windows of this air conditioned press box. (Sorry, hate to rub it in.)
Michael Cuddyer and others had IV's after Tuesday’s game, looking to bolster their system for today’s matinee. One look at the standings shows how important these games are, and on Thursday, the Twins will be facing Justin Verlander.
Quick fact: Cleveland starting pitcher Josh Tomlin is the only MLB pitcher since 1919 to pitch at least five innings in each of his first 31 appearances. He went six innings June 6, when the Twins defeated Cleveland 6-4.
1. Ezequiel Carrera, CF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Travis Hafner, DH
4. Carlos Santana, C
5. Matt LaPorta, 1B
6. Orlando Cabrera, 2B
7. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
8. Austin Kearns, RF
9. Luis Valbuena, LF
Starting pitcher: RH Josh Tomlin (11-4, 4.03 ERA)
1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Alexi Casilla, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, 1B
4. Michael Cuddyer, RF
5. Jim Thome, DH
6. Danny Valencia, 3B
7. Delmon Young, LF
8. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS
9. Drew Butera, C
Starting pitcher: RH Nick Blackburn (7-6, 3.99 ERA)
Target Field. First pitch: 12:10 p.m. TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network
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