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.
The Twins know this isn’t the role they want Chris Parmelee to play.
The former first-round draft pick is 24 and has played just 15 career games in Triple-A. For the past two weeks, Parmelee has basically been idling on the bench, getting just five plate appearances since June 14.
The fifth came tonight, in a big spot, as the Twins had runners at second and third with two outs in the ninth inning, when Manager Ron Gardenhire had Parmelee pinch hit for Alexi Casilla. Parmelee has a potent lefthanded bat, and Gardenhire knew he could tie the game with one swing against righthanded White Sox closer Addison Reed.
“That’s what we used him for tonight,” Gardenhire said after Parmelee got hit by a pitch to load the bases. “Our preference is to let him play. The kid needs to swing right now, and I don’t like him sitting on the bench up here. But we’ve got so many spots that are covered with these other guys that are swinging the bats pretty good, so it’s tough to get him at-bats right now.
“And I don’t know if that’s good enough for him right now. The kid works his tail off. He’s game on. It’s just tough having a young kid sit around right now.”
Hendriks turns the corner
Liam Hendriks remains winless in 11 major league starts, but you could tell how relieved he was after turning in his first quality start since April 15.
“I came out and felt a lot more comfortable than my last couple starts, and was attacking the zone,” Hendriks said. “My first-pitch strikes were definitely up [15-for-25 compared to 11-for-25 last Thursday in Pittsburgh], and I was getting my breaking stuff over. Just [pleased with] how I kept the ball down with the sinker.”
The Twins needed to see this from Hendriks.
“He battled,” Gardenhire said. “He threw a lot more fastballs tonight. He threw some nice little breaking balls over to start a couple hitters to keep them off the fastball. He pitched hard in, knocked some guys off the plate tonight. He located the ball better.”
Nowhere to go but down
Jamey Carroll, after watching lefthanded reliever Tyler Robertson strike out the side (De Aza, Youkilis and Dunn) in his major league debut: “It’s awesome. ... That’s obviously something he’s going to talk about and his family’s going to talk about for a long time. I guess it’s really downhill from here for him. ... No, I’m kidding. It’s great to see. I love that part of this game.”
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