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.
Danny Valencia is in the lineup for the Twins for the first time since May 10, as they look to make it two in a row against Cleveland tonight at Target Field.
Valencia was in an 0-for-25 skid when the Twins sent him to Class AAA Rochester more than 11 weeks ago.
He batted .190/.204/.290 with one homer and 11 RBI in 25 games, and the Twins wanted him to go back to Triple-A and regain his confidence. Valencia never really dominated for Rochester, but he was fairly consistent over 69 games, batting .250/.289/.399 with seven homers and 37 RBI.
The Twins recalled Valencia somewhat reluctantly Friday, when Trevor Plouffe landed on the disabled list with a bruised right thumb. But it’s worth remembering that Valencia wasn’t exactly dominating Triple-A in 2010, when he got his first big league promotion. Valencia was batting .292 with no homers in 49 games, but he came up to Minnesota, in the heat of the pennant race, and batted .311 with seven homers and 40 RBI.
Expectations have been high ever since. Tonight, Valencia gets another opportunity with the Twins. And this should be a favorable matchup, as he is 6-for-13 lifetime against Indians starter Justin Masterson.
Cleveland is 10-21 against lefthanded starters, which worked out for the Twins on Friday with Scott Diamond pitching and should favor Francisco Liriano on Sunday, but the Indians get a crack at a righthander tonight, in Samuel Deduno.
The Indians are 40-29 in games started by righthanders.
Deduno got the win last Sunday in Kansas City, holding the Royals to one run on six hits over 6 1/3 innings. This will be his fourth start for the Twins.
1. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
2. Michael Brantley, CF
3. Jason Kipnis, 2B
4. Carlos Santana, C
5. Travis Hafner, DH
6. Johnny Damon, LF
7. Casey Kotchman, 1B
8. Jack Hannahan, 3B
9. Brent Lillibridge, SS
Starting pitcher: RH Justin Masterson (7-8, 4.12 ERA)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Ben Revere, RF
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Ryan Doumit, DH
7. Danny Valencia, 3B
8. Brian Dozier, SS
9. Alexi Casilla, 2B
Starting pitcher: RH Samuel Deduno (1-0, 3.94 ERA)
Target Field. First pitch: 6:10 p.m. TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network
Follow along on Twitter: @JoeCStrib
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