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 hope Vasquez's solid AAA numbers translate to the majors; Willingham update; Perkins' role as closer

Posted by: Phil Miller under Twins game coverage, Vikings Updated: September 9, 2012 - 12:12 PM

With the Vikings set to open their season on the other side of downtown this afternoon, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of crowd the Twins draw for Game 3 of this four-game series with Cleveland.

Esmerling Vasquez will be making his second start for the Twins after taking a loss on Sept. 2 in Kansas City. The righthander allowed five runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings in that start.

The 28-year-old from the Dominican Republic is getting a chance to prove himself after going 4-2 with a 2.93 ERA in eight starts for Class AAA Rochester. In those starts, Vasquez racked up 48 strikeouts and 14 walks in 43 innings.

The Indians counter with righthander Corey Kluber, who held Minnesota to three runs (one earned) over six innings on Aug. 7.

Update: Josh Willingham is getting a scheduled day off. He's dealing with a hamstring issue, but he played the past two days and responded well. Manager Ron Gardenhire said there's a good chance Willingham will be back in the outfield Monday.

Also, without making a big announcement, the Twins have quietly made Glen Perkins their full-time closer. I'll have more on this for tonight's first editions, but here's a sampling of Gardenhire's quotes:

"I've said we’ll use [Jared] Burton on days when Perkins can’t go, the rest of this year, but I’ve got no problem with Perk being the closer. I like it. I like handing him the ball and seeing him go out and wing it -- lefties or righties it doesn’t matter."

INDIANS (59-80)

1. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
2. Jason Kipnis, 2B
3. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
4. Michael Brantley, CF
5. Carlos Santana, 1B
6. Russ Canzler, LF
7. Brent Lillibridge, SS
8. Jason Donald, 3B
9. Lou Marson, C

Starting pitcher: RH: Corey Kluber (1-3, 4.79 ERA)

TWINS (57-82)

1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, DH
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Ryan Doumit, C
6. Chris Parmelee, RF
7. Darin Mastroianni, LF
8. Eduardo Escobar, 3B
9. Pedro Florimon, SS

Starting pitcher: RH Esmerling Vasquez (0-1, 7.94 ERA)

Target Field. First pitch: 1:10 p.m. TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network

Follow along on Twitter: @JoeCStrib

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