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.

Willingham's season could be over; one less obstacle for Tigers

Posted by: Phil Miller under Twins game coverage Updated: September 28, 2012 - 7:18 PM

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire acknowledged that Josh Willingham could be finished for the season with a sprained left shoulder.

"We’re going to be very careful about this," Gardenhire said. "I have to go by what he says, and right now he can’t play. And I don’t plan on putting him out there until he can do it. If he could play, he'd play, I know that."

Willingham injured the shoulder when he jumped into the left-field wall, trying to catch a home run from Eric Chavez on Monday. Willingham is batting .260 with 35 home runs and 110 RBI.

DEDUNO WON'T MAKE NEXT START

Samuel Deduno won't make Tuesday's start in Toronto because of left eye irritation, GM Terry Ryan said.

"He wants to pitch; we all know that, but you can’t have a guy on the mound who can’t see the ball and has blurry vision," Gardenhire said. "So we’ll go day-to-day with him until they tell me everything’s cleared up and OK."

It sounds like the Twins will pick between Brian Duensing and Anthony Swarzak to make Tuesday's start.

TONIGHT'S GAME

The Tigers are 13-3 in their past 16 games at Target Field, including 5-1 this year, and with another big weekend here, Detroit has a chance to put a stranglehold on a second consecutive division title.

Detroit leads the White Sox by two games with six to play. Max Scherzer has a shoulder injury, so lefthander Drew Smyly will start in his place tonight against the Twins, opposite Scott Diamond.

Meanwhile, the Rays will be trying to extend their eight-game winning streak in Chicago, with Jeremy Hellickson opposing White Sox righthander Gavin Floyd.

NISHIOKA RELEASED

Tsuyoshi Nishioka asked for his release, saving the Twins $3.25 million, as La Velle reports here.

AL BATTING RACE

1. Miguel Cabrera .326
2. Joe Mauer .323
3. Mike Trout .320
4. Derek Jeter .318
5. Adrian Beltre .318

TIGERS (84-72)

1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Omar Infante, 2B
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Delmon Young, LF
6. Jhonny Peralta, SS
7. Andy Dirks, LF
8. Avisail Garcia, RF
9. Gerald Laird, C

Starting pitcher: LH Drew Smyly (4-3, 4.24 ERA)

TWINS (65-91)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Ben Revere, RF
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Ryan Doumit, DH
6. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
7. Matt Carson, LF
8. Eduardo Escobar, 2B
9. Pedro Florimon, SS

Starting pitcher: LH Scott Diamond (12-8, 3.64 ERA)

Target Field. First pitch: 7:10 p.m. TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network

Follow along on Twitter: @JoeCStrib

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