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.

Postgame: Diamond was great -- in the pen

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: July 21, 2013 - 7:43 PM

A few leftovers from the Twins' first loss in more than a week:

-- Scott Diamond said his rough start Sunday -- and it could have been worse, with a couple of nice defensive plays by Aaron Hicks and Clete Thomas saving him runs -- was especially mystifying, given how well he was throwing before the game.

"I was feeling sharp in the pen, and to not have it carry over into the game was frustrating," Diamond said. "My feedback has been positive because my bullpens have been good. That's what's keeping me afloat, because I'm showing progress. It's just not carrying over right now, at least not with the consistency we want."

-- Doug Bernier made his Twins debut as a defensive replacement for Plouffe in the eighth inning. He batted once, too, but was walked on four pitches. "I got on base, that was cool for my first at-bat," the utility infielder said. "My heart was beating a little faster, all that, but it felt really good to get out there. I think the anticipation is harder than the actual playing."

Bernier is 0-for-4 in his major-league career, having filled in for two games with the Rockies in 2008 while Yorbit Torrealba was serving a suspension. He's still waiting for his first hit and RBI -- and now heads to southern California, about 150 miles from his hometown of Santa Maria. "I've got some people coming, including my mom, which is going to be great," said Bernier, whose wife and 21-month-old daughter are also making the trip.

-- Trevor Plouffe struck out both times he batted Sunday, giving him six consecutive whiffs over two games. He appeared especially frustrated after swinging at a sinker in the fifth inning, but acting manager Terry Steinbach said he has no doubt Plouffe will bounce back.

"I just think hitters go up and down like that. Plouffie, for whatever reason, is trying too hard up there," Steinbach said. "He has to ride the storm out, keep working hard. He'll hit his way out of it."

-- Brian Dozier is going through an odd slump. He's hitting just .200 over his last 10 games, going 8-for-40 -- but seven of the eight hits are doubles. In fact, Dozier has racked up 10 doubles in July, more even than Joe Mauer.

-- Vance Worley and Pedro Hernandez have been sent to Fort Myers, Fla., while they work toward returning from minor injuries. "Basically, Worley said his arm felt tired before the break, and he asked to skip a start. He went home during the break, threw a bullpen and said it still doesn't feel right," said assistant general manager Rob Antony. "I don't think anyone is overly concerned about it, but he can't pitch. ... And it didn't make sense to have him hang around Rochester."

-- Josh Willingham will be fitted with a knee brace on Tuesday, and can begin running in a straight line. He's still two weeks away from being able to begin baseball activities, however, and Gardenhire said he definitely will need a rehab assignment before he returns.

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