La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

A hot one in Baltimore

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: July 24, 2010 - 4:59 PM

Just checking in.

I need to clear up something from my gamer last night. Matt Tolbert hasn't been sent out on a rehab assignment yet. He's still in the Twin Cities treating his bruised right middle finger and trying to get his throwing on track. So he might not be an option if Orlando Hudson needs to go on the DL.

Hudson remained upbeat after the game. He always is. But oblique strains are tough to get over. Maybe Hudson has a football mentality about bouncing back. That was a weak attempt to transition to football so I could mention that Hudson had buddy Anquan Boldin,formerly of the Arizona Cardinals now with the Baltimore Ravens, in the clubhouse after Thursday's win.

It's unclear who would get the call if Hudson is shut down. Brendan Harris is no longer on the 40-man roster, and Trevor Plouffe is primarily a shortstop. The Twins should know more about Hudson later today.

Some people seem to be riled up after Brian Duensing was removed after five innings. He threw 49 pitches in his previous outing on Sunday. He threw 66 pitches last night. An 18-pitch increase in workload is reasonable.

As for Anthony Slama's pitch to Luke Scott: He was told by pitching coach Rick Anderson to not give in to Scott and that first base was open if he had to work around him. We all saw what happened.

It's going to be a hot one today,with a forecast of 102. It's 98 right now. Went for a walk this morning at 9 a.m. and it was sweltering then.

In case some of you saw the boxscores last night and noticed that Kyle Gibson pitched just 3.1 innings last night at Class AA New Britain. The game was delayed by rain, and Gibson was removed after the layoff. So no injury concerns there.

I'll check back later with updates and starting lineups.

Updates:

Orlando Hudson has until tomorrow to prove he can play or he will be placed on the 15-day disabled list. We staked him out for an hour but he never stopped to tell us how he felt.

Justin Morneau is feeling better and was at Target Field yesterday to get a workout in. Don't read into that that he's on the verge of returning from his concussion. Gardy pointed out that  Morneau still has hurdles to clear. I predicted in my Sunday notes that Morneau will return on Aug. 2, and that might be a little early.

Gardenhire said Matt Tolbert is not ready to play yet, so he wouldn't be an option if O-Dog heads to the DL. Gardy mentioned Trevor Plouffe and a 13th pitcher as options.

Talked to farm director Jim Rantz. He said Rob Delaney hit 94-96 mph on the stadium gun last night for Rochester. Even if that's a fast gun, that's a big number for Delaney. ``It was the hardest I've ever seen him throw,'' Rantz said.

Twins trainers are making sure the players are as hydrated as they can be. Jesse Crain said he'll drink four bottles of water before the first pitch. Denard Span was loading up on Powerade and water.

It's so hot here that a bird flew into the dugout at 4 p.m. and just sat directly in front of the large fan at the far end. Weather.com says it's 101 degrees as I write this - but feels like 112.

Twins (51-46)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Alex Casilla,  2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
5. Delmon Young, LF
6. Jason Kubel, DH
7. Danny Valencia, 3B
8. J.J. Hardy, SS
9. Jason Repko, RF

RHP Scott Baker

Baltimore (31-65)

1. Brian Roberts, 2B
2. Miguel Tejada, 3B
3. Nick Markakis, RF
4. Luke Scott, DH
5. Ty Wigginton, 1B
6. Adam Jones, CF
7. Felix Pie, LF
8. Craig Tatum, C
9. Cesar Izturis, SS

LHP Brian Matusz

 

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