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.

Another shorthanded night for the Twins

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: August 2, 2010 - 4:51 PM

I remember Ron Gardenhire's first season as manager in 2002. Brad Radke, Eric Milton and Joe Mays each broke down during the season. One of them missed a month, another two months and the third missed three months - I can't remember who missed which block of time.

The Twins used nine different starters that season, including Matt Kinney, Juan Rincon, Tony Fiore and some kid name Johan Santana. That team won 94 games,

It seems like they always have a stretch without a key player who is injured. Last season, the Twins didn't have Joe Mauer early and didn't have Justin Morneau late. For the most part, they are able to absorb the blow. One year they failed to overcome a key injury was 2005, when Torii Hunter dislocated an ankle and, later that season. took a swing at Morneau.

For the second straight night, the M & M boys won't be in the Twins lineup. Mauer took a cortisone shot on Saturday and isn't quite ready. Morneau worked out at Target Field on Monday, but Gardy said he didn't feel as well has he has after previous workouts.

It's unknown when Morneau will return. Meanwhile, the Twins have to figure out a way to beat Jeremy Hellickson, who's making his major league debut for a hot team.

Orlando Hudson, on the DL with an oblique strain, took batting practice on Monday - righthanded. He can only hit off a tee lefthanded.

To make room for Hellickson, the Rays placed rigththander Andy Sonnanstine on the 15-day disabled list. Sonnanstine supposedly has a hamstring strain but the media here make is sound like the Rays could have said he had pleurisy and it would have been just as inaccurate.

One minor league note: I was down in Fort Myers this morning to pick up some notes on prospects. Matt Bashore, the Twins' supplemental pick in 2009, is out for the year because of Tommy John surgery. That's not new news. But it's actually his second Tommy John surgery, the other coming when he was 16. Not good.

I'll have updates on Miguel Angel Sano, Max Kepler and other kids at GCL later this week,

Twins GM Bill Smith is on the trip.

Steve Liddle's father passed away, so he's not with the team tonight.

Twins (59-46)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Alexi Casilla, 2B
3. Delmon Young, LF
4. Jason Kubel, RF
5. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
6. Jim Thome, DH
7. Danny Valencia, 3B
8. J.J. Hardy, SS
9. Drew Butera, C

Pitching Carl Pavano, RHP

Rays (65-39)

1. John Jaso, C
2. Carl Crawford, LF
3. Evan Longoria, 3B
4. Wily Aybar, DH
5. Matt Joyce, RF
6. B.J. Upton,  CF
7. Sean Rodriguez, 1B
8. Reid Brignac, 2B
9. Jason Bartlett, SS

Pitching: Jeremy Hellickson, RHP

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