Coming back to Target Field was supposed to be a reprieve from the Twins' recent road woes, but Monday night's 7-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers and subsequent move into second place proved otherwise.
Brennan Boesch and Miguel Cabrera each hit two-run doubles in the first off Francisco Liriano, who gave up a season-high six runs in just over six innings to help the Tigers gain a half-game lead in the AL Central. Jason Kubel was a bit of a rally-killer early on, ending the first inning by way of double play before squashing a comeback attempt with the bases loaded and one out in the third. However, he did account for one of the Twins runs.
Jim Thome hit a bomb off Jeremy Bonderman in the sixth, which could only be one-upped by his first triple in over six years two innings earlier. Nice work, Jim Jam. Also, Delmon Young drove in his 50th run of the season.
Good news? It looks like the infield may be back to normal soon, as shortstop J.J. Hardy claims to be swinging without pain in his left wrist finally. He hopes to begin rehabbing in a couple days and could rejoin the team by the end of the homestand this weekend.
Also, New York Yankees first baseman Mark Tiexiera and his .229 batting average are hot on Justin Morneau's tail in this year's All-Star popularity contest, about 255,419 behind our Canadian Crusher. Votes will be tallied this Thursday night at 11:59 ET.
And of course, our thoughts are with Joel Zumaya's elbow today after an alarming scene in the eighth inning last night when the hard-throwing reliever fell to the ground, painfully clutching his arm after delivering a pitch.
Game two is set for 7:10pm with Nick Blackburn taking the hill against Armando Galarraga, who is 1-5 with a 5.48 ERA in nine career games against Minnesota, including seven starts.
Jacque Jones has returned to his roots, re-joining the Minnesota Twins after a summer stint with the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League. At 34 years old, he's decided to give the big leagues one more shot... or the big leagues decided to give him one more shot. Either way.
Jones, who roamed the Twins' outfield from 1999-2005, showed up at the winter meetings and managed to convince GM Bill Smith that he still has what it takes to play with the big boys. Whatever he said apparently did the trick, as the team gave him a call two months later with a minor league offer and a Spring Training invite.
The days of the "Soul Patrol" may be long gone, but Jones is back in his no. 11 jersey. His locker is even in the same corner of the clubhouse as it used to be.
"It's really like I never left," he said. "Everything is the same. Things are run the same. It's the same people here. It feels awesome."
Except he did leave. Jones, a career .277 hitter with a .326 OBP, spent two seasons of a three-year deal with the Chicago Cubs before they traded him away to the Detroit Tigers. There, he lasted just a month before being designated for assignment. Then the Florida Marlins gave his a shot, but he lasted only three weeks in that uniform. Overall, it was a dismal 2008 for Jones, who ended the season batting .142 between both clubs.
Most players would call it quits at that point, but Jones wasn't quite ready to hang up his cleats. He spent a month trying to find his swing down in Mexico, where he hit .314 (37-for-118) over 29 games. That was convincing enough for the Cincinnati Reds, who invited him to their camp last spring. There, he mangled his way to an .089 average in 45 spring at bats.
That's when he decided to give baseball one last try in the independent league, where batted .311 with five home runs and 25 RBIs in 119 at-bats. Hence, the invitation to Ft. Myers.
So what can we expect from Jones this season if he makes his way up from the minors? Will it be a hell of a comeback or a complete disaster?