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La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Molitor calls team meeting in Toronto: 'This is important time for some'

    TORONTO — Paul Molitor called his team together before batting practice to deliver a message: “Show me what you can do.”

    The Twins, on a seven-game losing streak as they embark on a six-game road trip against a pair of first-place teams, will need to fight to avoid 100 losses. Molitor wants to make sure the Twins have that fight in them.

    “I want to get them focused on where we’re at and what we have left,” the manager said. “I wouldn’t call it a state of the union, but sometimes you have to collectively get perspective.”

    Molitor said he isn’t a believer in using the possibility of being a “spoiler” as motivation, because he wants the Twins focused on themselves. While there’s nothing to play for in the standings, he said, there’s plenty to play for in regards to their own future.

    “I want them to go out there and let it fly the last five weeks. Show us what you can to,” Molitor said. “This is an important time for some people.”

    As for tonight’s game, against former Twins lefthander Francisco Liriano, the Twins will be without first baseman Joe Mauer for a third straight game. Mauer, recovering from sore quads, was feeling good enough to play today, but Molitor chose to hold him back, mindful of what’s ahead. “We’re playing up here on turf over the weekend and [there’s] another lefthander out there tonight,” Molitor said. “Give him a third day today and hopefully he’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”

    Speaking of ready to go, Alex Wimmers, the Twins’ first-round draft pick in 2010, is in uniform No. 51 and ready to make his major league debut. He was informed of his call-up during a bus ride last night outside Norfolk, Va., and by almost random chance, happened to have his passport with him. Lucky break.

    Here are the lineups for tonight’s first game at Rogers Centre, where the Twins are only 8-23 over the past decade:

TWINS

 

Dozier 2B

Grossman LF

Plouffe 1B

Sano DH

Kepler RF

Polanco SS

Escobar 3B

Suzuki C

Rosario CF

 

Dean RHP

 

BLUE JAYS

 

Bautista RF

Donaldson 3B

Encarnacion DH

Martin C

Tulowitzki SS

Upton CF

Barney 2B

Smoak 1B

Carrera LF

 

Liriano LHP

Twins better be right about demoting Berrios, Duffey so late in year

There's just 10 days left in Rochester's season, unless the Red Wings make the playoffs.

So it seems strange that the Twins would send Jose Berrios and Tyler Duffey down this late in the season. But they did.

Have they determined that things are moving too fast for the young righthanders? That what they claim. Are they trying to send a message? Perhaps. Are they fed up with losing and want to send a message that what's been going on will not be tolerated? Not sure.

But we have seen Duffey's emotions get the best of him and Berrios, after putting up sparkling numbers in the minors, failed to command his pitches up here.

Twins manager Paul Molitor was asked after the announcement why send Berrios down instead of working with him up here? (Especially since Bert Blyleven has started helping out).

``You remember the Buxton conversations?'' Molitor responded.

That's a reference to us asking him about Buxton's progress during the season. And Buxton was sent down when the coaching staff determined that the outfielder's head was spinning and he needed to take a step back.

They are closer to the players than anyone else, and it's possible they have seen frustration and confusion that we don't see when we're in the clubhouse.

``You're not doing him any favors right now and you still have to try to protect your team,'' Molitor said of Berrios. ``For him right now (it's) backing off of the pressure and trying to implement some of the things he's working on in a less stressful environment.

``I love getting guys experience. Especially where we are where we are. But it becomes a point where it doesn't seem like the right thing.''

The Twins better be right. They are in the middle of a run of prospects that can turn the program around. Buxton, Berrios. Duffey, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco. Stephen Gonsalves, Tyler Jay, Nick Burdi, Kohl Stewart and I'll even throw in Nick Gordon. Buxton and Berrios have been sent down twice this year. Sano is trying to break out of a slump. Eddie Rosario has nine walks. Heck, Kyle Gibson hasn't taken that next step.

The Twins are on pace to lose 99-100 games this season. The only way for fans to take these beatings is if there are prospects developing who will make teams pay for these beatdowns.

If the Twins think that 10 days in the minors will help, fine. They just better be right.

Final, 8/26 R H E
Minnesota 49-79 8 9 2
Toronto 72-56 15 15 1