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

Postgame: Thoughts after a getaway day loss at Target Field

Here are some thoughts following the Twins' 6-4 loss to the White Sox

TWINS ARE IN A QUANDARY: If it was earlier in the season, Twins manager Paul Molitor probably would place both Miguel Sano and Glen Perkins on the disabled list. Sano can't run because of a strained right hamstring and Perkins can't throw a baseball because of a strained back. One player is a multi-time All-Star. The other looks like he's Cooperstown-bound through 51 games. They are both vital to the Twins' postseason hopes, althrough the role of Glen Perkins is being played by Kevin Jepsen rather well. Sano will be harder to replace. Molitor is in a tough spot because he said Perkins' injury could be something that nags him the rest of the season. If that's the case, he might have to make him a set up guy and leave Jepsen as his closer. Sano needs rest and rehab, but the Twins can't afford that because Sano has become a key cog in the lineup. Molitor has juggled bullpen roles and dealt with rotation issues all season. He's used to this. But figuring out when to play Sano and what to do with Perkins once he's ready to return will be fascinating to watch and could determine the Twins playoff fate.

DIFFERENT SITUATIONS: Danny Santana and Kennys Vargas were two reasons the Twins were optimistic entering the season. Both were productive during the second half of the 2014 season. But both lost their hitting strokes. Santana was sent to Class AAA Rochester in early June, reutrned for about a month but was sent back in late July. Vargas was sent all the way to Class AA Chattanooga in early July. Both are now back - but in specialtiy roles only. Eduardo Escobar is on a tear, as he entered Thursday batting .396 with eight doubles and four home runs over his previous 13 games. Santana hit .577 over his last six gamesa at Rochester with three home runs. But he won't be getting many starts with the Twins. His best role could be as a pinch runner late in games. ``We'll just have to see if we can mix him in there,'' Molitor said. ``Right now, I'm not going to disrupt some things that are going well as of late.'' Vargas spent 35 games at Chattanooga, batting ..287 with seven homers and  24 RBI, before moving on to Rochester, where he hit .279-6-22 in  38 games. With Miguel Sano entrenched as the designated hitter (when healthy), Vargas didn't have to wait to be told what his role would be.
``Pinch hitter,'' Vargas said. But with Sano nursing a sore hamstring, Vargas got to start at first base on Thursday as Joe Mauer moved to desginated hitter. And Santana pinch hit in the eighth and then went in to play center. The Twins haven't given up on Santana as a shortstop. I wonder if he has a better chance as an outfielder to be productive. That's a thought for another day.

THE RETURN OF AARON HICKS: This could not come at a better time for the Twins. Hicks has recovered from a left hamstring strain and will join the team in Houston. Hicks went 4-for-4 with a home run in his last game at Rochester, so he's coming in on a good roll. With Sano out, Hicks can play right field and Torii Hunter can be the DH. Before you start going off about how Torii needs to be benched, slow your roll. When everyone is healthy, I expect Hunter, Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario to all get days off - and to all play together. This is Twins baseball, 2016. Molitor has had to juggle the bullpen and had to juggle the shortstop position. What roles are defined on this team? And it's likely that Sano will be hoobbled for the rest of the season, so the DH spot will be available to Hunter, to Joe Mauer, to Kennys Vargas - whomever - on the days Sano needs to sit. But getting Hicks back adds a top outfielder who is figuring things out at the plate. You people should know by game 133 that you need a pencil, not a pen, to follow this team. Listen to me now and believe me in 24 hours. Molitor will use the words, ``mix and match'' a few times during the pre-game show. That's all for now. Phil Miller is on this big trip. I'm outta here. (drops mic)

Perkins out, Jepsen to close; Sano rests hamstring

For those of you who have watched the Twins on television: Have you noticed the really old guy in the dugout in the last few years. He's Wayne Hattaway, longtime clubhouse attendant. Hattaway, nicknamed "Big Fella" doesn't walk, he shuffles around. He turned 75 this year, and looks 95.

Right now, Big Fella could hold his own in a race with Glen Perkins.

Perkins pitched on Tuesday but came down with back spasms on Wednesday, the second time in two weeks he's dealt with them. On Thursday, he walked like someone with a stiff back, slowly lowered himself into the chair in front of his stall and wondered why this is happening to him.

``When I woke up yesterday, I couldn't get out of bed,'' Perkins said. ``It completely blindsided me. It's going to take a little bit more time than last time.''
 
Kevin Jepsen will be the closer for now. Trevor May likely will be the eighth-inning specialist, although manager Paul Molitor said others could be options based on matchups and workload.

Perkins will not join the team on its Houston-Kansas City-Chicago road trip. The club hopes he responds well to a few days of treatment and can join the club sometime during the trip.

Miguel Sano is not in the lineup, as Molitor tries to give him a day to rest his balky hamstring. The manager did not like the sight of Sano jogging to first on a grounder yesterday. But the Twins are in a tight spot here. They need Sano, who has been a force in the middle of the order, but can't risk him totally blowing out his hamstring and missing an extended amount of time.

Molitor said if it was earlier in the season, Sano would be a candidate for the disabled list. But the postseason is at stake now.

The Twins hope that Kennys Vargas can live Sano's life for one day.

One person who is fully healthy is outfielder Aaron Hicks, who will be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Friday. In his last game at Class AAA Rochester. Hicks went 4-for-4 with a double and three-run home run. He will join the team in Houston.

White Sox

Adam Eaton, CF
Jose Abreu, 1B
Melky Cabrera, LF
Avisail Garcia, RF
Adam LaRoche, DH
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Geovany Soto, C
Carlos Sanchez, 2B
Tyler Saladino, 3B

Jeff Samardzija, RHP

Twins

Brian Dozier, 2B
Eduardo Escobar, SS
Joe Mauer, DH
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Kennys Vargas, 1B
Eddie Rosario, RF
Shane Robinson, LF
Chris Herrmann, C
Byron Buxton, CF

Kyle Gibson, RHP 

Final, 9/3 R H E
Chicago White Sox 62-70 6 10 1
Minnesota 69-64 4 7 0

Today's Scoreboard

  • Chicago White Sox

    Minnesota

     

    - F

    6

    4

  • Atlanta

    Washington

     

    - F

    1

    15

  • Pittsburgh

    Milwaukee

     

    - F

    3

    5

  • Detroit

    Kansas City

     

    - F

    7

    15

  • San Francisco

    Colorado

     

    - F

    3

    11

  • LA Dodgers

    San Diego

     

    - F

    7

    10

  • Chicago

    New York

     

    - F

    82

    60

  • Tulsa

    Seattle

     

    - F

    85

    67

  • Washington

    Los Angeles

     

    - F

    91

    93

No games for MLS

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