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Twins Insider

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

Postgame: Turley learned the hard way about falling behind hitters

    He didn’t say it with Kyle Gibson’s Midwestern accent, but Nik Turley sure sounded a lot like Gibson after Thursday’s loss to the White Sox. Both pitchers are tall, both possess mid-90s fastballs, and both get in trouble when they can’t throw first-pitch strikes.

    “I feel like I was trying to be too fine. I was trying to hit the corner instead of just being aggressive,” said Turley, virtually word-for-word as Gibson when he has a game where he’s constantly pitching from behind. “I know the stuff’s there. The stuff’s always been there. I’m just going to work as hard as I can to get it back.”

    He’ll have to do it in Rochester, N.Y., of course, having been optioned back to Class AAA after his third straight short-start loss in three tries. This time, the rookie lefthander lasted only eight batters before Paul Molitor had seen enough, and he fell behind six of them. No shock here: Five of those hitters, able to sit on a fastball in the zone, collected hits, two of them homers.

    “I feel like today it was a lot to do with my mentality. There’s no excuse. It’s just I went out there and I was a little cautious instead of pitching my game,” Turley said. “So, I started getting behind guys. I know if I get ahead and stay aggressive in the zone than I’ll be all right.”

    It’s a lot easier to say than to do, of course, and nobody knows it better than Gibson, who has been battling that fall-behind plague for most of his career. But Turley had other problems, too. He rarely threw his curveball — not at all to the first five batters, actually — which was one of the points the Twins had emphasized to him before the game.

    And his changeup wasn’t fooling anyone. “It was basically like a [batting practice] fastball. It was a 4- or 5-mph difference from my fastball instead of what you want. You want it to be around 10,” Turley said. “My curveball’s my best pitch, so I should have gone to it more. I regret not going to it.”

    He didn’t sound regretful about the past two weeks, though, despite the disastrous (16.39 ERA) results. “I’m grateful for the opportunity,” said Turley, who spent nine seasons in the minors before getting his shot. “I hope to be back here soon.”

Play ball! (finally). Twins/White Sox endure long delay; team announces ticket policy

    UPDATE: After a steady drizzle all afternoon (except for a one-hour clearing around 12:30), the Twins will play today’s game after all. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. before what appears to be a sparse remaining crowd.

    All fans, even those who are here to watch the game, can exchange Thursday’s tickets for any game after Aug. 28, the Twins have announced.

    It’s raining, it’s pouring, waiting out rain delays is boring.

    But that’s the status at Target Field, where at 12:10 p.m. start for the Twins-White Sox finale appears all but impossible. The storm began around 10 a.m., and there is standing watcher on the warning tracks now. But the forecast shows the rain passing in a couple of hours, and Twin officials — though there’s no official word yet — seem optimistic that they won’t have to declare the third home rainout of the season.

    Nik Turley has to hope so, because it’s unlikely, after an off day earlier this week, that Paul Molitor would move his rotation back a day, since that would mean Ervin Santana would miss facing the Indians on Sunday. Turley would likely be skipped, and given Hector Santiago’s likely return next week in Boston, the left-handed rookie’s status might be in doubt.

    Given that the Twins have two doubleheaders already scheduled, including one in Chicago in August, it’s also likely that they will be willing to wait out the rain, just to keep the schedule from backing up even more.

    Speaking of Santiago, he’ll meet the Twins in Cleveland tonight, though he probably won’t be activated until they get to Boston next week. Molitor seemed satisfied with his rehab start yesterday, though it lasted only three innings (and 57 pitches), but isn’t ready to slot him into one of those four games in Fenway Park just yet.

    Once we play, the Twins will use Miguel Sano as their designated hitter for a second straight day, with Eduardo Escobar — his batting average now .300 — playing third base and batting fifth. 

    Here are the lineups, assuming there’s a game at some point today:



Anderson SS

Cabrera LF

Abreu 1B

Garcia RF

Frazier 3B

Davidson DH

Sanchez 2B

Smith C

Engel CF


Quintana LHP




Dozier 2B

Mauer 1B

Sano DH

Grossman LF

Escobar 3B

Kepler RF

Polanco SS

Jimenez C

Buxton CF


Turley LHP