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

Twins saddened by death of Marlins pitcher Fernandez


The Twins will observe a moment of silence before the game following the tragic death of Florida Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez early Sunday morning.

Fernandez was one of three men who were killed when the boat they were riding in crashed into  jetty off of Miami Beach. 

``All of Baseball is shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernández,'' MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.  ``He was one of our game’s great young stars who made a dramatic impact on and off the field since his debut in 2013.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, the Miami Marlins organization and all of the people he touched in his life.''

Twins players were stunned as they learned about Fernandez's death.

``I had to read it over and over just to make sure I was reading it right,'' Twins second baseman Brian Dozer said. ``It's a sad thing.''

Dozier said he spoke with Fernandez whenever the Twins played the Marlins and during the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati and thought he was a great guy with a lot of energy.

I've never had a chance to interview him, but it's a sad day for baseball.

This is the Twins final home game of the season. Hector Santiago will start but manager Paul Molitor indicated that he limit his pitches since it's late in the season.

Dozier will address the crowd at 12:55.

Mariners

Guillermo Heredia, LF
Franklin Gutierrez, RF
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nelson Cruz, DH
Kyle Seager, 3B
Dae-Ho Lee, 1B
Leonys Martin, CF
Jesus Sucre, C
Shawn O'Malley, SS

Taijuan Walker, RGP

Twins

Brian Dozier, 2B
Jorge Polanco, SS
Joe Mauer, DH
Miguel Sano, 3B
Max Kepler, RF
Kennys Vargas, 1B
Robbie Grossman, LF
Juan Centeno, C
Byron Buxton, CF

Hector Santiago, LHP

Postgame: Is Rogers a potential late-inning pitcher? Molitor thinks so

    Plenty of extras from a short night at the ballpark: 

   Taylor Rogers is left-handed, and the Mariners have a bunch of right-handed pinch-hitters, but Paul Molitor had a hunch. And it paid off.

    Rogers struck out the side in the eighth inning, whiffing three straight pinch-hitters to protect the Twins’ one-run lead and further cement himself in the team’s plans for next season. He looks like a natural set-up man, perhaps paired with right-hander Ryan Pressly.

    “I have to say, he’s done a pretty nice job of establishing himself with what he’s done. There’s a lot to like about Taylor Rogers, including the way he handles himself late in games,” Molitor, the Twins’ manager, said. “It hasn’t always gone perfectly, but he seems to be a guy who can be fairly resilient and not timid.”

    So is he late-inning material?

    “I would think that’s a pretty safe bet,” Molitor said.

XXX

    Miguel Sano makes no secret of his admiration for Robinson Cano, his fellow Dominican infielder, whose career he would like to emulate. So Sano appears to be clearly trying to impress his friend when they’re in the same ballpark.

    “It’s really fun to play with him. I’ve known him a long time,” Sano said after the Twins’ 3-2 win on Saturday. “My mom and father, they love Cano. … Now I be here with him.”

    So Sano enjoyed lining a home run just inside the foul pole in the fourth inning, putting the Twins in front just moments after the Mariners had tied the game.

    But in the ninth inning, after Cano led off with a single, Sano dropped a double-play grounder hit to him by Nelson Cruz, giving the Mariners a chance to rally. Fortunately for Sano, Kyle Seager then hit another grounder to him, and this time Sano didn’t muff it. He grabbed the ball, stepped on third base to retire Cano, and fired across the diamond to get Seager, too.

    Cano basically congratulated him on the play as they stood at third. “He said I need to keep going, play defense, catch the ball. Don’t worry about what happened, just make another play,” Sano said.

    Twins manager Paul Molitor knows how much Sano admires the veteran Mariner (and former Yankee). “I think Miggy likes some of those things, [like] playing against really good players that he’s befriended. He likes big stages like New York. He looks forward to some of those things that a major-league opportunity brings you,” Molitor said. “I see him making eye contact over in that [visiting] dugout quite a bit, which we’re going to try to clean up just a little. But he had a bit home run, and made a big play after a misplay, which is good to see.”

XXX

    The Twins hit two home runs on Saturday, and now have 192 on the season. That’s the fifth-most ever for Minnesota, and while the franchise record of 126, set in 1963, is out of reach, they can still become just the third Twins team ever to hit 200 home runs.

    Too bad they’ll probably get only eight runs out of those next eight homers. The Twins are hitting homers but getting little other offense, which explains why their last nine home runs, and 25 of their last 29, have come with the bases empty.

XXX

    Let’s hear it for short games: Tonight’s game lasted two hours, six minutes, making it the quickest game at Target Field since June 15, 2011, a 4-1 win over the White Sox that also lasted 2:06. That, several Twitter posters pointed out, was the Carl Pavano / Gavin Floyd game in which both teams were trying to beat a rainstorm that arrived just after the final out.

    The game didn’t come close to the stadium record, though: A 1:52 nine-inning rush between Pavano and Mark Buehrle, of course, back on July 17, 2010.

Final, 9/25 R H E
Seattle 81-73 4 6 0
Minnesota 56-99 3 9 3