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

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 him 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 

Postgame: Thoughts on the Twins closer situation


Just one thought tonight, on the Glen Perkins situation:

You can read Thursday's notebook here, which details Perkins' back soreness

.

In short: the Twins on Thursday night will leave on a three-city road trip that begins with stops at AL West-leading Houston and AL Central-leading Kansas City. It's quite possible Perkins won't join the team to start the trip.

We're hoping to chat with Perkins tomorrow. I'm guessing he's pretty frustrated right now because he hasn't been available for the most of the last two weeks. Kevin Jepsen has been a savior, but it's going to be a challenge for them to move forward without their closer. Can it be done? Certainly. The Twins have remodeled their bullpen on the fly during the second half of the season. They've added Jepsen and Neal Cotts and moved Trevor May into the bullpen. Throw in Casey Fien, who was on a roll until he gave up a home run on Tuesday, and the bullpen has the arms to protect late leads. The rotation comes into play here, because their starters can't run out of gas in the fifth inning down the stretch. They have to get deeper into games.

And Phil Hughes' recovery from his back problems is huge. A healthy and in-form Hughes is a significant development for the Twins as they chase after a wild card spot. Their chances hinge on their starter and closer getting over back problems. How did it come to this?

Bottom 3rd R H E
Chicago White Sox 61-70 1 2 0
Minnesota 69-63 0 1 0

Today's Scoreboard

  • Chicago White Sox

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