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Twins Insider

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

Postgame: Hughes struggled before injury; why Vargas was lifted in opener

Some tidbits after the Twins split two games against the Royals:

Paul Molitor has to be pleased that he got through two doubleheaders in four days while needing just  seven relievers in the four games. He needed three for the two games against Colorado, then four on Sunday against the Royals. Adam Wilk being able to go 3.2 innings in relief of Phil Hughes in the first game was significant.

Tough break for Hughes if he, indeed is having problems with his shoulder again. But I wonder if he was having problems before Sunday that he brushed off as regular soreness? Only because he hasn't pitched well for three consecutive outings now. The Twins really don't have enough starting pitching inventory to deal with injuries. Aldalberto Mejia pitched fairly well on Sunday - there was some hard contact - and should get another chance. Kyle Gibson has to prove he's a changed man when he faces Baltimore on Monday. He can no longer be the nibbler. Boy, Ryan Vogelsong would have been way in the rotation now if he hadn't asked for his release during spring training.



Salvador Perez continued his assault on Target Field. He hit three homers in the two games to give him 13, second only to Jose Bautista's 14. Perez now is batting .360 at Target Field with 14 homers and 39 RBI in 52 games.

Some followers on Twitter went bonkers when Eduardo Escobar pinch hit for Kennys Vargas in the seventh inning of game one, but it was sound strategy. Lefthander Matt Strahm was on the mound, and Escobar  was batting .344 against lefties in contrast to Vargas' .095 average. It looked bad in the ninth when Escobar had to face Kelvin Herrera with the game on the line and Molitor out of options.

Back to the hard contact against Mejia. Two hard hit balls were in the sixth. Eric Hosmer sent a liner that Max Kepler broke in perfectly on and made a sliding catch. Perez followed with a drive to right-center that made Kepler sprint back before making a leaping catch. "He made a great read on the ball he came in on and had good field presence as far as the ability to leap and make that catch at the wall," Molitor said. 

Let me tell you about the pressbox today. The windows have been closed all week because the weather has been crappy. So every word bounces around there like it's a library. Sid Hartman stayed from the first pitch of game one to the last pitch of game two - and got louder as the evening went. During the seventh inning stretch of the second game, he started yelling at me that I was the, "Kiss of Death," and that the reason The Sports Show was canceled was because I joined and drove down the ratings. I don't know where Sid gets this stuff from. I really can't believe he lasted both games. The 96-year-old man is a tank.

(Editor's note: Sid is actually 97.)

Another day, another doubleheader for the Twins

We're back at Target Field for another doubleheader under Gotham City-type weather.

Is this ever going to end? Have we become Seattle? There used to be a ball of fire in sky that would warm us and make us want to do things outdoors. I can't remember the last time it has been warm enough to open the pressbox windows. When the windows are closed it's like a museum in here. So the noise just bounces around when Sid Hartman starts picking on me from the back row.

Enough of my ranting. The Twins are playing a traditional doubleheader at home for the first time since 2001, when they split two with Oakland. Both games went 10 innings. J.C. Romero started game one and pitched into the seventh inning. Brad Thomas started the second game, was knocked out early and replaced by Johan Santana. The second game lasted 4 hours, 3 minutes. Good grief.

Eddie Guardado pitched in both games. I asked Molitor on Thursday if he was comfortable using a reliever in both games of a DH, and he basically said those days are over.

Then the Twins went out and used three relievers over the two games on Thursday. Molitor would love to repeat that today, with three games in Baltimore starting on Monday.

Lefthander Adalberto Mejia officially is the 26th man for the Twins today, and will start game two. The Twins want to see progress in his ability to throw strikes and get ahead in the count.

The Royals have called up righthander Jakob Junis to start today and righthander Miguel Almonte is their official 26th man. They have warned the Twins that they will make roster moves between games. Junis has made two appearances for Kansas City this year, but this is his first major league start. He was drafted in the 29th round out of high school in 2011.

The Twins have not announced their starter for tomorrow at  Baltimore, but I'm guessing it's going to be Kyle Gibson. He hasn't pitched since Monday and is not starting today for Class AAA Rochester - and the Red Wings have Jason Wheeler and Aaron Slegers scheduled to start their next two games.

The Twins will have to clear space on their 25-man roster to call up Gibson.

Game two will begin roughly 30 minutes following the completion of the first game. Enjoy.


Alcides Escobar, SS - making 213th consecutive start at short, setting Royals record.
Moose, 3B
Lorenzo Cain, CF
Eric Hosmer, 1B
Salvador Perez, C
Jorge Bonifacio, RF
Brandon Moss, DH
Whit Merrifield, 2B
Alex Gordon, LF

Jakob Junis, RHP


Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, 1B
Miguel Sano, 3B
Max Kepler, RF
Kennys Vargas, DH
Eddie Rosario, LF
Jorge Polanco, SS
Jason Castro, C
Byron Buxton, CF

Phil Hughes, RHP