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Twins Insider

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

Rain not expected to delay Twins-Braves game

All indications are that the rain will end in time for tonight's game to start as regularly scheduled. Players are out on the field as I write this (5:15 p.m.) but there is one more blast of rain that's expected to pass through here.

This game must be played, since the Braves don't come back here any more.

Byron Buxton are Max Kepler are getting a break today, so Eddie Rosario is in center and Danny Santana is in right. That's a different alignment we've seen, but it might be because Santana looked shaky in center the last time he played there at Target Field.

The trade deadline is getting closer and closer, and scouts have been following the Twins. Eduardo Nunez, Kurt Suzuki and Fernando Abad all could help a contending team. Of those three, I think the Twins have the best chance of moving Abad. A number of teams need lefthanded relief. The Dodgers, one of those teams, had a scout at last night's game and I would expect him to be back tonight. 

The Twins might be n a mini-quandary with Kurt Suzuki. With no one else ready to step in and take over the position next season, the Twins might have to bring Suzuki back. That means that can't trade him this week. The free agent market for catchers this offseason looks to be thin. Matt Wieters could hit free agency, but Baltimore knows what the market could be like and will likely re-sign him.

Nunez definitely could help a team looking for offense and some speed. His market has been hard to figure out.

Over the next couple of days, Twins front office members will arrive in town to join interim GM Rob Antony for the finals days leading to the trade deadline.

This is game No. 100 on the season for the Twins.

Braves

Jace Peterson, LF
Gordon Beckham, 2B
Freddie Freeman, 1B
Nick Markakis, RF
Adonis Garcia, 3B
Jeff Francoeur, DH
Ender Inciarte, Cf
A. J.. C
Erick Aybar, SS

Mike Foltynewicz, RHP

Twins

Eduardo Nunez, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Miguel Sano, 3B
Brian Dozier, 3B
Kennys Vargas, DH
Eddie Rosario, CF
Robbie Grossman, LF
Kurt Suzuki, C
Danny Santana, RF

Tyler Duffey, RHP

Sano and Rosario survive collision in left field (with video)

    Three short extras from the Twins’ third-shortest game (2:23) of the season — just three days after they set a franchise record for the longest nine-inning game:

    The Twins shifted their infield toward right field when Freddie Freeman batted Tuesday, with third baseman Miguel Sano swung around to where the shortstop normally stands. It almost caused a disaster when Freeman popped the ball high into short left-center field in the sixth inning.

    Sano ran about 50 feet into the outfield to track the popup, and made the catch just as left fielder Eddie Rosario arrived. Rosario slid to avoid a collision, but Sano tripped over him and both fell to the ground. It took a few moments before both players climbed to their feet.

    Manager Paul Molitor admitted he was worried, “a little bit. … The ball kind of goes out into no mans’ land,” he said. “It’s like when Miguel was in the outfield — when there’s a collision factor, usually the other guy’s going to come out on the short end. Thankfully, everybody got up.”

    Molitor didn’t know whether Rosario called for the ball, but said he had to run such a long way, it might not have made a difference.

    “It’s one of those plays where the infielder is going to go until he hears something, and sometimes it’s too late,” he said. “You’ve already committed to making the catch.”

XXX

    Molitor also had high praise for Max Kepler’s diving catch of A.J. Pierzynski’s line drive in the fifth inning, not just the athleticism of it, but the recognition, too.

    “Kepler got a nice jump on that ball,” Molitor said. “[Pierzynski] had a big swing, but it didn’t have a lot of carry,” and Kepler’s quick reaction allowed him to make the catch just above the grass.

    It was a strong defensive game for the Twins all around, actually. Brian Dozier made a couple of nice throws while running away from first base to catch balls hit up the middle. Ervin Santana’s efficient pitching may have had something to do with the defense, Molitor said.

    “It’s been that way for a long time. Defenders like it,” Molitor said. “Your job is to be ready on every pitch, but it helps you get in the flow.”

XXX

    Santana needed only 97 pitches to record his second complete game in his past four starts, the fewest pitches thrown by a Twins pitcher in a nine-inning outing since Carl Pavano shut out the Royals on 95 pitches on Sept. 28, 2011.

    Santana, 1-7 with a 5.10 ERA on June 14, has a 2.02 ERA over his last seven starts, with eight walks and 31 strikeouts.

    “I’m getting better,” he deadpanned.