Twins manager Paul Molitor on Wednesday met with reliever Glen Perkins to make sure the lefthanded reliever understood how he’s going to be used in the near future.
Perkins entered Tuesday’s game against Cleveland in the eighth inning with runners on first and second and retired three consecutive batters to help the Twins win 3-1. But the All-Star closer is not going to return to his old, ninth-inning role right away.
He did pitch in the ninth in a non-save situation Wednesday, giving up a two-run homer.
“Like all the guys, they want to have a feel of not being surprised when his name gets called,” Molitor said. “I just told him, it’s my job to do the best I can to get the right people to get the outs at the end of a game when we have a chance to be ahead.”
Perkins has a 2.73 ERA and 32 saves but has not been the closer since coming down with back and neck injuries over the past month. Righthander Kevin Jepsen, acquired on July 31 from Tampa Bay, has a 1.88 ERA and eight saves since replacing Perkins.
“It has been a pretty good formula for us for now,” Molitor said of Jepsen closing. “Who’s to say what could happen over the next 12 games?”
Molitor said Perkins was fine with arrangement as the Twins try to chase down Houston for a wild-card playoff spot.
“He wants to see us find ways to win.” Molitor said.
People throughout baseball spent Wednesday mourning the loss of Yankee great Yogi Berra, a three-time MVP and 18-time All-Star who died Tuesday at age 90.
Berra played in 14 World Series during his 18 seasons. He caught the only perfect game in World Series history. But he also served in the Navy and was part of the D-Day invasion.
“He’s a lot bigger and touched a lot more lives than what he did in the game,” Molitor said.
When asked for his favorite Yogi-ism, Molitior recalled a moment at the Leatherstocking Golf Course in Cooperstown, N.Y., a few years ago during Hall of Fame week.
“When Yogi faced about a 60-foot putt and hit it about 30 feet,” Molitor said. “And he said, ‘If I had hit it harder, I would have missed it shorter.’ Hearing that live kind of affirmed a lot of things I had read about him. They are all good.”
Minor league awards
The Twins named Class AA outfielder Max Kepler its minor league player of the year and Class AAA Rochester righthander Jose Berrios its minor league pitcher of the year.
Kepler, who was called up Monday after helping Chattanooga win the Southern League championship, batted .322 with nine home runs and 71 RBI. He was named the league’s Most Valuable Player after leading the league with a .416 on-base percentage and .531 slugging percentage.
Berrios began the season at Chattanooga, going 8-3 with a 3.08 ERA. He moved on to Rochester, where he was 6-2, 2.85. He is the first minor leaguer to be named pitcher of the year in consecutive seasons.
The Torii Awards
There was no red carpet show or no known after-party. It was only the Twins taking their season-long dance party ritual to a new level.
Outfielder Torii Hunter, before Wednesday’s game, handed out awards based on behavior during their postgame victory celebrations. They were called the Torii Awards.
Here are some of the awards:
• Best new dancer: Miguel Sano.
• Lifetime achievement in smoothness: Eddie Rosario.
• Worst dancer in a not-so-supportive role: Mike Pelfrey.
• Best all-around dancer: Shane Robinson.
• Most creepy dance: Perkins.
The Twins celebrate home victories by turning the lights down in the clubhouse, turning on laser lights and fog machines, and making players dance. Hunter believes winning should not be taken lightly, and it’s a way to foster a positive atmosphere.
“I’m glad he’s taken initiative to find a way to celebrate them,” Molitor said.