DETROIT – Who says instant replay would lead to the end of managers being ejected from baseball games? Twins manager Ron Gardenhire on Sunday was tossed for the first time this season — and the 68th time in his career — in the fourth inning.
With the bases loaded and one out, Detroit’s Austin Romine hit a grounder toward shortstop Eduardo Escobar, who looked to start an inning-ending double play. The ball struck the Tigers’ Austin Jackson between second and third. He was called out, and Victor Martinez, who had ran home, was ordered back to third.
Gardenhire popped out of the dugout flashing two fingers. He wanted a second out, believing Jackson stopped a double play on purpose.
“What you are taught as a baserunner in those situations is to screen a defender, and they are saying he didn’t see the ball,” Gardenhire said. “He just took off running. I went and watched the video. He’s looking right at the ball.
“I know what the rule books states, it’s a judgment call and in their opinion … they said he didn’t intentionally let it hit him.”
Gardenhire continued to disagree until crew chief Joe West, who was chilling out at third base, walked over and began jabbering with Gardenhire. After a few moments, Gardenhire was gone.
“My opinion didn’t work,” Gardenhire said. “I ended up in here.”
Kubel to square up
The proliferation of exaggerated shifting has led hitters like the Twins’ Jason Kubel to consider retaliation.
He does have something in mind.
“I’ll be bunting some,” he said.
According to the lefthanded Kubel, he has never bunted for a hit in his entire professional career.
But he notices opposing third basemen shifting to short and see unoccupied territory down the third base line and figures it’s worth a try.
“For a lot of guys who get shifted it’s not a regular part of their repertoire offensively,” bench coach Paul Molitor said. “Even for a guy like Jason it might only be a handful of times all season where it would make sense for him to at least maybe attempt that, maybe on the first pitch or leading off the inning when trailing by a couple runs and needing baserunners. If you have any functionality in your ability to do that, it’s going to be a hit.”
Buxton, Michael on DL
Top prospect Byron Buxton has been placed on the seven-day disabled list at Class A Fort Myers because of a sprained left wrist. Buxton, who missed the first month of the season because of a sprain suffered in a spring training game, apparently aggravated the injury on Thursday while sliding into third base.
The Twins have scheduled an MRI for this week. Buxton, the second overall pick in 2012, was scheduled to start the season at Class AA New Britain before the initial injury and had played five games for Fort Myers before the initial injury.
The Twins also have placed infielder Levi Michael, their first round pick in 2011, on the seven-day DL because of a foot contusion.
• Outfielder Kenny Wilson, who was designated for assignment on Friday to make room on the 40-man roster for Chris Parmelee, was claimed off waivers by Toronto, his original team.
• Josh Willingham, recovering from a broken bone in his left wrist, will take full batting practice Monday, then take batting practice with the team on Tuesday. Those are indications that he’s close to heading out on minor league rehabilitation assignment.