ARLINGTON, Texas – Josh Willingham’s phone didn’t ring Friday. It’s the best news he didn’t get.
“I’m glad it’s over,” Willingham said after the 48-hour window for the Twins and Orioles to work out a trade involving him passed without a deal. “I’m glad I know where I’m going to be.”
Players aren’t notified when they’re on waivers, nor that they’ve been claimed, nor when their name is withdrawn without a trade. All he knows is, “I would have gotten a phone call if I was traded. And I didn’t.”
The lack of news means Willingham cannot be traded until after the season. But the same cannot be said of Justin Morneau, who was not claimed when he was put on waivers early this month, or any other Twin who cleared waivers (which aren’t made public by Major League Baseball).
Saturday night at midnight Eastern time is the deadline for acquiring players who can take part in the postseason, meaning it’s the last day a contender might decide to make an offer on the Twins’ soon-to-be free-agent first baseman. Just as happened as the July trade deadline approached, Morneau has been slumping; he went into Friday’s game with one hit in his previous 23 at-bats. He went through a 4-for-30 drought in July’s final week.
Willingham said the uncertainly hasn’t affected him. “I didn’t pay attention to it. I talked to my wife, and she kept me updated a little bit,” Willingham said. “The bottom line is, I didn’t have any control anyway, so I didn’t worry myself about it. I learned that early in my career.”
Willingham has one more season left on his contract, at a $7 million salary, and said he’ll take the same approach this winter. “I’m going to have a good offseason, get ready for spring,” said the 34-year-old Alabama native, who underwent knee surgery in July. “If I don’t get a phone call, I’ll head to Fort Myers.”
Deduno has MRI
An MRI found “issues” in the labrum and rotator cuff of Samuel Deduno’s pitching shoulder, General Manager Terry Ryan said, and he was put on the disabled list Friday so the Twins could add lefthander Pedro Hernandez to the bullpen while they decide what to do about Deduno’s spot in the rotation.
“There’s some things going on in that shoulder. Whether or not he’s going to be able to take the mound again this year, we’re going to have to wait” to see how he responds to treatment, Ryan said. “At this point of the year, we’re not going to rush him back, not with where we are in the standings.”
Hernandez, called up from Class AA New Britain where he was rehabbing from a sore shoulder of his own, has started seven games for the Twins this year, but “it ain’t Pedro [in the rotation] yet,” Gardenhire said. “He’s in the pen, and we’ll work on Tuesday [Deduno’s next scheduled start] in the next couple of days.”
Show of empathy
Darin Mastroianni was thrilled to get the news Thursday that he had been recalled to the Twins. But his joy was tempered by the reason: Wilkin Ramirez’s season is over.
“I feel bad for him,” Mastroianni said. “Having been through my own leg [injury], I know it’s tough.”
Ramirez fractured the tibia in his left leg, an X-ray revealed, after he fouled a pitch off his shin Thursday. Ryan said the injury probably won’t require surgery.
Mastroianni, meanwhile, was back in the lineup for the first time since April 15, when his sore ankle worsened. It turned out to be a broken bone in his foot.