ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. — With Joe Nathan headed to the back of the bullpen to fine-tune his pitching and Matt Capps appointed the new closer, there was an opening for a bridge-builder to the ninth inning.
The Twins hope Jim Hoey can fill that role.
Hoey was called up from Class AAA Rochester and will be asked to use his 95-mile-per-hour fastball to set up saves for Capps. Hoey had a 2.70 ERA for the Red Wings, with eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings,
"We want to have another righthander out there for a few of those guys," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Hoey has been powering the ball in there. We know he throws the ball in the mid-90s and we're going to give him a shot."
Even though he has that fastball, what held Hoey back during spring training was his lack of an offspeed pitch. The coaching staff spoke with catcher Steve Holm, who was called up from Rochester on Thursday night and has caught Hoey. Indications are that Hoey worked on an offspeed pitch but gave up some hits with it.
That didn't stop the Twins from making the call. They need someone who can strike out hitters.
To make room for Hoey, the Twins sent righthander Jeff Manship to Rochester. Manship gave up three runs over 3 1/3 innings.Kubel in the corner
Twins outfielders played well the past couple of days. Jason Kubel in particular.
On Saturday, all three outfielders stole a base. Delmon Young was first, followed by Kubel, then Denard Span. Span had to swipe a base after hearing the other two brag about theirs.
"I can handle Delmon talking about it, but when Kube started doing it, I had to [steal]," Span said.
On Sunday, all three outfielders made excellent catches. Jason Repko, subbing for Span in center, made a diving grab of Sean Rodriguez's drive in the second inning, Kubel raced to the wall in right to make a leaping grab of Kelly Shoppach's drive in the fifth. And Young ran in to make a tumbling catch of Felipe Lopez's sinking liner in the eighth.
"They all made just super plays out there today," Gardenhire said.
Kubel stood out because he homered on Sunday for the second consecutive game.
"I just ran a little more today than normal," Kubel said.Concern over farmhand
Paul Bargas, a lefthanded reliever the Twins received in an offseason trade with Colorado for Jose Morales, has been hospitalized at the UCLA Medical Center because of a neurological condition, according to Twins General Manager Bill Smith.
Bargas, 23, reported to minor league camp in March but never worked out or pitched for the Twins. He became ill, and the decision was made to send Bargas to his home in California so he could be there while receiving care at one of the top facilities in the country.
"He is very sick," Smith said.
Bargas was born in Riverside, Calif., and attended California-Riverside. He was 5-4 with a 3.59 ERA for Class A Asheville of the Carolina League.Etc.
• First baseman Justin Morneau missed Sunday's game because of illness but was expected to travel to Baltimore with the team and be available for Monday's game against the Orioles.
• Twins bullpen catcher Rick Stelmaszek, who has been battling eye problems since the offseason, has been cleared to fly to the Twin Cities on Tuesday and will join the club when it returns from its road trip. Stelmaszek has had several surgeries on his right eye since the offseason, one for cataracts and the others for retinal detachment.