SEATTLE — Paul Molitor was standing in the dugout during the fifth inning on Wednesday, when someone in a Twins uniform walked up and introduced himself. I’m Chris Heston, the newcomer said, nice to meet you.
“Then I headed to the bullpen,” Heston said. “Everyone out there was really nice, too.”
Heston didn’t get into the game, but he might tonight. “I’m not going to force it. Yesterday was his normal day to start, so he’s fresh,” said Molitor, who had Heston throw for pitching coach Neil Allen in the bullpen Thursday afternoon, a get-acquainted workout for both. “He’s out there as an extra man in the pen for now, and we’ll see how that goes.”
Heston was on the field before the game talking to several members of the Mariners, the team he pitched for this spring, before being waived last month. He’ll have another reunion this weekend at AT&T Park, where he played during his three seasons with the Giants.
First, the Twins would like to salvage a win here, after suffering a stunning walk-off loss in the bottom of the ninth the night before. Molitor doesn’t believe that loss will have any effect on tonight’s game; the Twins were upbeat in the clubhouse, having put it in the past. They’ll face righthander Christian Bergman, a former Rockie who has never faced the Twins.
“He’s not an overpowering guy. Good movement. He’s got a good two-seam fastball and changeup, he’ll ride the cutter in on lefties a little bit,” Molitor said. “Hopefully we make him work.”
Nelson Cruz’s sore calf has improved, the Mariners say, but he’s out of the lineup for a second night.
Here are the lineups for tonight’s series finale at Safeco Field: