Twins manager Paul Molitor said he hopes to have a decision on Bartolo Colon's next outing soon after the very veteran righthander gave up four over 32/3 innings on Thursday for Class AAA Rochester.
"I hope to have that decision in the next 24 to 48 hours," Molitor said, "so we don't have that decision looming into Sunday."
Colon, making his first appearance since June 28 for Atlanta, faced the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs as General Manager Thad Levine looked on from the stands. Molitor on Friday spoke with Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey as well as Red Wings manager Mike Quade as they determine if they can start the four time All-Star and 2005 Cy Young winner on Tuesday against the Yankees..
There was one ball, according to an eyewitness, that should have been caught that turned into a double. But some of the outs were hard hit ones, which the club has to take into consideration as it determines Colon's readiness.
"There was a little bit of rust," Molitor said of the reports he received. "Command as fairly good, maybe not as good as it needs to be for him to be effective at his highest level. But he threw his change up and breaking ball."
If the Twins decide to have Colon make another tuneup start, they will have an interesting decision to make. They could recall Felix Jorge back from Class AA Chattanooga, but he lasted just 22/3 innings on July 7 against the Orioles. Molitor mentioned righthander Dillon Gee, who was signed and called up on June 23 but never pitched. Gee is scheduled to start on Saturday for Rochester. If the Twins needed him, they would either have to limit his pitches or scratch him and bring him to Minnesota.
But it looks like the Twins will know by Sunday if Colon will take the mound against the Yankees.
Joe Mauer worked out in the early afternoon then took batting practice with the team. He appeared to have no problems, and could be in the lineup on Saturday against Houston.
Mauer hasn't played since July 5 because of lower back soreness, and Saturday is the first day he can be activated from the 10-day disabled list.
"Reports coming into town were that he had a good break in terms of returning to good health," Molitor said. "So far, I have seen nothing that has dispelled that. I think he had a good workout early. I'm going to look forward to watching him take some b.p. before the game. I'd be surprised if he's not ready to be active tomorrow."
Since it looked like b.p. went well, Mauer should be in there Saturday.
Now, onto the game.
The Twins have established habits of winning on the road and bouncing back from bad losses. Not bad traits for a team to have.
So while they can rely on recent past performances as they begin a meaty three-game series in Houston, manager Paul Molitor is still interested in seeing how his team responds to this moment. They are coming off of the All-Star break in contention in the A.L. Central and have stated their desire (see Kintzler, Brandon) for paying the Astros back for the three-game demolition of their pitching staff at Target Field back in May.
"The fun part about the game is that everyone is curious," Molitor said. "You get through the first stretch, the first half and there's no crystal ball. There are some teams out there who have overachieved, and whether we're considered to be one of those, that's not for me to decide.
"There's a lot of good storylines, and the great thing about this game is that we get to watch it play out with 30 teams. I think these guys believe themselves to a level where, whatever happens here this series, in the short term, I think we're going to continue to find a way to hang in there."
"But, yeah, I'm curious like everyone else. But I tell the players not to look ahead. I can't do it too much myself."
Hard to look past an offense that was at full throttle before the break. Houston routed Toronto 19-1 on Sunday, and several players are among the leagues offensive leaders in various categories.
"They are a tough team to slow down," Molitor said. "Looking at their numbers, you always get a, 'who's hot,' page, and they are pretty much all on it. And their numbers looks more like American Legion than American League."
And with that, the All-Star break is over. Time for meaningful baseball. Pull up a chair.
Brian Dozier, 2B
Zack Granite, LF
Miguel Sano, 3B
Max Kepler, RF
Robbie Grossman, DH
Kennys Vargas, 1B
Jorge Polanco, SS
Jason Castro, C
Byron Buxton, CF
Jose Berrios, RHP
George Springer, CF
Jose Altuve, 2B
Josh Reddick, RF
Carlos Correa, SS
Brian McCann, C
Carlos Beltran, DH
Yuli Gurruiel, 1B
Marwin Gonzalez, LF
Alex Bregman, 3B
Charlie Morton, RHP