Gabriel Moya touched his stomach and laughed. “We’re the same,” he said of his, um, physique, and that of Twins bullpen coach Eddie Guardado. “We’re the same pitching, too. Fearless.”
That’s why his teammates nicknamed Moya “Little Guardado” last fall, and why the lefthander chose it as the name on his back for the annual Players’ Weekend, which started Friday. The Twins are wearing baby-blue jerseys with the original script “Twins” lettering on the front, red caps with the state-of-Minnesota outline around the TC, and player-chosen nicknames on the back.
Not everyone chose to use a nickname. Joe Mauer and Matt Belisle, the oldest players on the roster, stuck to their last names, as did Robbie Grossman, albeit for a different reason. “I worked too hard to get my name on the back of a major league jersey,” Grossman explained, “that I don’t want to wear anything else.”
But some players chose their rather obvious nicknames: Jake “Odo” Odorizzi and Tyler “TA” Austin, for instance. And some made it a tribute, like Max Kepler wearing “Rozycki,” his father’s last name (Kepler is his mother’s name), or Ehire Adrianza wearing “Guarenero,” the name of his hometown in Venezuela.
Matt Magill chose “Goose,” the name of one of the main characters in the movie “Top Gun.” It’s a sentimental choice, since Goose’s flying partner is “Maverick,” which happens to be the name Magill and his wife, Melissa, chose for their infant son who was born Aug. 4.
Manager Paul Molitor chose “Doc,” a nickname given to him by former Brewers teammate Pete Vukovich, though Molitor wouldn’t reveal the reason for the name.
Moya, though, chose to honor his bullpen coach and role model, the Twins Hall of Famer. “Last year when I came here, people said, ‘Hey, you’re not scared when you pitch. Just like Eddie,’ ” Moya explained. “We’re lefthanded and fearless.”
Putting the ball down
X-rays and MRIs haven’t revealed much new information about Ervin Santana’s sore right middle finger, Molitor said, so doctors are still considering what sort of treatment to recommend for the Twins righthander.
This much is certain: He shouldn’t throw a baseball for a while.
“There’s enough lack of extension in that finger that it’s concerning. We have to shut down the throwing,” Molitor said. Santana underwent surgery on the finger in February to remove calcium deposits that bothered him when he gripped a ball, but he has been unable to throw effectively since then.
After Wednesday’s magnetic resonance imaging test, doctors were able to rule out any further surgery.
Santana has made just five starts, with an 8.03 ERA, this season.
Willians Astudillo brought his catching gear with him to Minneapolis on Friday, and this time, he thinks he’ll need it.
Astudillo was called up from Class AAA Rochester to replace Bobby Wilson, who was placed on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle, suffered when he stepped on a bat while backing up first base on Thursday. Wilson was on crutches Friday, though Molitor said doctors found no damage to the bone, ligaments or tendons. Wilson will miss 10 days to two weeks, Molitor said.
That means Astudillo, who played left field, center field, third base, second base and even pitcher — but never his usual position as catcher — during his three weeks with the Twins last month, will finally get behind the plate, perhaps as soon as Saturday, Molitor said.