Jake Cave homered in his major league debut for the Twins last month before quickly getting sent back to Class AAA Rochester.
When word came Friday night that the Twins had called up the hot-hitting outfielder again, Cave hurried through airports to be at Target Field for Saturday afternoon’s game against the Angels.
Turns out, he didn’t have to rush.
The Twins waited through a four-hour rain delay before starting the game, but Cave was just glad to be back in a major league clubhouse. A lefthanded hitter, Cave has batted .342 with three home runs in his past 10 games for Rochester.
“The roster stuff I can’t control,” he said. “But I’m hoping I can play hard every day, run the bases well, play outfield well, and swing the bat, and show the organization that I belong here.”
Cave, 25, came to the Twins from the Yankees during spring training in a trade for minor league pitcher Luis Gil.
The Twins first promoted Cave on May 19, and he delivered a home run that night vs. the Brewers. He went 0-for-6 his next two games before heading back to Rochester.
“I was happy to see he went down there and responded, but not surprised by it,” manager Paul Molitor said.
Molitor said the Twins made the roster move — demoting reliever Tyler Duffey and promoting Cave — to give them another lefthanded hitter against a predominantly righthanded Angels bullpen.
Molitor said Cave is “definitely an option to play any of the outfield positions,” noting that the reports on his speed, instincts and route-running have been good.
Solving Sano’s slump
A day after dropping Miguel Sano to seventh in the lineup for the first time in his career, Molitor bumped the slumping slugger to sixth on Saturday.
Sano went 1-for-4 in Friday’s 4-2 loss to the Angels, with a bad-hop, RBI double followed by three more strikeouts. He lined a double in his first at-bat Saturday against Los Angeles lefthander Tyler Skaggs.
Sano ranked in the top seven among AL hitters in strikeouts each of the past two seasons and is striking out at an even higher rate this season. Entering Saturday, he had whiffed in 40.8 percent of his plate appearances, compared to 36.0 and 35.0, respectively, the past two years.
Molitor met briefly with Sano before Friday’s game, explaining the batting order move. Sano’s response was, “No worries, man. You’re the manager,’ ” Molitor said.
Sano, who missed 24 games in May because of a strained hamstring, entered Saturday batting .136 in June (3-for-22) with two walks and 12 strikeouts in 24 plate appearances.
“I just tried to get him understand,” Molitor said, “that [moving him to seventh in the order] was about a combination of trying to give us a different look, and at the same time, giving him a chance to not maybe feel the pressure of the middle of the lineup.”
The Twins announced that because of the long rain delay, anyone holding a ticket to Saturday’s game can exchange it for a ticket to any future Twins home game, subject to availability.
The Twins made a similar gesture after fans sat through 4-hour, 50-minute delay last June 22, before a 9-0 loss to the White Sox. That was the longest weather delay in Twins history.
• Center fielder Byron Buxton (broken toe) worked out on a non-weight-bearing treadmill, and there was hope he could test out the injury with some batting tee work. “Minimal” progress, Molitor noted.
• First baseman Joe Mauer (concussion) took grounders and did some running but was “pretty much status quo,” Molitor said.
• Duffey had three scoreless outings, spanning four innings, before his latest demotion to Rochester. “He was disappointed,” Molitor said. “I wouldn’t have expected anything else.”