Jake Cave made his manager look smart on Sunday.
The Twins’ spare outfielder entered Sunday’s game in the seventh inning, a defensive replacement for infielder-turned-left-fielder Luis Arraez. An inning later, he was making a play that Arraez might not have, robbing Ronny Rodriguez of an extra-base hit that would have narrowed the Twins’ lead. The ball nearly hit the top of the left-field wall just inside the foul pole, but Cave, stationed about 75 feet away in left-center, leaped and caught it just in time.
“I was running, and I thought, ‘Man, I’m running a long way here.’ And I knew I was close to the corner and to the wall,” Cave said. “I actually thought it had a chance to get out at first, and I might have to make a catch at the top of the wall. But it wasn’t going out, I don’t think. I knew it was going to be pretty close.”
After pulling it down, Cave nonchalantly turned around and began jogging to the dugout, his face giving away nothing.
“Yeah, man, I don’t want to show off too much. I don’t want to show anybody up,” Cave said of his deadpan expression. “I try to keep a straight face when I’m out there, but it’s fun when I get to the dugout.”
So his team has noticed.
“He’s not Joe Cool in the dugout, no. There’s some smiling and he’s got some things to say, which we love,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He has great energy and he’s much appreciated because he’s a fun guy.”
• Eddie Rosario missed his third game in a row Sunday, but Baldelli said he believes the left fielder might avoid another visit to the injury list. “He’ll be available Tuesday, one way or the other. I’m not going to commit one way or the other to him starting in the game or anything like that,” Baldelli said. “He’s doing well.” Rosario suffered a minor hamstring strain Wednesday, but “he could avoid the [injured list],” Baldelli said.
• After a week of playing despite a ruptured tendon in his left wrist, Nelson Cruz said he has had to make no concessions to the injury. “I tape it a little bit more, I guess, but that’s it,” said Cruz, who went 9-for-27 (.333) with a home run, four doubles and seven RBI during the homestand. “It feels good.”
• Lefthander Lewis Thorpe, who threw 25 pitches in the ninth inning Sunday, giving up two runs on three hits, was sent back to Class AAA Rochester after the game.