Twins General Manager Terry Ryan has been talking a lot lately. He was seen on the field before Saturday’s game speaking with manager Paul Molitor and some coaches. And he has been in contact with owner Jim Pohlad.
“Probably more than ever,” Ryan said of his talks with Pohlad.
That’s what happens when you have the worst record in baseball. While Ryan is trying to come up with solutions with Molitor, he is trying to convince Pohlad that he can fix things.
“He’s not happy at all, which he shouldn’t be,” Ryan said, “He has been looking for answers from me, which he should be. And he has been patient, which I appreciate while I’m trying like heck to convince him that we will get this thing going in the right direction.
“There are concerns in ownership, as you would be expecting when you are -31.”
Ryan has tinkered with the roster — the shuttle between Class AAA Rochester and the major league club has been active. Three starters Saturday, outfielders Darin Mastroianni and Robbie Grossman and lefthander Pat Dean, were called up within the past two weeks. The team has used nine different starting pitchers because of injuries or ineffectiveness.
Ryan is expected to keep making more adjustments as the Twins remain desperate for victories. And the trade market should heat up over the next month or so.
“Not too long ago, somebody gets in touch with me and our scouting department and said Robbie Grossman would be OK,” Ryan said. “So we signed him and we were rewarded. These are types of things I need to be doing. We’re in dire straits here. This just isn’t going well at all. So I have to be prepared to change it up and move some pieces. Whether you call it shuffling the deck or shaking it up.
“Some people are calling it panic. I get that, OK. We’re in a mode here where I better be creative enough to do some things to help along the cause. We’re struggling to a point where we haven’t been able to right it. So I’m going to have to do some things.”
It was quite a scene in the first inning when reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson grounded out and was jogging back to the dugout when he appeared to say something to umpire Tony Basner and was ejected.
Donaldson apparently was yelling at the Twins dugout.
“As I was jogging back, something was said to me from the Twins side of the dugout about how I was running to first base,” Donaldson said. “I decided to respond and the next thing I knew, I was getting ejected.”
Donaldson apparently punctuated his statement with an expletive as he jogged by Basner.
“When he went by the home plate umpire he yelled [an expletive],” crew chief Joe West told a pool reporter. “So, the home plate umpire ejected him, and understandably so. Donaldson argued, ‘I wasn’t talking to you.’ But at the time that he did it, he was right in [Basner’s] direction.”
It is not clear who in the Twins dugout got under Donaldson’s skin. “I’m not sure what he said and who it was directed at,” Molitor said, “but it got the umpire’s attention.”
Molitor and the Gophers
Molitor, a former Gophers baseball player, is happy the team clinched the Big Ten title Friday. And he’s especially happy for coach John Anderson, who won his ninth conference title and first since 2010.
“It’s been awhile for John,” Molitor said. “He’s won a lot of them, but there’s been a little bit of a void. It’s good to see, especially under the circumstances.”
Molitor said he has been in contact with Anderson about pitching coach Todd Oakes, who has been battling acute myeloid leukemia, was placed in hospice care this week.
“We have a talked a lot this week, with everything going on,” Molitor said. “It’s been tough. [Winning the conference title] was one of their goals at the outset of the season, then with all the circumstances with Todd, I’m sure they dedicated it to him.”