Terry Ryan expects to be busy on Friday. He knows his team expects that, too.
The trade deadline arrives at 3 p.m. Friday, and “I think there might be a little bit of a flurry tomorrow,” the Twins general manager said. And he sounded confident that at least one or two of the last-minute deals will involve the Twins.
“I have every intention of trying to improve this club and find a piece here and a piece there,” Ryan said Thursday. “Obviously we haven’t done that yet, but that doesn’t mean we won’t.”
The Twins have been rumored to be bidding on relief pitchers, with shortstop and perhaps catching as secondary targets. And with his team still clinging to a playoff spot, Ryan said he owes it to the roster to deliver some stretch-drive help.
“There’s nobody that’s more sensitive about that than me. They’ve done a hell of a job getting to this point, and we’re in a good position, and now it’s my responsibility to help the cause,” Ryan said. “I’m aware that one correct move by me could help that cause immensely because it’s going to change that attitude in the clubhouse. I don’t want them thinking a white knight is coming around the corner, because it might not be. But it also is a possibility that you don’t have to tinker with this [roster] too much to get us going back in the right direction.”
Because of that, Ryan said he might be more willing to take a risk than under normal circumstances. He said money would not be an issue, and he’s even willing to trade for a “rental” player that could become a free agent in October. And the fact that the Twins will almost certainly have to survive a one-game wild-card playoff won’t give him pause, either. Postseason opportunities are too valuable to pass up.
“I’ve thought about that. I’d take that chance. [If you can] deal right now to get into that postseason — [I’m] sold,” he said. “We’re trying to win this year. … I’ve got to get something done about that.”
San Diego’s Joaquin Benoit and Tampa Bay’s Jake McGee are among the relief pitchers the Twins are rumored to have inquired about. Ryan hinted that most deals he has offered are prospects-for-big leaguers, but gave no details.
“We’re not going to mess around much with this major league team,” Ryan said.
Buxton takes BP
Outfielder Byron Buxton took batting practice on the field, the first time he has done so since straining ligaments in his left thumb in late June. Manager Paul Molitor watched and said he was encouraged.
“It was a really good day for him,” Molitor said. “It seemed like he really hadn’t missed any time. Every swing looked free and pain-free.”
If the thumb remains free of pain Friday, Molitor said, Buxton will head to Fort Myers, Fla., to face live pitching sometime in the next three days or so. A minor league rehab assignment will follow soon thereafter.
• Molitor said he talked to Miguel Sano about his overaggressiveness on the bases Wednesday, when he was twice thrown out trying to stretch a hit. “There’s a time to induce a [cut off of the throw] to insure a run,” he said, “but instinctively, you hope to learn when not to give up an out when it’s not necessary.”
• Trevor Plouffe’s wife, Olivia, gave birth to the couple’s first child, Theodore Winston James Plouffe, late Wednesday. Molitor said he’s not certain when Plouffe will rejoin the team, but guessed it probably won’t be until Saturday, adding, “I would take the three days if I was him, because it’s pretty special.”