CLEVELAND – The photo of Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer hugging in the infield Friday night after colliding while Mauer caught a pop-up got noticed by Dozier’s friends, the Twins second baseman said.
“They’re asking me about the ‘bromance,’ ” Dozier said with a laugh Saturday. “Yeah, I’ve seen the picture.”
He just didn’t see Mauer until the last second, as Brett Hayes’ looper came down. “I knew Brian was up the middle, so I was like, ‘I’ve got to get over there,’ ” Mauer said of the play. “I think we called for it at the same time, but I didn’t know he was there.”
Actually, Dozier was considering, for just an instant, allowing the ball to bounce. Hayes’ pop was too low to be ruled an infield fly, and with runners on first and second bases, “it went through my mind to let it go,” Dozier said. “If it had been right at me, I might have tried it. But it was spinning pretty good too, so you’ve got to be careful.”
The 6-5 Mauer, 6 inches taller than the 5-11 Dozier, made the catch for the second out as the players collided, their arms wrapped around each other. “We hugged it out a little bit,” Dozier said, and both laughed at the collision.
A hug wasn’t what Mauer was thinking at the time, though.
“I had flashbacks,” the former Cretin-Derham Hall quarterback said, “of a safety coming in on my blind side.”
A little less fiery
Paul Molitor doesn’t think he’s got a lot of Earl Weaver, or even Ron Gardenhire, in him, but who knows? Replay challenges have mostly taken the nose-to-nose confrontation with umpires out of the game.
“Umpire interaction is minimal now,” said Molitor, who has yet to have a cross word with an umpire since he became manager. “You can create it, I guess, if you really want to.”
It’s not really his style, though, which is a contrast to Gardenhire, who was ejected from 73 games while managing the Twins, including five last year even with the new rules in place.
Would Molitor, who was tossed from three games as a player (twice for throwing his helmet, which might not be ejection-worthy anymore) and three as a coach under Tom Kelly, be a firebrand with umpires if there were no replays?
“It’s hard to say. It’s early, but it would definitely change the dynamics,” said Molitor, who was on the field Friday asking for a ruling about whether the Indians challenged a call quickly enough. “All these times I get to the top step — it’s probably been 20-25 times — I’ve only challenged a handful. But all those times, I’d be out there getting answers.”
Still, he said, “you don’t gain a lot by being too adversarial with them.”
• Third baseman Trevor Plouffe missed Saturday’s game to attend the funeral of his grandfather, Tom Armijo, in Dallas. Plouffe plans to be back in time for Sunday’s game.
• Kohl Stewart, selected fourth overall by the Twins in 2013, has been cleared to pitch, Twins director of minor leagues Brad Steil said, and will start Monday’s game for Class A Fort Myers against Dunedin. The righthander was on the disabled list after experiencing irritation in his pitching elbow, but no structural damage was found.
• Former Twins righthander Anthony Swarzak was designated for assignment by the Indians to make room for starter Bruce Chen. The move came one day after Swarzak retired all six Twins he faced in a relief appearance Friday.
• With the Wild out of the NHL playoffs, will Mauer’s beard — which he called a “playoff beard” because of friends on the team — be next to go? “Not the way we’ve been playing, no way,” Mauer said.