Friday, July 16, 2004

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Whew! The Twins returned to action Thursday night in Kansas City, and already we have a bunch of interesting stories and breaking developments to discuss. In fact, the least noteworthy of these was the Twins’ 3-1 loss to Wunderkid Zack Greinke and the punchless Royals. More on that a little later, but let’s instead focus first on the really big news.

Doug Mientkietkiewicz placed on 15-day DL; Justin Morneau recalled

I only have one thing to say about this move: it’s about frickin’ time. Every baseball insider and their brother has been scratching their heads for the past two months as to why the Twins persisted in keeping Morneau at AAA. Your team can’t score runs? Your starting first basemen is hitting .220 with 2 homers? The game’s best first base prospect is tearing it up on your AAA team for the second consecutive season? Hmmm, now there’s a real stumper.

Seriously, I believe this is the last time that Morneau will ever have to be recalled from AAA for the rest of his baseball career. He is ready to hit big league pitching now, and if he shows absolutely ANYTHING in this, his second big league trial of the year, the Twins will undoubtedly keep him with the big club when Dougie Baseball comes off the DL. Jose Offerman outlived his usefulness long ago and soon he will have outlived his 25-man roster spot as well. It looks like the current plan calls for Morneau and LeCroy to platoon at 1B and DH, with LeCroy also seeing some time behind the plate because…

Joe Mauer undergoes MRI after knee inflammation is discovered; listed as day-to-day

Now, I know many Twins fans will react to this news by blurting out a stream of expletives (I know I almost did), but hold on—this isn’t as bad as it sounds. According to Mauer and his doctors (click on the above link), this is simply Mauer’s body telling him to take things slowly. Gardy had been catching Mauer pretty extensively before the break, up to four games in a row, and it seems he wasn’t quite ready for that. While Mauer’s season-opening injury (and this recent setback) probably doesn’t pose a serious long-term threat to his catching days, it does have some consequences for the remainder of this season. Once he is able to return to action, the team will probably give him a day off once every two or three days, which means we will be seeing a whole lot more of Henry (formerly “Babe”) Blanco and his .191 batting average. In the meantime, Mauer will be able to pinch-hit, as he did on Thursday.

If you still have some questions/concerns about Joe and his meniscus, I highly encourage you to check out this link, courtesy of jan over at the DTFC. From what information I’m able to gather, once the body becomes used to life without the meniscus it can function quite normally, but that reclamation process takes time and healing—two things that are tough to come by in the middle of a pennant race.

Shannon Stewart collects 2 hits fresh of a two-month stint on the DL

This is the one bit of good news to come out of Thursday. Stewart looked good in his debut, collecting two singles, which is highly encouraging. Unfortunately, it didn’t help out the Twins’ morbid offense, which looked pretty helpless against Greinke. I’m willing to throw this game out because I have been really impressed by the poise and stuff of Greinke. He is going to be a very good pitcher in this league for a long time, and he’s also the perfect type of pitcher to face the Twins’ undisciplined hitters. He has good control and is able to get hitters to swing at “pitcher’s pitches”, an approach the Twins are especially susceptible to. Hopefully tomorrow Radke will pitch better than Lohse did today and the Twins can score some runs for him off the Royals’ Darrel May.

That’s the Twins Chatter I’ve got for you today. There is plenty of ammunition for discussion here, and I’ll probably have reason to expand upon these topics and more in the coming days. In the meantime, feel free to drop a comment below or e-mail me at Have a good one.