video thumbnail

Fantasy 411: The 411 crew looks at Nishioka's injury

The Twins are feeling the effects of the loss of second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who has a fracture in his lower left leg, but it has not affected their play.

Catcher Joe Mauer is batting second in the lineup, Luke Hughes was recalled from Triple-A Rochester and Michael Cuddyer is taking ground balls at second base.

The new-look Twins topped the A's on Friday, 2-1. They'll square off again Saturday with Nick Blackburn on the mound against Oakland's Gio Gonzalez.

The question remains. What will the Twins do at second base?

"We'll mix and match at second base," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I want options, and Michael is one of those options. If I can get Michael in at second, it gives [Jason] Kubel and [Jim] Thome in the lineup. It'll create some offense. Michael will play anywhere, and we've talked about it."

Gardenhire likes the idea of Mauer batting second.

"Mauer is a great on-base guy, and it gives [Justin] Morneau a chance to bat in the first inning, too," Gardenhire said. "So he'll get more at-bats this way, as they say. So we'll see."

Gonzalez was wild in his first start against Seattle, throwing just 67 of his 116 pitches for strikes but surrendering just one run in seven innings. He walked four in the game and will be looking to eliminate the free passes. He walked 92 batters in 200 1/3 innings last year. "We've faced two good pitching staffs, and we're facing another one," Gardenhire said. "These guys throw the ball pretty good. So we have to figure out a way to bang the ball around."

As for Blackburn, he pitched well in his first outing, allowing just one earned run over 5 2/3 innings in a win over the Jays.

Athletics: David DeJesus extended his 23-game hitting streak against the Twins on Friday. He boasts a .319 (107-for-335) mark in 83 career games against the Twins, hitting safely in 68 of those contests.

• The A's have lost the first game in each of their three series this season. They are 2-5 at Target Field.

• Josh Willingham has hit safely in five of seven games this season and has struck out at least once in every game. Five of his six hits have been against right-handed pitchers.

Twins: The Twins are off to a good start at home -- again. The club went 53-28 at Target Field last season, the third-best record at home in baseball. They won 18 of 26 series at home.

• Closer Joe Nathan appeared in a home game for the first time since the tie-breaking, 163rd game of 2009. He is 3-for-3 in save opportunities this season.

• The Twins have not scored a run in the first inning this season.

Worth noting
Ryan Sweeney and Landon Powell are the only Oakland players who have yet to start a game, and the A's manager Bob Geren said his goal is still to keep everyone on his 25-man roster active. ... Morneau notched career-hit no. 1,000 Friday and is the 13th player in franchise history to reach the mark. Comments