10/05/2004 8:00 PM ET
Notes: Jones in starting lineup
Kubel may start Game 2 against Lieber
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
|Jacque Jones is in the starting lineup for Game 1 of the ALDS in New York. (Ann Heisenfelt/AP)
Jacque Jones homers: 56K | 350K
NEW YORK -- Ron Gardenhire spotted Jacque Jones in the lobby of the team hotel Tuesday morning. Still coping with the death of his father, Jones didn't hesitate to tell his manager how he felt.
"Gardy, I'm ready to play," Jones told the Twins manager.
That was all Gardenhire needed to hear. Jones was written in as Minnesota's starting right fielder, batting second, against the Yankees in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.
"That's a bonus for this baseball team getting him back out there," Gardenhire said.
Although Jones is 2-for-22 (.091) lifetime against Yankees starter Mike Mussina, the club liked having his experience in right field over rookie Jason Kubel. Kubel misplayed a ball hit off the wall by Alex Rodriguez last week at Yankee Stadium.
Jones spent Saturday through Monday in Sacramento, Calif., with his family while handling affairs for his father, Hardy, who died Thursday from cancer. The 29-year-old caught a redeye flight that arrived to New York early Tuesday morning.
After Wednesday's Game 2, Jones will fly back with the team and return to California this Thursday for funeral services. Then it will be another redeye to Minneapolis early Friday morning.
In between that, playoff baseball.
"It's a very difficult time for Jacque right now," Twins Game 2 starter Brad Radke said. "This is what a team is for. We're here for him."
Jones' .254 average this season was 50 points below his total from 2003. He went through a few pronounced slumps this year, including batting .207 in September.
"Maybe (that was) some of the pressure, because he's had to deal with his father being really sick and he worried about that all time," Gardenhire said. "He's been really fighting and struggling through all that. Now he's playing for another reason -- for his father."
"I don't know how I feel, I just want to play," said Jones, who had 24 homers and 80 RBIs in the regular season. "I want to take my mind off things for a while, come out and be with my teammates. They've been supportive. The organization has been supportive. People have rallied around me."
Kubel in Game 2? Gardenhire said he was considering starting Kubel, probably as the DH, for Wednesday's Game 2 against Yankees starter Jon Lieber. The 22-year-old went 3-for-4 last Wednesday against Lieber.
Kubel, called up Aug. 31 from Triple-A Rochester, batted .300 with two homers and seven RBIs in 23 games with Minnesota.
"He's been good," Gardenhire said. "(But) he gets a little anxious and swings a little early in the count a lot."
Not a normal game: Ask Twins pitcher Terry Mulholland how he's doing on any given day, and the response is usually a cheerful, "it's another day in the big leagues." But he knew that wasn't completely accurate.
"Let's face it. We work awfully hard for six months to play for that seventh month," said the 41-year-old Mulholland, participating in his sixth postseason.
With Kyle Lohse still resting from Sunday's start and recovering from a blister on his finger, Mulholland was the lone long relief man available Tuesday. But Gardenhire wasn't ruling out using him in situations when he needs to get a lefty hitter out.
"He can do that," Gardenhire said.
Mulholland last experienced playoff games at Yankee Stadium in 1999 with the Braves.
"It's special to be in any postseason, but on top of that it's Yankee Stadium," said Mulholland, who was 5-9 with a 5.18 ERA as a fifth starter and reliever this season. "I've played postseasons in a lot of stadiums. This one turns it up a notch."
God Bless America: Last year after ALDS Game 2 at New York, Gardenhire inadvertently caused a firestorm for mentioning Irish tenor Ronan Tynan's extended version of "God Bless America" in the seventh inning. He commented that Radke's arm got cold standing out on the mound on a brisk night. The right-hander hit the first batter he faced in the bottom of the seventh, and the Twins eventually lost their lead and that game.
"I didn't know that I would be getting calls from the Third Army Brigade saying that I wasn't American," said Gardenhire, who grew up on Army bases as the son of a career soldier. "I always worry about my pitchers when they sit. ... I tried to say that but it didn't come out [right]. I'm still getting letters."
This year for Games 1 and 2, Gardenhire planned to keep his pitcher in the dugout near a warmer until the song is over. As for himself?
"I'll be on the top step, I guarantee," Gardenhire said.
Roster move: The Twins announced they claimed catcher Corky Miller off waivers from the Reds. Left-handed pitcher Joe Beimel, who posted a 43.20 ERA in three appearances, was designated for assignment.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.