10/06/2004 7:48 PM ET
Notes: Santana likely for Game 4
Rivas' elbow worsens; Mauer close to hitting
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
|Johan Santana blanked the Yankees in his Game 1 start on Tuesday. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
NEW YORK -- The Twins' ALDS rotation will remain a trio.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he expected to have Game 1 winner Johan Santana return on three days' rest for a Saturday Game 4 -- no matter where the series stands. Game 2 starter Brad Radke would then return for Game 5, if necessary.
Gardenhire had suggested recently that right-hander Kyle Lohse would start Game 4 at the Metrodome if the Twins were leading, and only Santana if they were trailing. Now he wants to leave nothing to chance.
"We'll see how he's feeling," Gardenhire said of Santana. "I'd imagine he'd be fired up. He'd be our best chance to win unless he tells me he just doesn't feel right. Then we'd make the adjustment and it'll be Lohse."
Santana, who worked seven scoreless innings in Tuesday's 2-0 win over New York, has never pitched on three days of rest. But he threw 93 pitches, which is not an overwhelming total for a starter.
"I'm fine," Santana said on the field Wednesday.
Fine enough to start Game 4?
"Believe it," he said -- a phrase he often uses.
Returning a starting pitcher to the mound on short rest in the playoffs has often backfired for managers historically. According to Elias Sports Bureau, pitchers on short rest are 7-20 with an ERA near 6.00 in the last five postseasons (38 total starts).
Even though he had 228 regular season innings logged, Gardenhire wasn't concerned about Santana's arm.
"We don't have a history with Santana because he's never done it," Gardenhire said. "We'll make one. I'm always trying to protect a pitcher, but you know what? Those are our best two pitchers and if you have a chance to use them twice in a series, that's what you're supposed to do."
If the Twins advance, Lohse would likely be needed to start in the American League Championship Series. Was he disappointed he probably won't get a start in the ALDS?
"Not if we win," said Lohse, who was still available from the bullpen. "I'm just ready to throw any day. I don't care."
Rivas sore: The Twins are concerned about second baseman Luis Rivas, who reported more soreness in his right elbow. So much so, that the club is exploring its roster options.
Rivas, who has been playing with bone chips recently, entered Game 1 as a defensive replacement and had to make a hard throw to complete a Bernie Williams double play in the eighth inning. Gardenhire planned to start Rivas in Friday's Game 3 for extra defense with ground-ball pitcher Carlos Silva starting.
"Now it's in jeopardy because he's sore," Gardenhire said. "I'll really have to limit what I do with him. If we get through this first round, we'll have to really look at that pretty hard."
Michael Cuddyer started Games 1 and 2 at second base. If the Twins need late-inning defense and can't use Rivas, they have utility infielder Augie Ojeda.
Mauer update: If Rivas is shelved for the ALCS, rookie Joe Mauer could be a potential roster replacement. Mauer completed more drills, ran the bases and practiced sliding.
The 21-year-old will have his injured left knee looked at by a doctor. If Mauer gets the green light, he could head to Florida for instructional league games before the weekend.
"There's not much more he can do other than hit off live pitching," Gardenhire said.
Kubel at DH: As expected, 22-year-old rookie Jason Kubel was added to the Twins' Game 2 starting lineup as the designated hitter for Lew Ford. Last week vs. the Yankees' Game 2 starter Jon Lieber, Kubel went 3-for-4.
It's been quite a year for Kubel, who began the season at Double-A New Britain before earning two promotions.
"I thought I'd be in Double-A all year long and just ride out the season and watch (the playoffs) at home right now," Kubel said. "But it's been a fun, long year. I want to keep it going."
Kubel batted .377 at New Britain before hitting .343 with 16 homers in 90 games at Triple-A Rochester. In 23 games since his Aug. 31 big league callup, he batted .300.
"At least he doesn't have to run out there to the outfield and listen to (fans) talk about his family," Gardenhire said. "He's just going to be in there hitting. That's something he has a lot of confidence that he can do."
Wanting momentum: A few Twins expressed relief that Game 2 was played just one night following Tuesday's Game 1 victory. After taking Game 1 from the Yankees in the 2003 ALDS, there was a day off before returning for Game 2. Minnesota lost the next three games.
"I think we got a little excited on the first day and had that day off," Twins center fielder Torii Hunter said. "We lost all our fire."
"This is a tough place to have a day off," Gardenhire said. "There's so much going on. You can't go out and walk around because everybody surrounds you."
First pitches: The Twins are calling in a couple of Hall of Fame stars of their past when the ALDS reaches the Metrodome. Former Twins great Harmon Killebrew will throw the ceremonial first pitch before Game 3 on Friday.
St. Paul native and 2004 Hall of Fame inductee Paul Molitor will throw the first pitch before Game 4.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.