Notes: Sierra fills in for resting White
Mauer gets a day off from catching on 23rd birthday
MINNEAPOLIS -- There was one name notably absent from the Twins lineup on Wednesday -- Rondell White.The Twins designated hitter's problems at the plate have been well-documented, as he has hit only .098 through 13 games so far this season. Despite his struggles, White has continued to start every day with nothing but support from manager Ron Gardenhire. That support from Gardenhire hasn't wavered, as he explained that the decision to give White his first day off of the year had more to do with allowing Ruben Sierra a chance for some at-bats rather than his concern over White's current status at the plate. "Honestly, the hardest part of the decision was taking him out," Gardenhire said of White. "I think he needs to get in there and keep swinging, but you also know you need to use other people here and there, too." Getting Sierra some time in a game was a priority for Gardenhire. Sierra joined the Twins on Tuesday after spending the first part of the year at extended Spring Training in Fort Myers, Fla. The 40-year-old slugger has yet to see any Major League action so far this season, as he played in only three games for the Twins' Class-A Fort Myers club. Despite the lack of playing time for Sierra so far this year, Gardenhire didn't hesitate to put him right back in the mix of things. After switching the order of the lineup on Tuesday by flip-flopping White and Tony Batista, Gardenhire returned to the order he's used most of the season, with the designated hitter in the cleanup spot. "He's been champing at the bit down there in the Minor Leagues trying to get healthy and now, you want him to get in here and feel a part of it," Gardenhire said. "Hopefully he'll put some good swings on the ball for us." The day off didn't seem to bother White. Though he said he would rather play, White understood Gardenhire's desire to get Sierra playing time, as well. "It's always good to have one off every now and then," White said. "I'm still going to do a lot of extra work, a lot of extra hitting and some hitting off the tee. I'm just going to relax and watch the game and root for my teammates." The rest also was made a little easier due to the fact that White snapped an 0-for-9 streak with a single to left in the sixth inning on Tuesday. The single was enough to draw a standing ovation from the 15,787 fans in attendance, which garnered a chuckle from White. "It's funny to get a base hit and you get a standing ovation," White said. "I started thinking about joking around and throwing kisses at them ... it was funny, but it also felt good, just to let me know they are in my corner." Day or night: White wasn't the only change in the lineup as catcher Joe Mauer was given a day off on Wednesday, as well. With a noon game on Thursday following up the night game, Gardenhire knew that he would rest his starting catcher at least one day. The difficult part was deciding which of the days he would give Mauer off. "I think Redmond and [pitcher Kyle] Lohse work well together anyways, and I wanted to get Redmond back in a ballgame, so tonight seemed like a good fit," Gardenhire said. Redmond also remained in the No. 3 hole after his last successful start at the position, going 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. On track: The Twins may have another left-handed option for the bullpen as Dennys Reyes continues to impress those at Triple-A Rochester with his improvements. The left-hander, who competed for one of the bullpen openings during Spring Training, was designated for assignment to Rochester. Reyes has been starting for the Red Wings and in his most recent outing on April 17, he threw six scoreless innings. He gave up only six hits, walked one and struck out four in the outing. Most importantly for Gardenhire and the rest of the Twins staff, Reyes has been able to hold runners on base, which was a concern during Spring Training. "They said he shortened everything up, which is what we were looking for," Gardenhire said. "Now you just bide your time here and see where we're at as we go along." Twins tidbits: Mauer celebrates his 23rd birthday Wednesday. ... Torii Hunter appeared on the "Today Show" Wednesday morning as a part of an ongoing charity series with Al Roker called "Lend a Hand." Hunter helped distribute supplies donated as part of the program to Bolder Options, an early-intervention youth mentoring program based in Minneapolis. Hunter joked with the "Today Show" anchor and gave him a Twins jersey to wear when the charity tour, makes its next stop at Kauffman Stadium on Thursday. ... Through 12 games this season, the Twins starters are 5-7 with a 6.44 ERA. That ERA ranks last in the American League, and only Pittsburgh holds a higher ERA from its starting staff (6.70) in the Majors. Down on the farm: Jason Bartlett was 3-for-4 with an RBI in Triple-A Rochester's 5-3 loss to Norfolk on Tuesday. Bartlett's nine RBIs leads the team and his .340 batting average ranks second. ... Matt Moses and Jose Morales were the only two New Britain players to record a hit in the team's 3-0 loss at Portland. Moses leads the Twins' Double-A affiliate in batting with his .406 average. Coming up: The Twins were scheduled to face Bartolo Colon on Thursday afternoon, but Colon was placed on the DL with inflammation in his right shoulder on Wednesday night. Hector Carrasco will get the start in place of Colon and face off against the Twins' Scott Baker in the 12:10 p.m. CT start.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.