© 2006 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
08/19/06 8:36 PM ET
Notes: Ozzie praises Twins 'piranhas'
Neshek ill before game; Santana's blister isn't going anywhere
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen is known for saying what he thinks, even if it's not always politically correct. So when Guillen decided to give his opinion on what has made the Twins a contender during his pregame media session on Saturday afternoon, it was no surprise that he gave his fair share of colorful answers. "Everybody says the Minnesota Twins are underrated," Guillen said. "My [God], that's a good ballclub." There have been a lot of factors to the Twins' remarkable turnaround in the past two months, but much of their success has been attributed to the team's increase in speed. By adding shortstop Jason Bartlett, outfielder Jason Tyner and moving Nick Punto into an everyday role at third base, there has been a change in the dynamic of the club. "They have three kids they don't even talk about," Guillen said. "Nobody talks about Tyner, 'Ty Cobb' Punto and their shortstop [Bartlett], and they're kicking everybody's [tails], at least my [tail]. And we talk about [Torii] Hunter? The guys that that are kicking our [tails] are the three guys with no names. That's the way it is, man." It's no surprise that Guillen recognized those three players, as they went a combined 6-for-15 against the White Sox on Friday night with three stolen bases, three runs scored and one RBI. Tyner is hitting .500 (8-for-16) against the White Sox so far this season, through Friday night's game. It's enough to make the White Sox skipper want to get out of Minnesota as soon as possible. "Let them go compete against someone else," Guillen said. "The way they pitch, watch out. This team beats you so many ways. You wake up, they look like little piranhas. ... All of a sudden, you wake up, (looking at left arm) you ain't got no meat -- all those little piranhas. A blooper here, a blooper there, beat out a ground ball then the first baseman hits a home run. Then they're up by four. How the [heck] are they up by four? Then you're down four with that pitching staff, that bullpen? Sit down and look at the lineup. Those little piranhas." The speed guys have plagued the White Sox enough that Guillen even brushed off the accomplishments of the more talked about Twins players, such as catcher Joe Mauer and first baseman Justin Morneau. Sure, they have contributed to the club's success, but without the efforts of the speed guys like Punto and Tyner, Guillen said their numbers wouldn't be nearly as good. "People worry about Mauer? All right, he's a good hitter," Guillen said. "But look at the little [guys], they're on base all the time. [Morneau] has  RBIs and nobody talks about that guy. It's Big Papi [David Ortiz]. How does he have all those RBIs? Because of those little piranhas." Almost trouble: The Twins were concerned that they might be without one of their bullpen pitchers for Saturday's game, and it wasn't due to his time on the mound on Friday. Pat Neshek was sidelined for part of batting practice on Saturday afternoon as he was in the training room throwing up. Neshek ate something for lunch that apparently caused him to have a mild case of food poisoning. Luckily for both the Twins and the pitcher, the sickness didn't last long, as Nehsek was able to eat before the game and felt like he was ready to go, if needed. "I'm feeling a lot better," Neshek said. "I guess I just have a fast metabolism (laughs)." Not quite gone: Johan Santana will likely have to deal with the blister that is on his left middle finger for the rest of the season. Santana has been dealing with the split nail and the blister for over three weeks, so the team isn't expecting his performance to suffer any from the injury. The blister occurred after Santana split the nail and lost a quarter of the fingernail to expose the sensitive skin underneath, thus allowing the blister to form. He has been receiving a form of light therapy that helps to harden the skin between his starts, but the training staff and Santana both acknowledged that it will be a factor throughout the rest of the season. "It's feeling better, but it's not going to be 100 percent," Santana said. Still more to come? The Twins' Minor League system has appeared to have been tapped out, with all the additions that the club has made to fill in for its multitude of injuries. That has created some questions as to whether the team will have anyone to use during the annual September callups. But there are still a few possibilities for when the team is able to expand its roster on Sept. 1. One key addition would be a third catcher in either Chris Heintz or Shawn Wooten from Triple-A Rochester, and there are some other guys that Gardenhire feels are possibilities, as well. "We have a lot of the talent up here, believe me," Gardenhire said. "But there are guys down there that can help us, and that's what you need in Triple-A, especially to come up and play roles more than anything else." Twins tidbits: Luis Castillo's option for 2007 was triggered with his plate appearance in the first inning on Saturday night. The plate appearance was No. 501 for Castillo on the season, guaranteeing his option worth $5.75 million for next season. ... Mauer likely won't be in the lineup for the Twins on Sunday. Gardenhire knows that days off will be necessary for Mauer during the rest of the season, and having two straight days with an off-day on Monday can only help. ... Coming into Saturday's game, the Twins bullpen had allowed just two runs in its last 31 innings pitched. Down on the farm: Dave Gassner gave up seven runs on nine hits in just four innings as Triple-A Rochester lost, 9-8, at Syracuse on Friday. Despite Gassner's rough outing, the Red Wings managed to tie up the game before Levale Speigner gave up a run in the bottom of the ninth. ... Doug Deeds recorded his eighth home run of the season, but Double-A New Britain lost, 4-3, at Reading. Nate Blackburn gave up three earned runs on 10 hits over five innings. ... Brock Peterson drove in the only two runs as part of a 1-for-4 night at the plate for Class A Fort Myers in the club's 4-2 loss to Lakeland. ... Eduardo Morlan pitched five scoreless inning while allowing just five hits and striking out six in Class A Beloit's 5-3 win over Clinton. Dan Leatherman picked up his third save of the season in the victory. Coming up: The Twins will close out their 10-game homestand with their series finale against the White Sox on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. CT. The Twins will send Santana (14-5, 3.10) to the mound against Chicago right-hander Javier Vazquez (11-7, 5.13).
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.