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05/20/08 9:39 PM ET
Gardenhire nearly makes costly error
Manager almost visits mound twice in same at-bat Monday
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is well aware of the rule that a team cannot make two visits to the mound during the same at-bat. It's just that when Juan Rincon appeared well on his way to loading the bases in the 11th inning of Monday night's game against Texas, emotion got the best of Gardenhire. He almost made what would have been a costly mistake. "'Heated' is a good way to put it," Gardenhire said with a laugh. "I just screwed up. I lost my head for a moment." Gardenhire's near-blunder came after Rincon had fallen behind, 2-0, to Ramon Vazquez with one out in the 11th. That's when the skipper charged out of the dugout, heading toward the mound to take Rincon out of the game. Before he got even halfway to the third-base line, however, Gardenhire turned around just as quickly and headed back to the dugout. "I kind of looked at [home-plate umpire Tim Tschida], and he said, 'You can't do that Ron,'" Gardenhire said of the exchange during his momentary memory lapse. I said, 'I know.' Then I turned around and walked back in." Gardenhire's attempted mound visit was not allowed because just prior to the at-bat, pitching coach Rick Anderson had gone out to visit with Rincon. The skipper said that if he had crossed the third-base line, he would have been automatically ejected from the contest and Rincon would have been taken out following the at-bat. Rincon ended up walking Vazquez, and was replaced by right-hander Bobby Korecky. Gardenhire said that he spoke with Rincon after the game about the incident, but did not want to elaborate on what was said between the two. Despite a rough night by the right-hander, Gardenhire said he will continue to turn to Rincon, who has walked a total of six batters over his last three outings (1 1/3 innings). "It comes in spurts," Gardenhire said. "He just has to get a little more consistent. He had two or three good outings. Last night, he was just misfiring a little bit, the same thing as Colorado. We just have to get him back to working ahead and using his breaking ball."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.