08/22/10 8:31 PM ET
Twins push Liriano back to Thursday
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
Gardenhire explores bullpen options
MINNEAPOLIS -- With Ron Mahay on the 15-day disabled list due to a strained right shoulder and Glen Perkins having thrown two innings in Saturday's loss to the Angels, the Twins were without an available left-hander in their bullpen for Sunday's contest.Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was asked if there is a certain reliever he'll turn to in situations where he'd normally call on a lefty specialist. He mentioned the team will likely turn to its primary setup options -- Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain and Jon Rauch -- for the late innings and will try as best he can with matchups. "We know our guys that are getting people out," Gardenhire said. "They might have to face a guy that they don't have good numbers against. But teams go without lefties. The Angels, the only lefty in their bullpen is a closer. They've done that a lot of times in the past and there have been other teams too. "If you have that luxury and you have lefties that are good and can get people out, great. But you don't always have to have them." While Perkins isn't available in the lefty specialist role on Sunday, it is a role that he'll now be filling for the Twins. It's not one that Perkins seems perfectly suited for since he has generally fared better against right-handers in his career than lefties (.287 batting average against vs. righties and .325 vs. lefties), but as the only lefty in the 'pen, the Twins will need him to get left-handers out. "That's kind of what his role will be now that the other guys are out," Gardenhire said. "We've had him in this long role, but he's going to have to be used that way and he's going to have to spin the ball." Right-hander Anthony Slama was scheduled to join the Twins before Sunday's contest, giving them an extra reliever.
Twins set to travel to play Central foes
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have three road trips left this season, but the only one that will feature opponents outside of the American League Central is the team's seven-game trip to Texas and Seattle this week.The Twins entered Sunday with a 16-6 record against the AL West, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he's happy that in September, the road trips will all be within his AL Central. "I do like that," Gardenhire said. "I'd rather be playing inside our division. That's where you have a chance to make up ground or distance yourself inside the division. When playing other divisions, you never know what luck of the draw you are going to get out of it. Inside your division, you are familiar with it." The Twins have also proven to be successful against their AL Central foes so far this season as well, holding a 33-18 record within their own division.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire gave shortstop J.J. Hardy a day off on Sunday and started Alexi Casilla in his place. Gardenhire said he plans to give Hardy the occasional day off after playing a couple days due to the soreness that Hardy has been battling in his left wrist. ... Jason Repko got the start in center field in place of Denard Span for Sunday's finale. Gardenhire said the move was just to give Span a day of rest and that right-handers were hitting better off Angels starter Jered Weaver with a .236 average vs. lefties, who have a .208 average. ... Class A Fort Myers infielder Nick Romero has been named the Twins' Minor League Player of the Week ending Aug. 20. Romero, 23, batted .355 (11-for-31) with four doubles and five RBIs in eight games for the Miracle last week.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.