07/04/11 2:47 PM ET
Gardenhire sticking with Capps as closer
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
Capps allowed four runs to blow his Major League-leading sixth save on Saturday in the Twins' 8-7 loss to the Brewers before being removed with two runners on and one out with Minnesota clinging to a two-run lead in the ninth inning on Sunday.
Gardenhire turned to left-hander Glen Perkins to face Brewers slugger Prince Fielder, and the decision paid off, as Perkins struck out both Fielder and Casey McGehee to preserve the victory and pick up his first career save.
Gardenhire said it wasn't easy lifting Capps, but he insists it had to do with matchups rather than a lack of confidence.
"That was one of the hardest walks I've had to do," Gardenhire said. "I just thought Perkins was hot and was on a roll. I know [Fielder's] numbers against right-handed pitchers and that Capps has done well against him, but this guy kills right-handed pitchers. So I felt I need a lefty in there no matter what."
Capps voiced his frustration with the decision after the game, but Gardenhire said that wasn't exactly a surprise.
"I didn't expect him to be happy," Gardenhire said. "He's a closer. No closer wants to come out of the game."
Gardenhire added that when the situation arises, he'll call on Capps to close it out over Perkins or right-hander Joe Nathan.
"We want to get Capps back out there," he said. "If there's a chance for a save, he'll be in there. ... Cappy is ready to go. Believe me, he's ready to go."
Kubel experiences setback in recovery
MINNEAPOLIS -- Jason Kubel experienced a setback, with discomfort in his sprained left foot, and he is scheduled to fly from Florida to Minnesota on Monday to be re-evaluated on Tuesday, according to trainer Rick McWane.
Kubel left his rehab game with Class A Fort Myers on Thursday after feeling discomfort while playing right field. McWane said that Kubel is not back at a square one, but the team just wants him to be looked at by team doctors because he wasn't going to be playing in any rehab games for a few days anyway.
In other injury news, center fielder Denard Span, on the disabled list with a concussion he sustained on June 3, participated in baseball activities before Monday's game but isn't quite ready to take batting practice outdoors yet.
"Denard had a better day today," McWane said. "He's hitting in the cage, out running around and playing long toss. So he's feeling better."
Span said that the concussion has been tough on him and that he's been surprised by how long it's taken for him to get back to action.
"If you had asked me three, four weeks ago if I'd still be sitting here, not even getting ready to do a rehab assignment, I probably would have told you that I'd be ready by now, or at least closer than I am," Span said.
Manager Ron Gardenhire admitted that it's been tough, as Kubel and Span have both experienced setbacks and are taking longer than expected to return.
"We're not very close with these guys, really," Gardenhire said. "Kubel had a setback, and Span doesn't look like he's real close to doing a whole lot of anything. We just want him to get out there three or four days in a row and feel good. So we just have to take it and go with what we've got and do the best we can."
Young set for first rehab start with Rochester
MINNEAPOLIS -- Delmon Young, on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle, an injury he sustained on June 25, is slated to play in his first rehab game, as a designated hitter, with Triple-A Rochester on Monday night.
Young has recovered from the sprain faster than expected and remains on track to rejoin the team after the All-Star break.
Right-hander Kevin Slowey is scheduled to start with Rochester on Tuesday.
Slowey, who has been on the DL, retroactive to May 21, with a strained abdominal muscle, is expected to throw 60 pitches, according to trainer Rick McWane.
Independence Day, baseball linked for Gardy
MINNEAPOLIS -- Baseball and the Fourth of July have always been intertwined for manager Ron Gardenhire.
"I've been in baseball my whole life, so it's always been part baseball to me," said Gardenhire, who has been in and around professional baseball since he was drafted by the Mets in 1979. "And so to come to [Target Field] with how nice it is, it's really cool. The dome was different, because you're in the bubble, and you couldn't see too much. But this is what it's all about."
The Twins and Rays wore specially designed caps to commemorate the holiday.