05/13/12 7:05 PM ET
Bullpen a bright spot in Twins' slow start
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
Twins relievers have combined for a 3.49 ERA in 111 innings entering Sunday's game against the Blue Jays. The 3.49 ERA ranks as the 12th-best mark in the Majors.
The bullpen has been so good that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that he's finding it tough to send a reliever down despite having 13 pitchers on the staff.
"They've been fantastic," Gardenhire said. "We've been talking about it all morning. We had some meetings about how to get down to 12 pitchers and get another position player, but if you look at our bullpen, there's no one deserving of going anywhere. They're all throwing the ball fantastic."
Pavano's MRI reveals only inflammation
MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Carl Pavano had an MRI on his right shoulder, but it revealed only inflammation in the front of his shoulder, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Sunday.
The MRI was done for precautionary reasons, as Pavano's velocity has dipped this season. His fastball is averaging 86.6 mph after averaging 89 mph last season, according to FanGraphs.com.
Pavano is still slated to make his scheduled start against the Indians on Monday at Target Field.
"They did a precautionary MRI on him because of his velocity, but everything checked out fantastic," Gardenhire said. "He has a little inflammation, but that's it. The MRI was very positive, so now mechanically it's maybe about getting a little more turn and rotation."
Pavano, though, said that he'll still have the results of the MRI sent to Dr. David Altchek in New York for a second opinion, just to be safe. He also hinted he could get a cortisone shot next weekend.
"I've been trying to stretch it out and strengthen it," Pavano said. "I haven't really gotten a protocol of what to do, other than after my start in Milwaukee I'll probably take a cortisone shot and see if that clears it up. It hasn't gotten worse, it just hasn't gotten better."
Pavano, 36, has a 5.02 ERA in seven starts this season after posting a 4.30 ERA in 33 outings last year.
The Twins have stretched out relievers Brian Duensing and Anthony Swarzak in case they're needed to join the rotation.
Dozier sending pink cleats, ball to mother
MINNEAPOLIS -- Before the Twins played the Blue Jays on Sunday morning, Brian Dozier called the local florist in his hometown of Fulton, Miss., to order his mom flowers for Mother's Day.
But he couldn't get through to the florist, so he thought he'd have to settle with just getting her a new pair of shoes for the holiday.
Instead, Dozier was able to get her a few more gifts, as he hit his first career home run in the Twins' 4-3 win over the Blue Jays. And he did it while wearing pink cleats to help raise awareness for breast cancer because he lost his grandmother to the disease.
So Dozier said he'll send both the cleats and the ball to his mom as special Mother's Day gifts.
"She's the best in the world," said Dozier, who exchanged two signed balls and batting gloves with a fan for the home run ball. "My grandmother actually died of breast cancer a few years ago, so I was out there rocking the pink cleats. But also my mom and my whole family was watching at home. I love my mom and she's the best."
Dozier wasn't the only Twins player to use pink gear, as Denard Span, Josh Willingham and Jamey Carroll used special pink bats.
They were three of hundreds of MLB players who used pink bats made by Louisville Slugger, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball, stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo.
To further demonstrate their support for the breast cancer cause, players and on-field personnel also wore the symbolic pink ribbon on their uniforms, along with pink wrist bands.
Those pink bats used in games and signed by teams are also authenticated by MLB and then presented exclusively at the MLB.com Auction site at a later date to raise additional funds for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he certainly supports the cause, and was happy to see so many of his players use pink bats and wristbands to raise awareness.
"Our wives end up raising our kids because we're gone so much," Gardenhire said. "You look back at being the soccer mom and being the baseball mom and being the track mom. Taking the kids everywhere and taking them to school. They do everything while we're out here chasing baseball around. So they mean everything."
Rehabbing Morneau to join Twins on road trip
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins designated hitter Justin Morneau continued to rehab his sore left wrist on Sunday, taking swings in the cage for the second straight day.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said there's still no target date for Morneau's return, but that he'll join the club on its eight-game road trip that begins on Wednesday in Detroit. Morneau is on the disabled list retroactive to May 1, so he's eligible to come off on Wednesday.
"We're waiting on the Morneau situation to evolve," Gardenhire said. "He's continuing to do his work. He's doing his drills and taking some swings and he'll progress each day. He'll let us know how it goes. Wednesday, he'll come with us, whether he's ready or not ready."
Gardenhire said he expects to play Joe Mauer plenty at first base in Morneau's absence, as Chris Parmelee has struggled recently. Mauer started at first base on Sunday with Drew Butera getting the start behind the plate.
"I told Joe he's going to play a lot of first base until we get Mornie back," Gardenhire said. "So we'll see what happens. But Joe said he'll play anywhere."