10/01/12 11:46 PM ET
Twins starters get a breather on Monday
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
The Twins rested first baseman Justin Morneau, center fielder Denard Span and designated hitter Ryan Doumit to give younger players a chance to play against Toronto.
Chris Parmelee got the start at first base, with Chris Herrmann starting in left field and Matt Carson in right field. Joe Mauer also started at DH, with Drew Butera at catcher.
"We want to get some guys in there a chance to get some swings," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We wanted to give guys like Morneau and Doumit a break. They've been playing every day. And Span. And let some of these kids have a chance. It's fun."
Morneau will not start in final two games
TORONTO -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire announced after Monday's 5-4 loss to the Blue Jays that Justin Morneau will be shut down for the final two games of the season, unless he's needed in an emergency situation.
Morneau said he's physically worn down after playing in 134 games, which is the most he's played in since playing in 135 in 2009. But he added that it wasn't his decision, as he enjoys playing in his native Canada.
"I think it's more of the manager protecting his player than anything," Morneau said. "I made it through the year, and I'm just trying to get through the last couple days and get into the offseason and look forward to next year. If there's an emergency he can use me, so I'm not shutting it off yet."
Morneau, 31, bounced back after an injury-plagued 2011 campaign that saw him have surgery on his neck, left wrist, left knee and right foot.
If he doesn't make an appearance as a pinch-hitter he'll finish the year with a .267 average, .333 on-base percentage and .440 slugging percentage, with 19 homers and 77 RBIs. But he hit just .236 with two homers in September and said it was time to heal up, especially with regards to his left wrist.
"Everything that was surgically repaired, like the wrist, has worn down over the course of the season," Morneau said. "So it's just one of those things where we don't want to take any steps backward."
Willingham probably done for the season
TORONTO -- Left fielder Josh Willingham was out of the lineup for a sixth straight game on Monday because of a sprained left shoulder, and is likely to miss the final two games of the season as well.
Willingham, who injured his shoulder trying to make a leaping catch in left field on Sept. 24, is still having trouble swinging the bat.
"He can't reach up with his left arm or finish his swing with his left arm, so in my opinion he probably won't be in there the rest of the way," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "But I'm just guessing. I don't want to say he's out for the year because he hasn't told me, and the trainers haven't told me."
Twins general manager Terry Ryan also wouldn't fully confirm that Willingham will be out the last two games of the season, but said it's likely he won't play.
"It's pretty much up to Josh," Ryan said. "He has been day to day and he still is day to day, and we're running out of days."
Swarzak tapped to start on Tuesday in Toronto
TORONTO -- The Twins named right-hander Anthony Swarzak their starting pitcher for Tuesday's game against the Blue Jays.
The Twins needed a starter with right-hander Samuel Deduno out with left eye irritation, and decided to go with Swarzak over left-hander Brian Duensing.
"Swarzak is starting," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We didn't have to use him yesterday, so he's the most rested. So we'll run him out there and however innings it takes, and then we'll ad-lib from there."
Swarzak, 27, last pitched on Wednesday against the Yankees, when he gave up two runs on three hits over 3 1/3 innings.
He has a 4.91 ERA on the season, with an 8.35 ERA in 18 1/3 innings as a starter and a 4.05 ERA in 73 1/3 innings as a reliever. Gardenhire, though, said the club still could look to Swarzak to be part of the rotation next year.
"It depends on who we have going into Spring Training," Gardenhire said. "Everything will be worked out once we get there. He's done well in the long role."