7/25/2013 9:44 P.M. ET
Gardenhire reaches out to ailing Wedge
By Jacob Thorpe / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- A few hours before the Twins faced the Mariners on Thursday, Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire sent a text message to his counterpart for Seattle, Eric Wedge, who will miss at least the next 10 games after suffering a mild stroke on Monday.
"I just sent a text to him to make sure he was OK ... It's a band of brothers here, so you're always thinking about each other when this stuff happens. [I'm] very concerned about him and I'm glad he's doing OK and better."
Gardenhire knows all too well the challenges a club faces when the manager is physically unable to be with the team. The Twins' skipper skipped Saturday's game last week and was relegated to the clubhouse on Sunday while battling the flu.
"I kind of know firsthand, I've been sick a couple times myself," Gardenhire said. "It's a stressful job and you do a lot of thinking about it and a lot of worrying about it. You try to do the right things. There are a lot more stressful jobs than ours, but definitely pay attention to your health."
While watching his team take batting practice from the home dugout before their game against the Indians on Monday, Wedge became suddenly ill and needed a player's help to retire to the clubhouse, where he was examined by team doctors. He spent the next two nights in the hospital while doctors performed a series of tests, before it was determined he had suffered from a mild stroke.
Herrmann taking advantage of Mauer's absence
SEATTLE -- With Joe Mauer taking a brief paternity leave from the Twins to spend time with some newborn twins of his own, backup catchers Chris Herrmann and Drew Butera have each benefited from the veteran's absence. Herrmann was recalled from Triple-A on the 19th, and Butera came up from Rochester on Wednesday.
Herrmann has started three of the team's past four games, highlighted by a three-hit performance on Tuesday that included his first career grand slam. In 10 Major League games this season, the 25-year-old is hitting .346 with a pair of homers.
"I had an opportunity last year and I didn't really establish myself well," Herrmann said. "This time around, I've really focused more. I've taken it a lot more seriously like I should have last year. That's really helping me out a lot, down the road I'm going to look back at this moment and it's going to be something I'll never forget."
Butera has seen part-time action in each of the past three seasons, and made his first Major League appearance of the 2013 season in the Twins' 8-0 loss to the Mariners on Tuesday. After subbing in for Herrmann in the seventh inning, Butera flied out to center field in his only at-bat.
"It's nice," Butera said. "I enjoy putting on a big league uniform again. It's something that I've worked for my whole life, and it's good to be back with the guys."
In 25 Triple-A games this season as the third-string catcher, Butera hit .215. In his three extended Major League appearances the 29-year-old has never hit above .200. Still, the catcher isn't fretting over his performance when he gets into a game.
"I think if you put added pressure on yourself, it's hard enough to play the game alone," Drew said. "If you put more pressure on yourself to overperform or do something that you're not capable of -- that's when things start going wrong. I'm just going to do the best I can when I get called upon and take it from there."
• Minnesota has turned 118 double plays -- the most of any Major League team this year.
• In their last eight road starts the Twins starting rotation hasn't allowed more than three runs, going 3-2 with a 2.76 ERA in those starts.
Jacob Thorpe is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.