8/13/2014 6:46 P.M. ET
Gardenhire reflects on Astrodome memories
By Richard Dean / Special to MLB.com
HOUSTON -- As a player, Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire didn't have the luxury of hitting at Minute Maid Park when his Mets played in Houston. Gardenhire played for New York from 1981-85 when the Astros played in the cavernous Astrodome.
The original distances at the Astrodome were 340 feet to left, 406 feet to center and 330 feet to right. And the ball didn't carry in the air conditioned structure.
Even though the deepest part of center field atop Tal's Hill is 436 feet at Minute Maid Park, the carry to the Crawford Boxes in left is only 315 feet. Line drives to left can be home runs.
"This is a really short left field, but still the ball goes," said Gardenhire. "It's different, it's unique, it's got its own little version, and the ball flies. It's not fun but it's quite impressive to see balls go that way because they disappear up [by] the train [over the railroad track].
"It's a cool place because of that. It's total opposite of when I played here, the Astrodome. It was like Yosemite. I hit a ball twice once and it still didn't go out. I hit one of my best bullets here [at the Astrodome] to left field. It was warning track and I was crushed.
"And I wasn't a strong home run hitter, but the old park, it didn't go anywhere. It was really hard to hit home runs for guys like me."
The Astros played at the Astrodome from 1965-99 before moving to Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston in 2000. In 1979, Jose Cruz led the Astros in home runs with only nine.
"That was a big place," said Gardenhire, who made his Major League debut as a player at the Astrodome.
As a teenager from Okmulgee, Okla., the first Major League baseball game Gardenhire attended in person was at the Astrodome.
Gardenhire did remember getting a hit in the Astrodome off the Astros' Nolan Ryan.
"I got a hit off Nolan Ryan here, I know that," said Gardenhire. "A chopper off home plate."
Swarzak in walking boot after spraining right ankle
HOUSTON -- Twins reliever Anthony Swarzak was in a walking boot Wednesday and his status will be re-evaluated on Friday after he sprained his right ankle in Tuesday's game against the Astros.
There is no structural damage on the ankle.
Swarzak hurt his ankle on his final pitch in the eighth inning on a Jose Altuve groundout for the third out.
"I threw a pitch and kind of rotated a little to watch the play behind me, came down on that slide slope of the mound, and it rolled," said Swarzak. "I knew immediately it was pretty serious. Just how it felt when I rolled it and how I felt last night and leading up to this morning.
"It's tough to walk but no broken bones. It's only a matter of time. A re-evaluation on Friday and see where I'm at."
Swarzak could be a candidate for the disabled list. The Twins will activate Ricky Nolasco off the DL. Nolasco is Friday's probable starter.
"We're day to day on that, and we'll have to see where we go with that," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "I know it's a severe ankle sprain and obviously he's not going to pitch for a few days.
"We'll see when we get home. We have a day off tomorrow. See how it comes on Friday, and we'll make a decision on Nolasco. If everything is going good there, we'll activate him and have to make a decision. Swarzak [is] definitely a thought [for the DL] because he's uncertain."
Sitff back may have helped Arcia's two-homer night
HOUSTON -- A stiff back may have contributed to Oswaldo Arcia hitting two home runs on Tuesday against the Astros at Minute Maid Park.
Arcia returned to the Twins lineup on Tuesday after having not played since tweaking his lower back on a swing in his final at-bat on Friday at Oakland.
Arcia has taken a little off his swing. Against the Astros, he wasn't swinging for the fences, even though two made it over. The second-inning solo homer off Collin McHugh went to right field, and the two-run homer in the ninth inning off Mike Foltynewicz went to left field.
"I think this stiff back probably has been a blessing for him because he's cut down on his swing right now and he's been barreling the ball a little better, even in BP," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "He's not swinging as hard and he's seeing that it flies pretty good when he's in control of his swing.
"Maybe it's been helping him a bit, and maybe he'll realize that he doesn't have to take that unbelievable swing to hit the ball out of the ballpark. If he puts a nice swing on it, and he's strong enough that hopefully this will click."
It was Arcia's first two-homer game in the Majors, giving the right fielder 10 home runs for the season. The more controlled swing was beneficial on Tuesday.
"Last night I didn't try to swing too hard, I just wanted to put it in play and I got two homers," said Arcia. "I like hitting in this ballpark. The back is fine. I was ready to play last night."
Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.