8/17/2014 1:40 P.M. ET
Suzuki gets back-to-back duty against Royals
Twins' catcher employed for matinee after night contest with Milone on mound
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- With his familiarity with left-hander Tommy Milone from their time as teammates with the A's, Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki started behind the plate against the Royals on Sunday afternoon.
Suzuki, who scored the tying run and homered in Saturday night's 4-1 win over the Royals, has worked well with Milone in the past. Suzuki had previously caught Milone 15 times in his career, and Milone posted a 2.99 ERA in those starts.
It gives Suzuki a start in a day game after a night game, but he's scheduled to get a break on Monday with backup catcher Eric Fryer set to catch rookie Trevor May in the series finale.
"We had planned it like this," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They know each other. And then we'll let Fryer catch May tomorrow."
Fryer and May are also familiar with each other, as Fryer caught nine of May's starts at Triple-A Rochester and also caught him in his debut against the A's on Aug. 9. But May struggled in his first career big league start, giving up four runs on three hits and seven walks in just two innings.
May also made a relief appearance on Tuesday against the Astros to help him try to get rid of those jitters. So Gardenhire is hopeful May will pitch more like the way he did at Rochester, where he posted a 2.93 ERA in 17 starts.
"It's another big situation at home against a team that would be in the playoffs so it's not going to get any easier," Gardenhire said. "Hopefully, he'll be able to manage his emotions. He's overthrown so far and hasn't located his fastball so far. All the things he's done well [in the Minors]. So he just has to bring it up to here."
Twins want Schafer to get more playing time
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins want to see what they have in outfielder Jordan Schafer, who was claimed off waivers from the Braves on Aug. 3, so manager Ron Gardenhire said he'll continue to keep penciling him in the lineup.
Schafer, a natural center fielder, has played mostly in the corner outfield so far, making nine appearances in left field and one in right field. But he made his second straight start in center field against the Royals on Sunday with regular center fielder Danny Santana getting a second consecutive start at his natural shortstop position.
Gardenhire has liked what he's seen from Schafer so far, especially his speed on the basepaths, but he wants to see Schafer improve his bunting skills.
Schafer has struggled with bunts, and needed three attempts to get down a sacrifice bunt in Saturday's 4-1 win over the Royals. So Gardenhire said the coaching staff will continue to work with Schafer because he needs to tweak his bunting technique. Schafer has been successful in only six of his 11 sacrifice bunt attempts this season with Atlanta and Minnesota.
"He came over here telling us it's part of his game to be a bunter, but it hasn't been pretty so far," Gardenhire said. "But he did get one down yesterday with two strikes, which was nice. So I think he needs to get a better feel for it. He barrels the ball pretty hard rather than a little bit of touch. I think he's trying to take the ball with him."