Sunday, June 21, 2009

OtB Twins Notes (06.22.09)

It seems that Joe Mauer gave Jason Kubel the flu.  Kubel left in the third inning of Sunday's game vomiting but is expected to be okay for the Milwaukee series starting on Tuesday.    
Tom Powers is convinced that Luis Ayala might be the first to be jettisoned from the roster in 2009.  Ayala had been a pitcher that has seen various results - depending on his locale.  In 19.1 innings of work at the Dome, he has posted a 8/6 K/BB ratio with a .370 batting average against.  Away from Minneapolis, Ayala has thrown 13 innings with a 13/2 K/BB ratio and a .186 batting average against.  Ayala could be very useful over the course of the next nine games while traveling to Milwaukee, St. Louis and Kansas City. 
You love this game, admit it:

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In order to move Jesse Crain down to Rochester, the Twins were forced into a roster move.  The sacrificial lamb in this case was Twin Cities native Ben Hendrickson announces Jim Mandelaro.  Hendrickson's tenure in the Twins organization where he pitched in six games in relief and worked 10.2 innings while walking nine and striking out nine.  After posting a 7.84 ERA, the Twins no longer had use for him in the bullpen.
When it comes to bullpen help from within the system Joe Christensen reiterated what general manager Bill Smith said on the Twins' pre-game show on AM1500 which is that the team could give some serious consideration to right-hander Bobby Keppel.  The 27-year-old has worked in 23 games with three starts at Rochester, throwing 55 innings while posting a pedestrian 28/13 K/BB.  Like Ayala, Keppel is a big contact pitcher and has been getting a ton of groundballs (55 percent) and has plenty of outs converted behind him (.158 average on GB).  Smith will be in Rochester this week to assess the AAA stock and could make a decision quickly as Keppel's contract has an opt-out clause if he does not make the big league team by July 1st.
When you hear about how good Alexi Casilla's numbers are at the plate in Rochester, just write it down and forget it.  Casilla's mental lapses continue to carry on in the minors.  Kelsie Smith reports that Casilla made yet another throwing error on a routine play at second. "That's the part I don't like to hear, but he's swinging the bat better," Manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I like to see him catching all the balls and not hear the routine error thing."  With Nick Punto hitting .450 (9-for-20) and hitting line drives at an unsustainable 38 percent clip since assuming second base, Gardenhire has little incentive to move Casilla back to the Twin Cities...that is until Punto crushed his ribs on a needless head-first slide into first base
I don't weigh in on performance-enhancing drugs or any of the players that so choose to partake in the experience because to me there is so much grey area.  Denard Span, Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer are all recipients of LASIK eye surgery.  Did that enhance their performances?   Not really, its such a commonplace and, not to mention, legal thing that no one really bats an eyelash.  This circumstance is obviously not Jose Canseco injecting Mark McGwire in his buttock in a bathroom stall but Cuddyer's recent cortisone shot to his index finger is another such example of an acceptable use of a steroid.  According to Tom Power's column last week, receiving a shot of cortisone isn't like your average flu shot.  It's like the doctor inserting a metal McDonald's drinking straw into your finger.  Had Cuddyer not taken the cortisone, he would have been certain to miss more games. It is strange how baseball says that you can use this one under this condition but all others are off the table. (Here's Wade Boggs with the opposite stance on the War of Drugs, by the way.  Fueled by High Life.)
(I'm not sure what I just said but I immediately regret the Canseco/McGwire buttock thing.)
Jayson Stark of wrote that the Twins have been telling other teams that Delmon Young is "exceptionally available".  In a recent trip to the Twins Pro Shop in Apple Valley, I took note that the retailer was selling street banners that hung around the Plaza from the 2008 season that included ex-Twins Mike Lamb, Adam Everett, Craig Monroe and one current Twin: Delmon Young.  You decide whether this is sheer coincidence or an ominous sign that Young's days in Minnesota are numbered.
Twinkie Town suggests that Pirates' Freddy Sanchez might be the solution to the Twins production at second base.  At this point, Tommy Herr would be an upgrade at two. 
It did not work as intended by Bill James when he and Theo Epstein introduced a disasterous closer-by-committee to the Red Sox bullpen in 2003, nevertheless the Rochester Red Wings are implementing the same theory at AAA.  Since closer Sean Henn was called up to Minnesota, the Red Wings have been left without a closer so at the end of the games manager Stan Cliburn will use Tim Lahey, Rob Delaney or Juan Morillo to save games at different times says Jim Mandelaro.
Fort Myer Miracle Chris Parmelee, one of the rare heavy artillery hitters in the Twins organization, won the FSL All Star Game Home Run Derby contest
As predicted, the Twins 27th round draft pick, Erik Decker, will remain a Gopher and focus on the gridiron rather than the diamond.
Lastly, I'm Twitting.  Follow me if you think that might me be the kind of thing that you think that you are in to.

Player A = Juan Cruz, Player B = Luis Ayala