Posts Tagged ‘Jason Kubel’

Twins notebook, 7/19

July 19, 2011 Comments off

Gardy: No roster move until at least Thursday

MINNEAPOLIS — Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said it would be until Thursday at the earliest before the club makes a roster move to get another position player back.

After bringing up an extra pitcher to help get through Monday’s doubleheader, the Twins will play through at least the next two games with a short bench offensively. Before their series opener with Detroit on Thursday, the Twins could call up an outfielder.

Which outfielder they call up will likely depend on if Jason Kubel is ready to return from the disabled list, where he has been since early June with a sprained left foot.

“I think Thursday would be the first day that [Rene] Tosoni would be eligible,” Gardenhire said. “If it looks like Kubes needs to stay a little longer, we could maybe change it out.”

If he were available now, Tosoni would likely have been recalled on Monday following the doubleheader. But after being optioned on July 10, he has to spend 10 days with Triple-A Rochester, making Tosoni eligible to return on Thursday.

Matt Tolbert, who was optioned to make room for the extra pitcher, will also not be eligible to return until after at least 10 days with the Red Wings.

While Kubel is the preferred option this week, Gardenhire said he would not rush either Kubel or Denard Span back from rehabbing in Rochester. Through two rehab games, Kubel is 1-for-8 with four strikeouts, and Span is 0-for-6 with a strikeout.

“I’d sure like to see [Kubel] swinging better than he is now,” Gardenhire said. “They don’t have return flights, I know that. So, we’ll do the best we can. We’ve got to get [Kubel and Span] swinging, though.”

Injured Twins at various stages of recovery

MINNEAPOLIS — Right-hander Scott Baker’s bullpen session is scheduled for Wednesday, and the Twins will decide on the next step for him based on how it goes.

Twins head trainer Rick McWane said Baker “felt great” throwing long toss on Tuesday.

“After he throws his bullpen, we’ll make a decision on if he needs to go on a rehab,” McWane said.

Right-hander Kevin Slowey (abdominal strain) is scheduled for another rehab start on Wednesday in Rochester, with no pitch limit.

Outfielders Jason Kubel and Denard Span continued to rehab at Triple-A as well, with both scheduled to start on Tuesday night. Kubel was set to DH for nine innings, while Span was expected to play seven innings in center field.

Through two rehab games entering Tuesday, Kubel was hitting 1-for-8 with a double and four strikeouts, while Span was 0-for-6 with a strikeout.

Twins notebook, 7/16

July 16, 2011 Comments off

Gardenhire falls ill, leaves game early

MINNEAPOLIS — Twins manager Ron Gardenhire left Saturday’s game early due to illness, leaving the managerial duties to bench coach Scott Ullger.Gardenhire mentioned before the game that he had been dealing with a viral infection in his esophagus, and that he had spent portions of Friday night’s game in the clubhouse.

Ullger expected the skipper to be back on Sunday after getting some rest.

Nathan replaces Capps as Twins’ closer

MINNEAPOLIS — Joe Nathan is once again the Twins’ closer.

After watching Matt Capps blow his seventh save of the season Friday night, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson decided to make the change.

“To be back in this role is good,” Nathan said. “It’s where I want to be.”

Nathan converted on his first opportunity, tossing a scoreless ninth in Saturday’s 4-3 win over the Royals for his first save since April 8.

Nathan opened the season as the closer, recording saves in each of his first three chances. But after blowing two saves in April against the Rays, the former All-Star relinquished the role.

Capps took over from there, recording 15 saves in 22 chances.

In each of his last four appearances at home, Capps has struggled, blowing two saves and being pulled from two other games before he could do so. While he was not necessarily surprised by the move, Capps admitted he was not happy with being demoted.

“Disappointed is a very good way to put it,” Capps said. “But it is what it is. That’s about all I’m going to say, I guess.”

Gardenhire said Capps would be used in the eighth inning as a setup man for Nathan.

If Nathan is unavailable to close a game, Gardenhire said lefty Glen Perkins could see some chances as well, but Nathan is the Twins’ No. 1 option.

“Perk is going to be a setup guy like Capps, and Nathan’s going to close,” Gardenhire said. “I don’t think we want to start messing with Nathan’s head by screwing around with him if it calls for a save. We just got done telling Nathan he’s in there … so that’s where we’ll go.”

Twins may adjust roster for twin bill

MINNEAPOLIS — With a doubleheader against the Indians on Monday in the middle of a stretch of 19 games in 18 days, the Twins could make a roster move to add an extra pitcher.

Manager Ron Gardenhire said it would depend on who they used in the next two games out of the bullpen, but a roster move was definitely not out of the question.

“We were talking about it, we might make an adjustment here,” Gardenhire said. “It’s a good possibility we might go with an extra pitcher for those two games.”

The biggest issue with making a move is that any position player sent down to make room for another pitcher would not be able to return to the big league club for 10 days.

And if the Twins play the doubleheader with only 12 position players, they would have just a three-man bench and there would be a good chance every one of them would get in one if not both games.

With that in mind, Gardenhire noted that utility man Luke Hughes was the team’s third catcher if needed.

“He’s catching bullpens and doing all those things,” Gardenhire said. “He’s caught before. We’re trying to work our way through it.”

Gardy wants Kubel, Span at full strength

MINNEAPOLIS — Manager Ron Gardenhire wants to see both Denard Span and Jason Kubel get plenty of swings at Triple-A Rochester before they return to the Twins.

Pointing to left fielder Delmon Young as evidence of what an extended rehab assignment can do for a hitter, Gardenhire said that he does not want them to come back unless they’ve shown they’re ready at the plate.

“We’ll go through a week of playing games, see how everything goes with both of them,” Gardenhire said. “Six to 10 games, I want to see them get at least 30 to 45 at-bats.

“If they’re not swinging good after six games and they’re both still scuffling along, we’ll add on. … I can’t afford to bring people up here and let them work their way back into shape here. We have to get ’em ready down there.”

Span is scheduled to play five innings in center field on Sunday for the Red Wings, his first game action since going on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion in early June. Kubel will play nine innings as the designated hitter.

Twins head trainer Rick McWane gave a brief update on the Twins’ injured players, and noted that time off during the All-Star break was a big help for Kubel and his sprained left foot.

“As soon as the break was over, he came back Wednesday and showed a huge improvement running around the outifeld,” McWane said.

Right-hander Kevin Slowey (abdominal strain) is scheduled to pitch again Wednesday, with no pitch count restrictions.

First baseman Justin Morneau continues to do well after having surgery on June 29 to relieve a pinched nerve in his neck, and will be reevaluated on Monday.

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins notebook, 7/15

July 15, 2011 Comments off

Span set to start rehab after concussion

MINNEAPOLIS — After being sidelined for six weeks by a concussion, Twins center fielder Denard Span is scheduled to begin a rehab stint Sunday with Triple-A Rochester.

Span will fly to Rochester Saturday, and be in the Red Wings lineup in center field for Sunday’s game.

“I feel like I have my game face on already,” Span said. “I’m ready to get back to work. I’ve been — I wouldn’t say [on] a vacation because it hasn’t been fun — out for six weeks and it’s been tough. I’m just excited to get back to playing baseball.”

Span said he expected to play five innings Sunday and Monday, and eventually progress to seven innings a game before finally getting to full games in center field.

Now that he has been cleared by Major League Baseball to begin a rehab stint, Span is expected to spend about two weeks in Rochester before returning to the Twins.

Two weeks with the Red Wings could have Span rejoining the Twins during their next road trip out west.

“It’s going to have to be a gradual process with Denard,” Twins head trainer Rick McWane said. “We have to keep in contact with Major League Baseball as far as his progress, and they have to also give us their approval before we activate him.

“It’s still a process with him, but they gave him the OK to go ahead and start playing in games.”

Kubel to DH for Triple-A in rehab stint

MINNEAPOLIS — Twins outfielder Jason Kubel worked out by catching fly balls at Target Field on Friday and is scheduled to resume his rehab Sunday with Triple-A Rochester.

Kubel will join teammate Denard Span in flying out Saturday, and Kubel will be the Red Wings’ designated hitter Sunday.

“It’s been too long,” Kubel said. “I’m finally feeling good enough to do it.

“I know I can get through it now. So we’ll see how it feels at game speed.”

Kubel said his foot is better now than it was when he went down to Class-A Fort Myers to initially begin his rehab last month.

He initially hoped to play Saturday with the Red Wings, but due to the travel schedule, Kubel will not get there until just before game time. Kubel could play in the outfield for Rochester as soon as Monday, and he hopes to be back with the Twins before the end of their current 12-game, 11-day homestand.

“It depends on how he does,” Twins head trainer Rick McWane said. “It’s just going to be a matter of how he feels and how the coaches feel he’s swinging the bat, and we’ll go from there. I think he would like to be back here, but we’re just going to have to wait and see how everything goes.”

Baker, Morneau, Slowey on track for return

MINNEAPOLIS — Right-hander Scott Baker threw a bullpen session Friday with no issues, and is on track to start one of the Twins’ games in Monday’s doubleheader with the Indians.

Baker missed his last scheduled start Sunday before the All-Star break due to a right elbow strain, and was pushed back to Monday to give him more time. With his bullpen session going without any problems, Baker will make his first start in nearly two weeks on Monday.

First baseman Justin Morneau, who had neck surgery June 29 to relieve a pinched nerve, is “doing great” and will be reevaluated after the weekend, Twins head trainer Rick McWane said.

“We’re really happy with the progress he’s made and we’re going to keep that through the weekend,” McWane said. “Monday we’ll look and see where we are and maybe progress a bit.”

Twins right-hander Kevin Slowey (abdominal strain) was scheduled to pitch Friday night in another rehab start for Triple-A Rochester. He was expected to be limited to about 90 pitches.

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins notebook, 7/14

July 14, 2011 Comments off

Span waiting on clearance to take next step

MINNEAPOLIS — Denard Span is ready to begin a rehab assignment soon. But he has to be cleared first by Major League Baseball.

Span, who suffered a concussion on June 3 in Kansas City, said on Thursday that he may have “jumped the gun” a little on Wednesday in saying he was cleared for a rehab assignment. But his doctor did tell him Wednesday he was ready.

“Honestly, I just got out of the doctor [Wednesday], and listening to the doctor, he said, ‘Let’s do a rehab assignment. I think you’re OK with a rehab assignment,'” Span said. “I probably should have waited until I checked with the trainers and everybody else.”

After joining the Twins in Chicago and participating in pre-game workouts, Span saw the doctor in Pittsburgh, who said Span should be OK to begin a rehab assignment.

Span and the Twins are now just waiting to hear back from the league office regarding his clearance, Twins head trainer Rick McWane said.

“It’s probably going to take him a couple days just to get back on the field and start taking batting practice and running around,” McWane said. “Hopefully, in that timeframe, we can get approval and then he’ll be ready to go about the same time we get approval. But I can’t give you a timeframe. I don’t know how long MLB’s going to take for this.”

Span was hesitant to say he felt 100 percent, but said he felt like he was ready.

After suffering the concussion on June 3, Span played three days later, but has not been back since going on the seven-day disabled list on June 9.

Now that he’s feeling better, all that time off has made Span anxious to get back on the field.

“I feel good enough to go out there and try to see if I can play,” Span said. “I want to go out there and play. If I didn’t feel like I was able to push myself, I wouldn’t go.”

Kubel gearing up for rehab stint at Triple-A

MINNEAPOLIS — If everything goes well over the next two days, Jason Kubel hopes to get to Rochester on Saturday for a week of rehab with the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate.

“I’m going to shag some balls first, see how that feels,” Kubel said. “That’s kind of what got me last time.”

Even if he doesn’t get started by Saturday, Kubel said he expected to join the Red Wings sometime in the next week.

Twins head trainer Rick McWane said Kubel got out on the field Wednesday, ran around and “felt great, a lot better than last week.”

Kubel has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 2 with a sprained left foot, and a setback two weeks ago has extended the length of his rehab.

When the injury originally occurred, Kubel did not expect to even go on the DL.

Part of the problem, Kubel said, is that the original injury to the Lisfranc (upper) part of his left foot resulted in him overcompensating and aggravating the plantar fascia area on the bottom of his foot.

“It was both,” Kubel said of when he reinjured his foot. “But the days after that, about five or six days after that, the bottom was about as worse as it’s been in a while.”

Plouffe slated for utility role with Twins

MINNEAPOLIS — Last time he was with the Twins, defensive issues at shortstop played a part in Trevor Plouffe getting sent back to Triple-A Rochester.

Plouffe rejoined the big league club on Thursday, and now that he’s back, Plouffe is going to see time at a number of different positions, with shortstop no longer being his No. 1 option.

“He’s definitely going to play some first base up here, there’s no doubt. He’s going to mix it up,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Definitely there, third, outfield, he’s been playing them all. Short, second, just about anywhere you can run him out there and see what happens if you need him.”

In his most recent Minor League stint, Plouffe played several games in the outfield and, at Gardenhire’s request, was then moved to first base. Plouffe was originally in the lineup at first base Thursday, but with Jim Thome being a late scratch, he was moved to designated hitter.

Plouffe was hitting .313 with 15 home runs and 33 RBIs when the Twins recalled him.

“He’s got his confidence back, and that’s a big part of baseball,” Gardenhire said.

In a brief session with reporters — which was interrupted by Gardenhire to get Plouffe back to finish up his work at first base — Plouffe said the position changes have helped him focus.

“At first, I thought it might take away from it, but when I started moving around I started having a little bit of fun,” Plouffe said. “It’s kind of like I rediscovered baseball, if you will. It was exciting, I didn’t know where I was going to play.”

Morneau cleared to start non-baseball activities

MINNEAPOLIS — Justin Morneau has been cleared to begin non-baseball activities, Twins head trainer Rick McWane said before Thursday’s game against the Royals.

Morneau underwent neck surgery on June 29 to repair a pinched nerve, and is expected to be out until at least mid-August.

“He’s been working out, doing some cardio,” McWane said. “He can do pretty much what he wants to in the weight room and off the field. But he’s not going to throw and swing for about another week or so.”

McWane also gave updates on several other injured Twins.

Kevin Slowey (abdominal strain) is scheduled to start on Friday for Triple-A Rochester. McWane said he expected Slowey to be limited to about 90 pitches.

Scott Baker, who skipped his last start due to a right elbow strain, is scheduled for a bullpen session on Friday afternoon.

“His elbow feels a lot better,” McWane said. “We anticipate him making a start on Monday.”

Thome has been battling a sprained toe on his left foot, and was a late scratch on Thursday afternoon.

McWane said Thome felt better, but wanted to run around and test it out before returning to the lineup. Thome was available to pinch-hit against the Royals.

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Morneau, other injured Twins progressing

July 2, 2011 Comments off

MINNEAPOLIS — Twins first baseman Justin Morneau had the cast removed from his wrist on Friday, and will begin to work on rehabbing it soon.

“He said it felt pretty good,” Twins head trainer Rick McWane said. “He’s going to start some gripping exercises, some range of motion, and start getting the strength back in his forearm.”

Morneau had his left wrist immobilized for 10 days in June, with the hope that it would help heal both his sprained left wrist and the pinched nerve in his neck. Once he decided to have neck surgery this week, the cast was put back on his wrist to give it more time to heal.

McWane also gave updates on the Twins’ other injured players before Saturday’s game.

Right-hander Kevin Slowey (strained oblique) and left fielder Delmon Young (right ankle sprain) will travel on Sunday to Triple-A Rochester. Slowey is scheduled to pitch on Tuesday for the Red Wings and throw 60 pitches. Young will begin a rehab assignment next week.

Outfielder Jason Kubel (left foot sprain), who is on a rehab assignment with Fort Myers, made progress on Saturday, as he felt better running and took batting practice.

“He still has difficulty making cuts,” McWane said. “He’s not scheduled to play in a game, and we will re-evaluate daily.”

Twins notebook, 6/26

June 26, 2011 Comments off

Mauer to start working out at first base

MILWAUKEE — Had they been playing by American League rules, Joe Mauer likely would have been in the Twins lineup on Sunday as the designated hitter.

With DH not an option in the Twins’ final Interleague road game of the season, Mauer was out of the lineup for the day game after Saturday’s night game. And that’s part of the reason why Twins manager Ron Gardenhire would like Mauer to get comfortable at first base.

“Yeah, definitely, if he could play first base, he probably would be playing first base today,” Gardenhire said. “Or third base, or somewhere. That’s why I want to explore all the options we have to keep his bat in the lineup as much as we possibly can, especially when all these people are hurting.”

When the Twins return home after their series with the Brewers, Mauer will put in some work at first base to get comfortable with the new position.

Gardenhire said Mauer is still working his way back behind the plate, but should have more time to get acclimated to first base when the Twins are back home. He also said he’d like to have Mauer work with special assistant to the GM — and former Twins manager — Tom Kelly at first base, but has no plans for that as of yet.

“I’d love to, but I don’t think Joe’s ready for that one,” Gardenhire said. “TK’s as good … as I’ve ever been around, as far as teaching people at first base — absolutely.”

Gardenhire prefers a week’s rehab for Kubel

MILWAUKEE — Twins outfielder Jason Kubel (left foot sprain) is getting close to a rehab stint, and his manager would like it to include as many as seven games.

Ron Gardenhire said Kubel could play as few as four Minor League rehab games, but he’d prefer to see Kubel get about 28 to 30 at-bats over a week of games at either Class A Fort Myers or Triple-A Rochester.

“I’ve seen guys come back with 15 or 20 at-bats, and I just think — you’ve been out a month, 30 at-bats is probably a pretty good thing,” Gardenhire said. “I know we originally talked about four days, but when we get home, I’m going to maybe talk about a little bit more.”

Kubel ran the bases with no issue on Saturday, and was scheduled to do the same on Sunday.

Twins head trainer Rick McWane also gave updates on Denard Span (concussion), Kevin Slowey (abdominal strain) and Delmon Young (right ankle sprain).

McWane said Span was scheduled to work out on Sunday at Target Field and is still slated to be evaluated when the team returns home.

Slowey threw 35 pitches in two innings with no problems on Saturday night, allowing two runs on three hits with four strikeouts for the Fort Myers Miracle. His next outing is scheduled for Wednesday.

“He is going to pitch on the 29th, three to four innings, 50 pitches,” McWane said. “We haven’t decided where he’s going to pitch.”

Young, who left Saturday’s game after injuring his ankle in the fifth inning, will have an MRI on Monday after the Twins return home.

Tosoni doesn’t mind quick turnaround

MILWAUKEE — When he learned that he had been recalled and added to the Twins’ 25-man roster on Saturday, Rene Tosoni had to scramble to get his laundry done. He had only been home four hours, and had plenty to clean before catching a flight at 6 a.m. on Sunday.

Of course, he didn’t mind, since it meant Tosoni would be back with the big league club again just one day after being optioned. Tosoni flew from Milwaukee to Rochester and back, logging just over 1,200 miles in less than 24 hours.

“When I got called up, I was in Columbus, and I’ve been living in hotels since,” Tosoni said. “Traveling kind of sucks, but it’s all right. I’m happy to be here.”

Tosoni didn’t even see anyone with the Red Wings, who were in Syracuse on Saturday before returning home Sunday.

After not getting much sleep Saturday night, Tosoni spent about five hours traveling Sunday morning, leaving Rochester, N.Y., at 6:10 a.m. ET and arriving in Milwaukee at 10:07 a.m. CT.

Said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire: “That trip going down is never as fun as the one coming back.”

Twins ink fourth-round pick Summers

MILWAUKEE — The Twins announced on Sunday that they have signed right-hander Matt Summers, their fourth-round pick out of UC-Irvine.

Summers, the 18th Draft pick signed by the Twins from the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, is the second-highest pick signed behind second-rounder Madison Boer, also a right-hander.

Previously drafted by the Yankees, Summers was the Big West Pitcher of the Year in 2011. He was 11-2 with a 1.72 ERA, striking out 96 batters in 109 2/3 innings in 16 starts. He tossed the fourth no-hitter in school history against Long Beach State.

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.