Posts Tagged ‘Matt Tolbert’

Twins notebook, 7/17

July 17, 2011 Comments off

Twins put Baker on DL, promote Diamond

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins made a number of roster moves after Sunday’s game, placing Scott Baker on the disabled list, selecting the contract of Scott Diamond, while optioning Matt Tolbert and recalling Chuck James.With Baker having second thoughts about his scheduled start on Monday afternoon, the Twins chose to put him on the 15-day DL, giving the right-hander a few more days to rest his strained right elbow.

“He was really unsure whether he was going to be able to go in this start,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He thought he could pitch, but he didn’t know the ramifications after he pitched, how that would come into play, if he’d be really sore and end up having to miss starts after it.”

In place of Baker, Anthony Swarzak will start the first game of Monday’s doubleheader against the Indians. He was originally scheduled to pitch the nightcap of the twin bill.

Diamond, a lefty who is 4-8 with a 4.70 ERA for Triple-A Rochester this season, will make his Major League debut in Game 2 of the doubleheader.

A 2010 Rule 5 Draft selection by the Twins, Diamond will take the 40-man roster spot once occupied by Eric Hacker.

“We’ll give [Diamond] a chance to kind of regroup, sit around here, see what it’s all about, get a feel for a few more things,” Gardenhire said. “We’re facing the Cleveland Indians and he’s being thrown into a fire here, so we’ll see how he does. He’s a nice-looking young pitcher.”

Baker was scheduled to make his first start since July 5, when he exited the game after just five innings due to a right elbow strain.

Instead, he’ll be on the DL until at least Friday with the move retroactive to July 7.

“He wanted to pitch, but it just wasn’t going to work out,” Gardenhire said. “He was very unsure of how it was going to turn out. You can’t have uncertainty out there.”

Span will stay in center field upon return

MINNEAPOLIS — When he returns from the disabled list, Denard Span will be the Twins center fielder.

When asked if he had given any thought about how the outfield would look when Span returns from the DL after being sidelined for six weeks with a concussion, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he would not take away Span’s starting spot due to the injury.

“Denard’s our center fielder,” Gardenhire said.

“You’re talking about a personality here that feels he belongs in center field, too. You have to weigh a lot of things. He’s earned his right to play center field.”

With Span out, rookie Ben Revere has done an excellent job filling in, both at the plate and in the field.

Gardenhire indicated he would like to keep Revere in the lineup, but would not do so at Span’s expense.

“We’ll just let it play out, see what happens,” Gardenhire said. “If I have to make changes I would — but I’d talk to Denard about that [first] — to keep everybody’s bats in the lineup. We’ve already seen Revere can play right field, too.

“So, if I have to keep his bat in the lineup, which I would love to, it’s not going to be easy, but we’re just going to have to figure it out. Whatever makes us win, whatever makes us go. Right now Ben’s been making us go.”

Gardy, Nishioka let it ride for World Cup

MINNEAPOLIS — With their respective nations squaring off in the FIFA Women’s World Cup final, manager Ron Gardenhire and infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka made a friendly wager on the game.

There is no money riding on the game between the United States and Japan, but the loser of the bet will have to wear a T-shirt of the winner’s choice.

“It’s a very exciting day for both of us,” Gardenhire said. “Our women versus his women. Pretty neat.”

The Twins skipper said he already had a shirt in mind for Nishioka.

“I wish I could trash talk in Japanese right now, ’cause he’d hear it all,” Gardenhire said. “He’s going to have to wear, ‘I love American women.’ I don’t know what he’s got for me.”

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

Walk-off single nets Twins sweep of Padres

June 19, 2011 Comments off

MINNEAPOLIS — An unlikely trio sparked the Twins’ seventh straight win on Sunday.

Entering the game, outfielder Rene Tosoni and third baseman Matt Tolbert had a combined batting average of just .188 (30-for-160). But they delivered back-to-back two-out doubles in the seventh to plate the tying and go-ahead runs.

With the game tied again in the ninth, Drew Butera singled to left, scoring Delmon Young from second base for the 5-4 Twins victory and the three-game sweep of the Padres.

“That’s that ‘Never Die’ attitude,” Butera said. “That’s the way we feel right now. We feel any situation in a game we can come back from.”

Butera, who entered the game batting .169, delivered the walk-off single thanks in large part to Tosoni and Tolbert. If not for Tosoni pinch-hitting for Rene Rivera in the eighth, Butera would never even have been in the game.

With the way things have been going for the Twins lately, it was fitting that a trio with only 50 hits among them on the season would come through in the clutch. What makes it even more impressive is that they did it against Mike Adams and Chad Qualls, two of the toughest relievers in the National League.

Making it even more improbable was the fact that Tosoni would have struck out if Rob Johnson had held on to a foul tip earlier in the at-bat.

“That was a big inning for them … after the error they came up with two clutch hits from guys at the bottom of the order,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “Good things are happening for them, they’re catching breaks and playing well.”

Tosoni said he wanted to make the most of his opportunity, and he did just that as his double went down the line and into the right field corner, scoring Luke Hughes, who had reached on a throwing error two batters earlier.

That at-bat, with the way Tosoni battled Adams, inspired Tolbert to come through with a double of his own.

“Tosoni got me all fired up,” Tolbert said. “Once I saw him hit [that] double, get into scoring position and he tied it up, I was like, ‘OK, now I’ve got to do my part.’

“He came off the bench cold and just battled his butt off.”

But after the Twins had taken the lead in the seventh, lefty reliever Glen Perkins struggled through the eighth, giving up three singles and an intentional walk, with an infield hit tying the game at 4.

Fundamentals came into play on the game-tying hit, as a single between second and first was fielded by Hughes, and Perkins did not get to first in time.

“I think Hughesy didn’t know that Lexi [Alexi Casilla] was playing hard pull,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “He’s got to know that, in the first place. … But still, our pitcher’s got to cover first base, so a couple screwed up plays there.”

Alex Burnett relieved Perkins, tossing a perfect ninth for his second win of the season, and setting up the Twins for a walk-off victory.

Young got things started with an infield single deep in the hole between third and shortstop. After a sacrifice bunt and intentional walk, Butera delivered for the win.

After dishing out a number of shaving cream pies to the face following walk-off hits this season, Butera finally got one in return on Sunday from Hughes, his roommate.

“He got me good,” Butera said. “I had it coming to me, though. I kept getting everybody on the team, so I had it coming to me.”

After flirting with a no-hitter his last time out, Francisco Liriano started strong before a couple bad innings nearly dealt him a loss. Liriano gave up just three runs on eight hits over seven innings for his second straight quality start and his fourth in five starts.

But trouble came for the Twins lefty in the fourth and fifth, when the Padres strung together seven hits and plated three runs. All seven of the hits were singles. For the game, the Padres’ had 11 singles and zero hits for extra bases.

“It was a hard seven innings, the ball was kind of flying all over the place off him,” Gardenhire said. “But to his credit, he hung in there pretty damn good, and he battled.”

Minnesota won for the 14th time in 16 games for their sixth sweep of the season. It was the Twins’ fourth walk-off victory and the second of the homestand, which saw them go 8-1 against the Rangers, White Sox and Padres.

As they head to a pair of National League parks for the first time this season as the hottest team in baseball, the Twins are no longer in last place for the first time since May 8.

“When I was here earlier, I think I was here for two weeks and we won two games, and one of them was the no-hitter with Frankie,” Tosoni said. “It was my first call-up and it was kind of tough because we weren’t winning too many games.

“Now, it’s awesome, [everybody] carrying one another. Winning’s always better, everybody knows that, so it’s been pretty good.”

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

At snowy Target Field, Rays roll past Twins

April 27, 2011 Comments off

MINNEAPOLIS — It was like a winter wonderland Wednesday at Target Field, complete with snow, Santa Claus and Christmas carols.

Baseball is not typically played in snow globe-like conditions and “Let It Snow” usually is not played over the loudspeaker. But none of that stopped the Rays from heating up at the plate and taking the series opener, 8-2, from the Twins.

After having Tuesday’s game postponed until Thursday due to inclement weather, it wasn’t much nicer Wednesday in the Twin Cities. The game time temperature was a chilly 40 degrees, with a 17-mph wind making it feel like it was closer to 30.

“It felt a lot warmer in the first inning,” Rays manager Joe Maddon quipped, referring to his team’s four-run outburst in the opening frame.

Leading off the game, left fielder Sam Fuld crushed a 2-2 fastball deep to right field, barely missing a home run, for an easy double. Designated hitter Johnny Damon followed with a single to center field, plating Fuld and putting the Rays up 1-0 just nine pitches into the game.

That one-two punch of Fuld and Damon at the top of the order has been sparking the Rays lately as they’ve become one of the hottest teams in baseball, and they did it again against lefty Francisco Liriano and the Twins.

Damon was followed by a B.J. Upton double, and they both scored one batter later on Ben Zobrist’s two-run triple. Zobrist then scored on a Sean Rodriguez single. Five batters into the game, Tampa Bay had five hits and four runs on the board, with no outs.

“The bats were hot even though we weren’t yet,” Zobrist said. “It looked like it was tough for both pitchers to kind of get everything going the first inning, fortunately we capitalized on it.”

After Liriano appeared to settle in over the next two innings, he struggled again in the fourth, giving up a leadoff single and walking a pair before being lifted from the game. Liriano finished with seven runs allowed on six hits over three-plus innings, with four walks and four strikeouts.

“I was just leaving the ball up in the zone,” Liriano said of his slow start. “It was a cold night, so it wasn’t fun to pitch. I just couldn’t get comfortable and was making mistakes.”

Liriano’s replacement, right-hander Eric Hacker, did not fair much better, walking in a pair of runs with the bases loaded and giving up a sacrifice fly to center field to Zobrist, which made it 7-1.

Zobrist finished 1-for-4 on the night with three RBIs and a run scored.

Davis struggled in the third and seventh, but was otherwise in command throughout. Scattering seven hits and three walks over 6 2/3 innings, Davis gave up one run in the third on a Jason Kubel single, which scored Matt Tolbert, and another in the seventh on Alexi Casilla’s sacrifice fly.

“He was throwing strikes,” said Twins center fielder Denard Span of Davis. “We fell behind in the early innings and he threw the ball over the plate. In conditions like this, that’s all you want your pitcher to do, just to throw strikes and let the hitters get out.”

The early lead helped Davis out, too. With a four-run cushion before he stepped on the mound, Davis was able to pitch to contact while looking to jam hitters inside.

Davis also was one of the few players on the night not wearing much extra clothing to stay warm. A native of Lake Wales, Fla., pitching in snow was a first for Davis, but he stuck with the short sleeves because that’s what he’s used to wearing.

“I’ve seen snow, never pitched in it before,” Davis said. “I tried it before, and I just don’t feel comfortable with [long sleeves].

“You’ve just got to grind it out.”

Maddon, along with most players, were dressed with just the opposite mindset of Davis. They wore as much clothing as possible, including special hats with ear flaps to keep warm.

Many in attendance embraced the wintry weather.

At least one fan dressed as Santa was sighted in the stands, which was even more appropriate when “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” was heard at one point between innings. Another group, shown both on the television broadcast and the video board at the ballpark, was seen shirtless and enjoying ice cream.

“I loved it, I thought that was appropriate, well-done, well thought out,” Maddon said of the Christmas carols played throughout the game. “My compliments. And also to the fans of the Minnesota Twins. To show up en masse like that, under these circumstances, I really thought that was kind of unbelievable. It indicates what a great fan base they have here.”

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