The Twins sent August out the door and into the record books with a much needed, 7-6 victory at Chicago on Wednesday.
“August sucked,” said manager Ron Gardenhire, succinctly summing up the team’s 7-21 slog through the month, Minnesota’s worst ever in a non-strike season. The previous low for victories was eight in 1997.
“Too many injuries, too many days not swinging the bat good, too many errors, too many days when I didn’t manage good,” Gardenhire said.
The Twins traveled to Anaheim after the game and were looking forward to a day off in California before starting a three-game series against the Angels on Friday night. It will be the team’s first scheduled day off since Aug. 11, completing a stretch of 19 games and one rainout in 20 days.
“It’s good to have a game like this heading into an off day,” said Joe Mauer, whose RBI double was part of a six-run first inning. “It’s been a long stretch.”
All the longer because of the results: five wins and 14 losses.
MLB Team Report – Minnesota Twins – NOTES, QUOTES
–RHP Joe Nathan declined to waive his right to veto a trade late Tuesday, choosing instead to stay with the Twins for the rest of this year and, he hopes, through 2012.
“Obviously we’re not where we want to be right now,” Nathan said, “but I like it here and would like to be here next season.”
The deadline for teams to add players who can play in the postseason was Wednesday night, so the Twins wanted to gauge their closer’s interest. Players with 10 seasons of major league experience who have five consecutive years with one club can veto any trade, and Nathan would have had to waive that right for the Twins to complete a deal.
A $12.5 million team option would have transferred to any team acquiring him. That meant there was the possibility of committing to a team for 2012, as well.
“I felt like if it had been for just a month, we would have said yes,” he said. “But with the option, I could have ended up anywhere for a whole season.”
–LHP Scott Diamond earned his first major league victory Wednesday, holding the White Sox to three runs on three hits and three walks over six innings. He struck out five in a 7-6 victory at U.S. Cellular Field.
Plucked from Atlanta in last December’s Rule 5 draft, Diamond, 25, has made three starts in two stints with the Twins this season.
“I’m always working for the next one, but this is an unbelievable accomplishment,” Diamond said. “It’s my first win, and like everyone else has been saying, I really couldn’t have done this without the guys on the team. (They) made some great plays behind me.”
–C Joe Mauer picked up his 500th career RBI with a ground-rule double in the first inning Wednesday, though he didn’t know it until after the game. Asked if the accomplishment resonated at all, the three-time AL batting champion said, “Not really. I was excited to get the win. It’s nice, I guess, if I think about it.”
–1B Justin Morneau, who missed his second consecutive game because of concussion symptoms, cannot return to the lineup until he receives clearance from Major League Baseball, even though he has not been placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list.
“We’re not required to put him on the seven-day DL; we are required to keep them informed if a player has concussion symptoms,” trainer Rick McWane said. “They’re aware that he has these symptoms. We’ll keep them informed, and we have to get their clearance before he can play.”
Morneau on Monday had a flare-up of the concussion symptoms that cost him 78 games plus the postseason in 2010, suffering from a headache and what he called “fogginess.” He said Wednesday he felt better than he did Monday, but that he was not fully recovered.
–SS Alexi Casilla won’t be the Twins this weekend in Anaheim as the team initially had hoped, manager Ron Gardenhire said. After aggravating a hamstring injury Monday, Casilla is still in Fort Myers, Fla., working with trainers. He won’t return until after the Class A Fort Myers team ends its season Sunday.
“And whether he’ll be able to play or not, who knows?” Gardenhire said.
–C Joe Mauer played first base Wednesday but not because he couldn’t catch. With Morneau (concussion) and SS Tsuyoshi Nishioka out of the lineup, Gardenhire was “looking around for infielders.” Nishioka was suffering from general soreness after playing consecutive games Monday and Tuesday. He had been out of the lineup for the previous nine games because of an oblique strain.
BY THE NUMBERS: 7-21 — The worst August in team history, completed Wednesday with a 7-6 victory at Chicago.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Any way you look at it, it’s going to be a losing season. For me, that sucks. But it would be good to get one good month in there. I don’t know how much it will carry over, but who knows?” — OF Jason Kubel, on the prospect of finishing strong in September.
MLB Team Report – Minnesota Twins – ROSTER REPORT
–1B Justin Morneau (mild concussion, left shoulder stiffness) did not play Aug. 29-31. He is expected to miss at least a few more games.
–CF Denard Span (migraine symptoms) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 14. He missed two months earlier this season because of a concussion.
–2B Alexi Casilla (strained right hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list July 28. He was activated Aug. 12 but then was placed back on DL Aug. 13 after aggravating the injury. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Fort Myers on Aug. 29, but he was re-injured in that game. He won’t return before Labor Day.
–LHP Francisco Liriano (left posterior shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 26.
–RHP Scott Baker (flexor strain in right arm) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 9. He began a throwing program by playing catch Aug. 23.
–RHP Nick Blackburn (right lateral forearm strain) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 22. An MRI revealed an entrapped nerve caused by inflammation.
RHP Carl Pavano
LHP Brian Duensing
RHP Kevin Slowey
LHP Scott Diamond
RHP Anthony Swarzak
RHP Joe Nathan (closer)
RHP Matt Capps
LHP Phil Dumatrait
RHP Alex Burnett
LHP Jose Mijares
LHP Glen Perkins
RHP Lester Oliveros
1B Justin Morneau
2B Luke Hughes
SS Tsuyoshi Nishioka
3B Danny Valencia
INF/OF Trevor Plouffe
LF Jason Kubel
CF Ben Revere
RF Michael Cuddyer
OF Rene Tosoni
OF Jason Repko