Monday, April 13, 2009

Twins Notes (04.13.09)

Joe Crede received a lot of attention in US Cellular in his return to Chicago.  After helping the White Sox win the 2005 World Series, the Sox decided to allow Crede to leave through free agency only to watch the third baseman who led them to a championship four years prior sign with their biggest rivals.  In his first plate appearance back at the Cell in a Twins uniform, Crede found himself serenaded by Air Supply's "All Out of Love".  Maybe the cheesy 70's rock inspired the former Sox who deposited a 2-0 pitch from Jose Contreras into the left field bleachers for his 70th home run at the ballpark.  "A lot of fans over there above the dugout were saying, 'That's the last time you're going to get cheered here — just wait 'til you start hitting,'" Crede said. "And it came true."  Coming into Friday's game, Crede was 3-for-16 (with a questionable hit included in that total) and since then he is 0-for-8 with two strikeouts. 
Sox manager Ozzie Guillen had interesting comments towards the Twins' new found third baseman.  According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Guillen said that Crede was "cheap".  The Sox apparently have a ritual that states if the Sox would sweep an opponent, any current Sox that played for the former opponent would have to buy something for the Sox.  Naturally, Crede has never played anywhere but Chicago so he was never subjected to the ritual but Guillen claims that Crede would "always come up with the cheapest [suggestions]."
It took an eternal wait of 252 plate appearances before Delmon Young hit his first home run in 2008.  This year it was just 12 plate appearances before Young smacked a Mark Buehrle 2-0 offering into the left field seats. 
Kelly Thesier informs us that Ron Gardenhire has promised that Brian Buscher will get a start soon.  Buscher has seen action twice so far in 2009 -- a pinch hit walk in the 9th inning of Tuesday night's comeback against the Mariners and a substitute for Justin Morneau on Saturday.  "I told [Buscher], 'Stay with 'em, you'll get in a ballgame pretty soon,'" Gardenhire said. "He's the only guy that I really haven't gotten in a game enough."
Last Wednesday, Mauer reiterated that there would be no timetable for his return while working out in Fort Myers, so the next few days will be a real test for Joe Mauer's back reports La Velle E. Neal.  After running in a pool to alleviate stress on the back, the Twins catcher is finally ready to run on dry land.  Mauer has been taking batting practice and bullpen sessions without experiencing any pain, however, it has been the running that has caused the most discomfort. 
The Star Tribune's Sid Hartman made an altogether not-so-subtle jab at Mauer's durability.  Says Hartman, "Mauer has also missed more than 150 games since his first season in 2004. Mauer missed 124 of those in 2004 when he suffered two different injuries at two different times. He did miss 30 games in 2007, and now he has missed six and likely will miss 25 or so this year."  The ancient columnist continued, adding "On the other hand, Justin Morneau played in all 163 games last year."  Drawing this parallel is like wondering why a person who runs a marathon is a tad more winded than the one who jogged around the block.  Former Giants catcher Bob Brenley once said of catching "By the end of the season, I feel like a used car."  Even Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, who never caught an inning in his life, recognized the strain placed on the body and mind when choosing to squat behind the plate.  Jackson said "Get up. Get down. Get up again. Get down. Come up throwing. Take the chest protector off. Take the shin guards off. Hit. Put them back on. Go back behind the plate and repeat the process. Catching just breaks a man down, inning by inning, game by game, year by year."  Needless to say, the toll taken on the body between first and catching is vast. 
Joe Christensen submits the possibility of the Twins trotting out new uniforms to coincide with the inaugural year at Target Field.  Christensen suggests that the Twins should "[p]ermanently pack away those sleeveless vest alternate home uniforms, once preferred by Livan Hernandez. Or simply burn them."  I'm all for some updates, so long as none of which result in the the 1999's season's Turn Ahead The Clock uniforms

The Pioneer Press's Charley Walters needs to be given a pamphlet on statistical context.  On Saturday the columnist wrote "Mike Redmond is hitting .400 and has been just about everything the Twins could have hoped for while regular catcher Joe Mauer recovers from a back injury." Yes, at the time of publishing, the Twins backup catcher was batting .400 after starting two games and going 2-for-5.  By the end of the day Saturday, Redmond was a .222 hitting catcher.  By sundown on Sunday, Redmond was a .166 hitter after an 0-for-3 night against the White Sox.
Seth Stohs provides game notes for the weekend and updates on the entire organization. 
Nick Nelson gives his take on the three-game series in Chicago. 

Josh Johnson hands out his Game Balls for the Twins this past weekend. 

The Twins will face Jesse Litsch and the Toronto Blue Jays at the Metrodome starting tonight. In four starts against the Twins, Litsch is 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 26 innings pitched with nine strikeouts and four walks.  Delmon Young is 4-for-13 (.308 BA), Morneau is 3-for-10 (.300 BA) and Brendan Harris is 3-for-8 (.375 BA) with a solo home run.