Mike Berardino / St. Paul Pioneer Press
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Twins have begun experimenting with "bullpenning" in their minor league system. After journeyman lefty Paco Rodriguez made a pair of brief starts in recent days at Double-A Chattanooga, Trevor May served as "the opener" and was pulled after the first inning Sunday for Triple-A Rochester. May worked a scoreless first on 22 pitches, then turned things over to right-hander Zack Littell for the next 5 2/3 innings in a 9-5 loss to Norfolk. Pete Maki, the Twins' first-year minor league pitching coordinator, was on hand to see how it worked.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The last time Adalberto Mejia pitched in the majors, on June 30 at Wrigley Field, four players had to leave the game to receive intravenous fluids. Temperatures rose to 96 degrees during the game with a heat index of 107, as Mejia was chased after just four innings and 79 pitches in a loss to the Chicago Cubs. "Tough day to gauge somebody," Twins manager Paul Molitor said Saturday, July 21.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Fort Myers portion of Miguel Sano's reboot is over. Sano was promoted to Triple-A Rochester on Friday, July 20, after spending the past four days back home in the Dominican Republic, where he was visiting his mother as part of a team-excused absence. "I haven't spoken to him since he returned yet," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I just know she's dealing with some things and he wanted to get down there, which was the right thing."
ST. PAUL—Before heading out with his wife, Renee, for a few days chasing redfish and trout at a fishing camp south of New Orleans, Brian Dozier delivered an impassioned public plea to keep these Twins together. "We play 162 (games) for a reason," said the second baseman and de facto club spokesman. "I've learned throughout my seven-year career, you can't play the game of baseball in three weeks or three months or the first half/second half. That's not the way it's built."
MINNEAPOLIS—That wasn't inspired managing when Paul Molitor sent closer Fernando Rodney in to bail rookie Fernando Romero out of a fifth-inning jam on Sunday, July 15. It was Molitor making the best of Rodney's travel schedule, which required him to leave Target Field by 3 p.m. in order to attend an immigration hearing on Monday morning, July 16, in Miami. The Dominican-born Rodney, set to become a U.S. citizen at age 41, had postponed one hearing already due to his employment, so the Twins agreed to make it work during the all-star break.
MINNEAPOLIS—Tempers flared and benches cleared twice as the Minnesota Twins and Tampa Bay Rays slogged through sticky, slow-moving Sunday afternoon, July 14, to close out the first half of the season. In the end, the Twins got the last word and an 11-7 victory on Brian Dozier's walk-off grand slam off Matt Andriese in the 10th inning. That gave the Twins three out of four against the Rays and wrapped up a 9-2 homestand. Sunday's game took four hours, 38 minutes to complete and featured three lead changes and a tie—all from the seventh inning on.
MINNEAPOLIS — Bobby Wilson has caught more than 1,100 games and 8,100 innings in a professional career he began as a 48th-round pick in 2002. He has caught a pair of professional no-hitters, including Ervin Santana's in 2011, and came tantalizingly close two other times, once in the Midwest League with ex-Twins closer Kevin Jepsen in 2004. Wilson, 35, knows the drill, and yet he still can't help but experience the Berrios Bounce on days when the Twins' All-Star right-hander takes the mound.
MINNEAPOLIS — All you really needed to know about Saturday’s 19-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays was the identity of the Twins’ final pitcher: Willians Astudillo.
MINNEAPOLIS — Addison Reed's prolonged struggles have finally been acknowledged. The veteran reliever was placed on the 10-day disabled list with right triceps tightness before the series finale against the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday, July 11. Fellow right-hander Alan Busenitz was recalled from Triple-A Rochester. It's the first career trip to the DL for Reed, who was signed to a two-year, $16.75 million contract in January after pitching in the past three postseasons for the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox.
MINNEAPOLIS — Early work for hitters is a regular part of the baseball routine, but it's not nearly as common for pitchers. So it was somewhat jarring to see 11 Twins pitchers — all but Monday starter Jose Berrios and Sunday starter Jake Odorizzi — out in the 89-degree afternoon heat for 30 minutes' worth of pitchers' fielding practice on Monday, July 9.