Mike Berardino / St. Paul Pioneer Press
NEW YORK — Joe Mauer has been back to Yankee Stadium many times since the 2009 postseason, but Tuesday marked just his second postseason game here since the infamous blown call by left-field umpire Phil Cuzzi. Mauer's leadoff double in the left-field corner was incorrectly ruled foul in the 11th inning of a 4-3 loss in Game 2 of the AL Division Series. The Twins were swept in three games in the best-of-five series. "Oh, boy," Mauer said when the topic was raised. "Well, we've got replay now. That could have been reviewed."
MINNEAPOLIS — Unsigned beyond this season, Twins manager Paul Molitor confirmed Sunday his status has yet to be resolved. "If circumstances were different and we weren't playing Tuesday, I might have spent more time thinking about it, to be honest with you," Molitor said. "Whenever we're done, and hopefully it's not for awhile, I'm sure that will be pushed to the forefront."
MINNEAPOLIS—Since early June Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco has had to play through the pain of his grandfather Maximo's loss. Now it's third baseman Eduardo Escobar's turn. Marquiade Escobar, his 79-year-old grandfather, died of a heart attack early Thursday morning, Sept. 28, in Venezuela, just hours after the Twins clinched their first postseason berth in seven years. Escobar had talked to his grandfather by phone on Wednesday morning as he was getting ready to return home after spending two weeks in the hospital.
CLEVELAND — Now that the Twins have punched their postseason ticket, attention turns to setting the 25-man roster for a winner-take-all wild-card game Tuesday, Oct. 3. Even though he hasn't played since Aug. 19, Miguel Sano remains an option to be included. Twins manager Paul Molitor referenced the "Sano long shot" on Thursday, a day after the all-star third baseman took 60 swings indoors. Sano, still working back from a stress reaction in his left tibia, took swings on the field at Target Field Thursday morning and continued to build momentum.
CLEVELAND — The last time the visitors' clubhouse at Progressive Field saw a champagne celebration, it was the 2016 Chicago Cubs toasting the end of a 108-year World Series championship drought. The celebration the wild-card Twins held as Wednesday turned into Thursday was no less meaningful to those in the middle of its frenzied swirl. As Joe Mauer watched his younger teammates hoot, holler and spray each other with bubbly, the Twins' 34-year-old first baseman wore a proud smile.
CLEVELAND — Twins manager Paul Molitor was on his way to the mound to lift Tyler Duffey when he made a U-turn in the third inning Tuesday, Sept. 26. Pitching coach Neil Allen had made a mound visit at the start of the at-bat with Jay Bruce, and by rule Molitor needed to wait until the at-bat was over to lift Duffey. A wild pitch that left the count 2-0 and created an open base at first brought Molitor out of the dugout before plate umpire Todd Tichenor waved him back.
CLEVELAND — Coming off a disappointing season at Triple-A Rochester, South Korean first baseman ByungHo Park has decided to remain in the Twin Cities for the bulk of this offseason in hopes of righting his major league career. "As I understand it, he is going to work out stateside for the offseason," Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said. "He'll be here for the entirety of the offseason."
CLEVELAND — Twins right fielder Max Kepler, who bruised his lower back/hip area while making a throw home over the weekend in Detroit, was back in the starting lineup for the series opener against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday, Sept. 26. Kepler took three rounds of early batting practice at Progressive Field, where he has six of his 18 career road homers. He also did some running to prove to assistant athletic trainer Tony Leo and Twins manager Paul Molitor that he was ready to play again after sitting out Sunday's game at Comerica Park, where Kepler has homered four times.
MINNEAPOLIS — It's easy to forget now as he hits third for a Twins team steamrolling toward its first postseason berth in seven years, but for two solid months this summer Jorge Polanco wandered around in a fog. There were games to be played almost daily, and for those three hours he would give his all, but his heart was heavy after the death of his grandfather. Maximo Polanco, who died at 73 on June 6, wasn't just a strong influence on the Twins shortstop. He was the man who essentially raised him in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic.
DETROIT—Max Kepler was out of the Minnesota Twins' lineup Sunday, Sept. 24, but no additional tests were ordered for an injury near the right fielder's lower back. Kepler had to leave Saturday's 10-4 win over the Detroit Tigers shortly after landing awkwardly on a throw to the plate in the first inning. Rookie Zack Granite took Kepler's place in the lineup Sunday, playing left field while Eddie Rosario moved to right.