Mike Berardino / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS—Even after working three straight days for the first time this season, Minnesota Twins closer Fernando Rodney offered his services for the series finale Sunday, July 8. "It wasn't more than 10 minutes (after Saturday's game) when he asked about being ready (Sunday)," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It's a little different in today's game, but I give him credit. He's one of our most resilient arms. You want to be smart at the same time."
MINNEAPOLIS — Over the weekend Jose Berrios called his mother back home in Puerto Rico and suggested a family vacation to Orlando, Fla., during the upcoming all-star break. "I was thinking we'd go to the Magic Kingdom, for the kids," Berrios said Sunday, July 8. "Now we're going to Washington."
MINNEAPOLIS — Could it be it's not how you play but who you play? It's certainly fair for the Twins to wonder that after pummeling the Baltimore Orioles 10-1 on Sunday afternoon, July 8, at Target Field. Clubbing three homers, two of them during an eight-run uprising in the sixth, the Twins completed a four-game sweep of the majors' worst team. The four-game home sweep over the Orioles was the first in Twins history in the head-to-head matchup. The Twins also took four straight at Camden Yards in August 2015, back in Paul Molitor's first year as manager.
MILWAUKEE — Jorge Polanco's game-tying single in the seventh ended the Twins' scoreless streak at 20 mind-numbing innings, but the Independence Day euphoria didn't last much past "God Bless America." Young right-hander Jose Berrios gave up a pair of solo homers in the bottom half of the inning as the Twins fell 3-2 to Milwaukee on Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park, completing a sweep at the hands of the first-place Brewers.
MILWAUKEE — Twins manager Paul Molitor said the club was "leaning toward" calling up rookie right-hander Aaron Slegers to start Thursday night, July 5, at home against the Baltimore Orioles. A corresponding move would need to be made on the 25-man roster, but this would keep Slegers on normal rest as his next turn was set for Thursday at Triple-A Rochester.
MILWAUKEE — Before the Minnesota Twins went out Tuesday afternoon at Miller Park and lost for the 10th time in their past 12 games, this time 2-0 to the Milwaukee Brewers, Paul Molitor fielded a question about the inevitable sell-off. "I think everyone understands where we're at and the time of year we're approaching," the Twins' fourth-year manager said, "that some of these things are going to pick up in terms of either rumors or things that potentially could happen. We have a lot of people that fall into those categories that their names might be discussed."
MILWAUKEE — Fernando Rodney's trusty changeup has begun to betray him again. The 41-year-old Twins closer has blown two straight saves after nailing down 15 straight over a two-month span. All three hits against him on Monday night came against his signature pitch, and he struggled to command his changeup last Thursday in Chicago against the White Sox as well. That's when he hit Tim Anderson with a changeup and couldn't put Charlie Tilson away as the slap-hitting outfielder fouled off three changeups and took another on a full count en route to a 10-pitch walk.
MINNEAPOLIS — As expected, the Twins opened the 2018-19 international signing period on Monday, July 2, by reportedly agreeing to terms with Venezuelan center fielder Misael Urbina. According to a person with direct knowledge, Urbina will receive a $2.75 million bonus upon passing his physical. The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder, who turned 16 in April, is expected to draw the largest bonus out of Venezuela this year.
CHICAGO—Through his first 176 starts in the major leagues, there was one thing Lance Lynn had never done: Give up a home run to the opposing pitcher. That changed Sunday afternoon, July 1, with one swing of Jon Lester's bat. His three-run homer ignited an eight-run second inning that wiped out an early Twins lead and sent the Chicago Cubs to an 11-10 win and a three-game sweep of this interleague series at sweltering Wrigley Field.
CHICAGO — His 80-game steroid suspension finally over, shortstop Jorge Polanco is set to rejoin the Twins lineup on Monday, July 2, in Milwaukee. The switch-hitting Polanco, who went a combined 8 for 19 with a triple and a home run in six rehab games at Class A and Triple-A, was not in Sunday's Rochester lineup. Why take any chances after all Polanco has been through, including a right index finger that first got caught in a car door and then became infected.