Mike Berardino / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS — Matt Belisle has temporarily lost his eighth-inning setup role, so it has been easy to miss, but the veteran reliever entered Sunday with a 0.51 earned run average over his past 14 outings. Since June 14, he had worked 17 2/3 innings and allowed a .234 batting average, a .618 combined on-base/slugging percentage and just one home run. Yet, he had appeared in just 14 of the Twins' last 37 games, working a combined 4 2/3 innings over his past two outings. Second wind?
MINNEAPOLIS — Matt Belisle pitched only the 2015 season with Jaime Garcia in St. Louis, but the Twins reliever came away highly impressed with the veteran left-hander who nearly became his teammate again this week. "Absolutely," Belisle said Saturday. "You get a lefty like that who's capable of being a horse and going seven (innings) every night, who's been around winning and knows how to pitch in playoff atmospheres, he's going to be desirable."
Look, if you had one shot or one opportunity To seize everything you ever wanted In one moment Would you capture or just let it slip? -- "Lose Yourself" MINNEAPOLIS — Mariano Rivera and "Enter Sandman" became synonymous, but that hard-driving entrance song from Metallica was chosen by team personnel for the former New York Yankees closer. Same for Trevor Hoffman and "Hells Bells" out in San Diego, where Padres fans would rock to AC/DC upon Hoffman's entrance without giving the lyrics much thought.
MINNEAPOLIS — Phil Hughes doesn't waste time wallowing in self-pity, but it was hard not to think in big-picture terms Tuesday after the Twins' hard-luck right-hander landed on the 60-day disabled list with a recurrence of thoracic outlet syndrome. Now that he's likely headed for his second season-ending surgery in as many summers, the 31-year-old Hughes was asked if this latest setback feels career-threatening.
MINNEAPOLIS — Twins ace Ervin Santana knew Bartolo Colon was not of this Earth back in 2005. It wasn't just the 21-win season with the Los Angeles Angels that led to Colon's only Cy Young Award, one that rightfully should have gone to Twins ace Johan Santana. It wasn't the mysterious personality that has led to the late-career moniker "Big Sexy." Rather, it was the way Colon would sprawl his burly frame across the clubhouse floor and amaze his teammates with a pregame stretching routine.
HOUSTON — Just when Byron Buxton was finding his rhythm at the plate, the Twins' speedy center fielder landed Saturday on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right groin. Buxton, who said he suffered the injury scoring from first on Brian Dozier's bases-clearing double in Friday's third inning, stayed in the game until after legging out a sixth-inning double. This is the second career trip to the DL for Buxton, who also missed more than five weeks as a rookie in 2015 with a sprained left thumb.
HOUSTON — After hitting 32 total homers in the Home Run Derby on Monday in Miami, Miguel Sano didn't feel as if he needed extra work to recalibrate his swing for game action. That's because, despite all those monster blasts on his way to a runner-up finish to New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge, Sano purposely kept his swing the same.
MINNEAPOLIS—Even as the surprising Twins stayed near the top of the American League Central throughout the first half, third-year manager Paul Molitor heard plenty about run differential from those who would discount his club as more pretender than contender.
MIAMI — Former Twins reliever Pat Neshek, now a two-time all-star since his release, is hearing trade rumors again as the rebuilding Philadelphia Phillies receive inquires on the pending free agent. Could the Twins seek to reacquire the 36-year-old who grew up in Brooklyn Park? "Minnesota? That'd be fun," Neshek said. "My brother (Paul) is still up there, and he fills in on the (Target Field) grounds crew every once in awhile." Twins catcher Jason Castro, who worked with Neshek for two seasons in Houston, also could vouch for the rubber-armed side-armer.
MIAMI — When Miguel Sano steps into the batter's box and Ervin Santana climbs atop the pitcher's mound Tuesday night at Marlins Park, they won't just be representing the Twins at the All-Star Game. They will be representing their native Dominican Republic, which has sent 13 players to this year's midsummer classic. The Twins join the New York Yankees (three) and Seattle Mariners (two) as the only big-league teams with multiple 2017 all-stars from that baseball-rich nation.