Greetings from Target Field, where it is 60 and sunny on this Easter Sunday.
It’s Hector Santiago (L, 1-1, 2.38 ERA) vs. James Shields (R, 1-0, 1.69). Santiago will follow Ervin Santana’s one-hitter yesterday, which Brandon documented yesterday.
Max Kepler will DH today, meaning that Robbie Grossman is in right field:
— Tom Schreier (@tschreier3) April 16, 2017
The White Sox will lead off with Leury Garcia and have Avasail Garcia hitting cleanup. Willy Garcia is in the outfield again, but Leury is playing short:
— Tom Schreier (@tschreier3) April 16, 2017
Of note regarding the Twins lineup: It appears that where Grossman plays in the field will be determined by where the team is playing.
Sounds like more of Grossman's OF time could come in right at home, left on the road. Still projects as mostly a DH for #mntwins
— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) April 16, 2017
“It’s been a while since he’s been out there. Day-to-day you kinda look for opportunities to get people to do what they do, in addition to just taking at-bats, and the back-to-back day games here, I wanted to get him out there today,” said manager Paul Molitor.
“It worked out. We might see him again out there in the Cleveland series, possibly, maybe in left. I know that he’s been a little antsy about not playing defense. He’s happy with the at-bats, but everybody wants to play defense.”
Sano’s early output (.286/.457/.714, 3 home runs/11 walks) has landed him in the 3-hole.
“Well, he’s a guy that knows he can be, as he matures and continues to improve, one of the better offensive players in the game,” said Molitor.
“That’s high praise for a young guy that has yet to really show extended consistency, but the early stages through the first part of the season, you see the double-digit walks and the on-base percentage and the slugging percentage, the amount of pitches he’s seeing every day — it’s just a really good start by a guy who a guy who wants to be a leader on this team, not in the way he plays, but how he carries himself and the way he goes about his game every day.
“Just gonna try to keep affirming what he’s doing, not always gonna translate into getting the big hit or whatever, but his at-bats have been just quality from the start, and he’s making people work, and I think it’s helping everybody around him.”
As for Brian Dozier, who missed yesterday’s game due to a knee contusion, he’s back without any issues.
“Not according to him. He texted me early this morning and said he was good,” said Molitor, who said he followed up with the team trainers as well. “But he says he knows his body and has no issues, so he’s back in there.”
It looks like eight relievers still for the immediate future
Molitor appears comfortable with an eight-man bullpen for now, even with his starters going deep into games.
“We’re not a position right now, really, to need to think about that,” he said. “We know how quickly availability status can change, it can get turned upside-down pretty quickly, so I think that for now we haven’t had a lot of discussions about making any changes to that.”
He said he’d get through the next stretch and then see if injury or the need for a supplemental bat will affect the 25-man roster construction.
Molitor said he doesn’t feel restricted by the three-man bench, although it has actively affected how he manages his team at various points in the season.
“I wouldn’t say restricted. It does … it’ll … you want to try to take advantage of the guys that you have and still not put yourself too vulnerable to putting all three in there, and then having Gibson put his spikes on or something on a day he’s not pitching,” he said.
“The night we ran Santana for Miggy. It’s just one of those things, if Kepler hits a double and Miggy doesn’t score, you’re gonna wish you used your fastest guy. In the back of your mind, you’re thinking, well in the 9th inning, if we don’t score here, Robertson’s gonna come in. And if we get somebody on base, he’s much more prone to the stolen base, but then I’ve got Esco instead of Danny.
“I thought about pinch-hitting for Buck a couple of times when I’ve let him go up there when it hasn’t been the 9th inning. When you have less, you try to play it up. But you don’t wanna miss the opportunity and then not use your bullets either, so you’ve gotta play both sides of it.”