4/17: Molitor on Park's bomb, Gibson, Suzuki and More

Greetings from Target Field, where the Minnesota Twins (2-9) are looking to sweep the Los Angeles Angels (5-6). Righty Kyle Gibson (0-2, 4.22 ERA) vs. righty Nick Tropeano (1-0, 0.00 ERA).

Manager Paul Molitor says he’s seen encouraging signs from Gibson. “He’s a trustworthy guy, in terms of he gives us a chance more times than not. When he first came up a couple years ago, he’d get those big innings where he had trouble containing,” he said.

“A lot of it is just the fact that he’s got stuff that’s a little difficult to command because he gets such great movement.”

As far as Byung Ho Park’s bomb yesterday, the Twins were as blown away by it as everyone else was.

“Watching some video from the game yesterday, they did a quick pan of our dugout as the ball sailed up into [Catch],” said Molitor. “That was maybe the funnest part of that game, was just seeing how we reacted to that home run.”

“He seems to be settling in,” he added. “He seems to have a ways to go in terms of being acclimated over here, but it’s nice to see him put together some nice at-bats over the last two or three days.”

Byron Buxton is close to 100 percent according GM Terry Ryan and Molitor, but the team elected to go with the hot hands in the lineup. “I had some options, trying to figure about everything from trying to Max hasn’t played very much,” said Molitor. “Esco’s our shortstop, and asking him to sit a couple days while we run Nunez back out there.”

Twins lineup vs. Angels (4/17./16).
Twins lineup vs. Angels (4/17./16).

Sano has yet to hit a home run this season, but Molitor says that he wants him to focus on the fundamentals and not get caught up with power numbers.

“I’m sure somewhere in the back of your mind, you’re kinda looking for that pitch to do it on,” he said. “But at the same time, trying to put together a good at-bat, that’s why, when he walks or sees a lot of pitches, we keep trying to emphasize that those are good things. It’s gonna come, you can’t force it.”

There is lots of power in the outfield today, but it also could be suspect defensively, and Molitor is aware of that. “Well, you’re giving something to get something, and for guys who aren’t supposedly your regulars, they get a chance to play,” he said. “I’m aware of not having our best defense out there right now, and it hasn’t really cost us yet in these last couple of games.”

Finally, John Ryan Murphy is getting another start, but Suzuki is still ahead of him on the depth chart. “I backed him off a couple of days,” Molitor said.

“A few reasons: I think Kurt, as much as anybody, has been trying to press a little bit, trying to get himself going. We talked about the percentage of catching games here at the start of the season. I didn’t have an exact number, [but] I had Kurt in the majority, and I haven’t changed that.”

That’s all for now. Be sure to follow Brandon (@Brandon_Warne) and I (@tschreier3), as well as Cold Omaha (@ColdOmahaMN) for Twins coverage all season long.

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