Gardy’s Bi-lingual!

Who’da thunk it?

We all wondered how long it would take for Twins manager Ron Gardenhire to learn to communicate with the Twins’ most recent import from the other side of the globe. Well, thanks to 1500ESPN radio’s Phil Mackey, we now know that Gardy has learned enough of his new infielder’s native language to communicate a bit… even if the player himself appears to be having a little trouble understanding exactly what his manager is saying.

Oh… you think I’m talking about Gardy knowing enough Japanese to chat with Tsuyoshi Nishioka? Heavens no… I think we’ll be seeing Gardy with his handy-dandy English/Japanese pocket dictionary all summer long.

Luke Hughes (Photo: Brian Henricksen)

But apparently he’s been much quicker to pick up enough Australian to communicate with red-hot rookie infielder Luke Hughes, as evidenced by this quote from Mackey’s post game notes:

“I asked him, ‘Mate, have you ever played shortstop.’ He went, ‘Are you serious?’ And I went, ‘Very serious.’ Then I went, ‘Nevermind the question, just go play short.'”

That’s our Twins manager… Crocodile Gardee!

One other item in Mackey’s post that I really liked to see was his quotes from Kevin Slowey.  You may have heard that Gardenhire has handed out four of the starting rotation spots already and, with one spot remaining, Slowey and Scott Baker are the last two men waiting for the music to stop in this rather bizarre cake walk game.

Slowey’s thrown 10 innings in his past three starts without giving up a run, so you could certainly understand if he was feeling a bit overlooked, and possibly even disrespected, by his manager stringing him along. But here’s Slowey’s response when asked how much he’s sweating out these last couple weeks of Spring Training:

“None, really,” he said. “It’s not really worth sweating it. I think you ask any one of the guys in this clubhouse, we’ll do anything it takes to help this team win. And I think we’ve seen that the last couple years.

“You’ve seen a guy like Jim Thome, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and he doesn’t get 300 at-bats last year. He’s not complaining one bit. He’s talking about how excited he is to be a part of a championship team. I think if a guy like that can be satisfied with just being part of the team, certainly I can do the same.”

Is that a great response, or what? It also goes to show what kind of example Mr. Incredible, Jim Thome, is providing in that clubhouse.

I’m outta here!

This is it… the time has finally come… I head to Ft. Myers tomorrow (Tuesday) morning and while the weather outside isn’t TOO bad here, it’s nowhere near what I’m seeing in the forecast for Ft. Myers for the next seven days. (Wednesday through Tuesday… Highs ranging from 83-84, lows 58-62 and Sunny every day except Wednesday, when I’ll have to deal with partly cloudy skies. I’ll try to cope.)

I’m planning on spending Wednesday morning at both the Major League and minor league practice fields and then catching the Twins and Mets in the afternoon. Media reports are that Joe Mauer may very well making his Spring Training debut as a DH Wednesday and, since the following two games are on the road, I would expect to see pretty much all of the A-list position players in that game.

I am wondering a bit, though, how both Mauer and Thome will be managing to get swings in during the week I’m down there. The Twins have only two home games during the next week, Wednesday’s game with the Mets and Saturday’s with the Rays. The other four games between now and a week from today are road games with the Tigers (Lakeland), Orioles (Sarasota), Blue Jays (Dunedin), and Pirates (Bradenton). It’s hard to imagine either Mauer or Thome rattling across Florida on a bus. With minor league games getting started, maybe they’ll get a few cuts in one or two of those games.

Check in here at Knuckleballs from time to time… I’ll try to post a bit while I’m gone. I’m also going to try to send Howard a report or two that he can post over at “A Fan’s View From Section 219”… something he’s been gracious enough to let me do for several years now.

Finally, let’s sign off by sharing the following excellent Public Service Announcement, shown during Monday’s Twins/Marlins broadcast, from Michael Cuddyer and Tsuyoshi Nishioka (video clip from the Star Tribune):


ST – Marlins @ Twins, 12:05, am1500, FSN,

We have the first of two consecutive Monday televised games today as the Marlins travel to Ft. Myers to take on the Twins this afternoon.

Reports coming out of Twins camp are that 14 roster cuts have been made today. As expected, a many of the cuts were for the purpose of thinning the starting pitching ranks to allow those starters who clearly would not be going north with the Twins to continuing getting significant innings on the minor league complex. Here’s the list of those cut:

David Bromberg RHP, Anthony Swarzak RHP, Eric Hacker RHP, Deolis Guerra RHP, Yorman Bazardo RHP, Kyle Gibson RHP, Rene Tosoni OF, Joe Benson OF, Chris Parmalee 1B, Justin Huber 1B, Ray Chang IF, Brian Dozier IF, Jair Fernandez C, Chris Hermann C.

No real surprises there, but it’s interesting to note that none of the lefty pitchers were cut.

I’m going to put up a GameChat window today for anyone who’s able to pop in. I probably won’t be there myself much (if at all) due to that pesky thing called “work”.

Finally… Happy 51st birthday to Kirby Puckett. We miss you, Puck.

Today’s lineups:

Bonifacio, CF   Revere, CF
Martinez, O, SS   Plouffe, 2B
Dobbs, 1B   Young, D, LF
Buck, J, C   Thome, DH
Dominguez, M, 3B   Kubel, RF
Baker, Jo, DH   Valencia, 3B
Thurston, 2B   Bailey, J, 1B
Cousins, RF   Lehmann, C
Lubanski, LF   Casilla, A, SS
  Sanabia, P     Slowey, P

Well, THAT was a nice way for the Twins to head in to their sole off-day of Spring Training! All the pitchers had good days, including two rotation memebers, Slowey and Blackburn.

Danny Valencia launched a blast to LF and Luke Hughes, after entering as a pinch runner for Jason Kubel, added his fourth HR of the spring! For those interested in following what little suspense there remains in the Twins camp (the battle for the utility infield position), Gardy also shifted Hughes over to shortstop for the last few innings of the game. “Conventional wisdom” has been that, even with Hughes hitting so well, Gardy would be reluctant to go north with a utility infielder that doesn’t play SS (something Tolbert does, but Hughes has not typically done). So… with Hughes getting some innings at SS, the plot thickens a bit.

Click here for the link to the box score

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Florida 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 1
Minnesota 1 2 0 0 3 2 1 0 x 9 14 1

No game on Tuesday… the next game is Wednesday, when the Twins host the Mets!

– JC