Grab a cup of coffee and let's talk Twins. Nobody really wants to talk about boring work stuff anyway, right?
- Wilson Ramos has had a "setback" in his rehab as he works to come back from the disabled list. On a first-to-third drill, it seems there was tightness in his hamstring, and it now sounds like his return will be unlikely before the All-Star break. Since batting .267/.334/.445 as a 23-year old in 2011, Ramos has appeared in just 39 games for Washington (14 this season), with a .260/.338/.412 triple slash. There's no way the Twins will ever be seen to have made a smart baseball decision by flipping Ramos for Matt Capps, seeing your trade partner have a rough go of it does make you feel a bit better. But wow you have to feel for Wilson. His professional career has been full of hiccups so far.
- Kevin Slowey took the hill last night for his 12th start and 13th appearance of 2013 for the Marlins. While he'd been very effective through his first eight starts (44.2 IP, 1.81 ERA, 36 K, 9 BB), he hasn't been as successful recently. Excluding his non-start (he pitched the 13th-19th innings against the Mets on June 8th), Slowey has allowed 27 earned runs in 27.1 innings since his hot streak ended - striking out 20, walking six, but allowing 47 hits. On the whole he's still had a pretty good season, but he's trending backward. How long does Mike Redmond stick with his struggling former teammate?
- Mike Pelfrey delivered just his fourth quality start on Wednesday night, all of which have come in his last seven starts. He also finished the seventh inning for the first time since April 21, 2012 - his final start for the Mets before having Tommy John surgery. Ragging on Pelfrey for being terrible is a bit like blaming your dog for eating the burgers you dropped on the ground during your barbeque - what did you think was going to happen? The good news is that he's been pitching a little bit better of late, even if the results haven't been drastically better. Since the start of May his ERA is "only" 5.31. And because the Twins have made it clear that they're going to ride through this patch with Pelfrey, here's hoping his upward trend continues.
- Trevor Plouffe is due back to Minnesota any time. He was sent to Triple-A for a rehab assignment on Monday (June 10th), and should be over his calf strain.
- Ryan Doumit is now 0-for-13 going back to Sunday's double-header, but in 27 games from May 7 to June 8 he clobbered eight home runs while batting .275/.336/.578. He also notched 25 RBI in that stretch. With Justin Morneau's power outage it was critical to get Doumit back on track after his rough start. Keeping him in the lineup when Plouffe returns is a necessity.
- Clete Thomas was undeniably the star of last night's comeback victory against the Phillies, and considering the center field outlook we all may as well jump on the Cletesanity Wagon right now. Aaron Hicks, in spite of General Manager Terry Ryan's assurances of a "15-day thing", does not have a return date. Wilkin Ramirez is still working through his concussion-like symptoms, and Darin Mastroianni isn't schedule to return to duty until early July. For the next two or three weeks, we're stuck with Thomas whether we like it or not.
- If the Twins need another center fielder, their next choice is to add Antoan Richardson to the 40-man roster. For the Double-A Rock Cats, Richardson hit .336/.456/.403 in 33 games, including 25 strikeouts, 22 walks, and 14 stolen bases in 19 attempts. For the Triple-A Red Wings, he's maintained his impressive on-base skills with a .441 on-base percentage thanks to 27 walks (compared to just 22 strikeouts) in 28 games. Richardson is 29 and isn't likely to make any kind of a long-term impact, but if you're looking for minor league players who are making a difference and may as well be given a shot: Antoan Richardson is the guy.