Twins Notes: An injury carpool, unnerving TV coverage, graphs and Twitter

Joe Crede‘s surgically repaired back was the big concern when the Twins signed him to a one-year contract this offseason, but instead he’s been sidelined for a couple of days at a time with an assortment of other injuries that now includes a potentially serious shoulder problem. He’s avoided the disabled list so far, despite sitting out 24 of 95 games, but that could change depending on how things go during his visit with Angels team doctor and shoulder specialist Lewis Yocum.

Glen Perkins can carpool with Crede to Yocum’s office, because after getting rocked for eight runs while recording three outs Wednesday, he complained of shoulder problems. He was on the disabled list with an elbow injury earlier this year, but prior to imploding Wednesday, Perkins had gone 4-2 with a 3.96 ERA in six starts since returning.

Kevin Mulvey has been sent back to Triple-A after retiring the only batter he faced in his big-league debut Monday and then coughing up four runs in one inning of work Wednesday. He could be back in a hurry if Perkins’ injury proves serious, but in the meantime the Twins have recalled Jesse Crain from Rochester. Crain has pitched well there since last month’s demotion, posting a 2.55 ERA and 22-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 17.2 innings.

Not that anyone with the Twins would care, given that they haven’t even bothered to promote him to Triple-A at the age of 25, but Anthony Slama has a 2.98 ERA, 20 saves and 77 strikeouts in 54 innings at Double-A. His control isn’t great, but opponents are hitting .218 against Slama while striking out 35 percent of the time. He now has a 1.83 ERA with 236 strikeouts, compared with just 102 hits allowed in 157 career innings. What possible reason could there be not to at least promote him to Rochester?

As if ranking No. 26 on my list of the Twins’ top prospects heading into the season wasn’t enough of an honor for Rene Tosoni, he was named MVP of the Futures Game over the All-Star break. Tosoni has boosted his stock quite a bit by hitting .281/.387/.476 with 10 homers and 33 total extra-base hits in 86 games at Double-A as a 23-year-old.

After cycling through the usual assortment of banjo-hitting middle infielders in the No. 2 spot, Ron Gardenhire has mercifully gone back to using Joe Mauer there. There was zero reason to move Mauer from the second spot to begin with, given that he batted .435/.481/.739 with 22 RBIs and 24 runs in 25 games there, so hopefully Gardenhire will stop tinkering with what works. If you remove Mauer’s totals, the No. 2 spot has hit .193 with a .243 on-base percentage and .256 slugging percentage this season.

Here’s what the Win Probability Added graph looked like for Monday night’s implosion in Oakland:

I’d make some pithy comment about WPA showing home-plate umpire Mike Muchlinski as the game’s MVP, but I’m just trying to forget the whole debacle ever happened. Thankfully Wednesday’s game wasn’t on television, or I’d be trying to scrub that memory from my brain too.

Speaking of scrubbing memories from your brain, here’s footage of Ron Coomer getting a massage that was featured during Saturday’s game against the Rangers:

Not shown in that video are the other plugs for the Wisconsin Dells that annoyingly dominated the FSN broadcast, causing me to long for the sweet sounds of Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven for the first time in my life. FSN better have made tons of money for the non-stop infomercial overshadowing the game.

Garrett Jones left the Twins as a minor-league free agent this winter following four underwhelming seasons at Rochester and a forgettable 31-game stint in Minnesota, but now appears to have found a home in Pittsburgh. Jones is hitting .313 with nine homers in 17 games with the Pirates, which is pretty astounding for a guy who hit .265/.321/.463 in 575 games at Triple-A. He’ll come crashing back down to earth soon enough, but in the meantime the Pirates cleared first base by dealing Adam LaRoche.

Released by the Twins last month in large part because he complained about not being used as a late-inning setup man despite being completely unqualified for the job, Luis Ayala has found a home in the Marlins’ bullpen … and so far has been used in even lower-leverage situations.

Next time someone opines that the Twins don’t make in-season deals because quality players are too costly, point to Felipe Lopez and Cla Meredith. Lopez is a switch-hitting second baseman with a decent glove who’s hit .294/.355/.402 in 230 games since the start of last year, yet the Brewers got him for two marginal prospects. Meredith is a ground-ball machine with a 3.49 ERA in 240 career innings, yet the Padres basically gave the 26-year-old reliever away. Inexpensive upgrades are available.

Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune wrote a well-done article about the mutual respect between Mauer and Ichiro Suzuki as they battle to see who can capture their third career batting title.

Jim Caple, who worked for the St. Paul Pioneer Press before landing at ESPN, wrote a nice feature on Mauer for a national audience.

Rod Carew recently joined the Angels’ front office as something called an “executive representative.” Carew finished his Hall of Fame career with the Angels and later served as the team’s hitting coach.

Last and least, after listening to everyone’s thoughts on the subject I’ve decided to give Twitter a try. Please be gentle, because I have no clue what I’m doing yet, and the whole thing makes me feel sort of like my grandparents looked when we first gave them a computer. Any advice on how to get started is definitely appreciated. In the meantime, you can start “following” me (@aarongleeman) in the hopes that someday I’ll get the hang of things enough to actually post something that interests someone.

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