Twins Notes: Hardy, Plouffe, Gibson, Perkins, Morales and Ramos

J.J. Hardy came off the disabled list last night after missing 17 games with a wrist injury, so, as expected, the Twins optioned Trevor Plouffe back to Triple-A. Plouffe made three starts at shortstop in Hardy’s absence after Brendan Harris (eight starts) and Alexi Casilla (six) initially filled in, going 3-for-13 with a double and five strikeouts. It’ll be interesting to see if Plouffe can resume his solid hitting at Triple-A or if he’ll fall back into his underwhelming career norms.

Kyle Gibson turned in another excellent start at Double-A Monday, tossing a seven-inning complete game while allowing just an unearned run. He induced 11 ground-ball outs, struck out four and walked none to improve to 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA since a promotion to New Britain. Gibson is now 7-1 with a 1.53 ERA, .207 opponents’ batting average, 3.5 ground balls per fly ball, and 60-to-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 64.2 innings between high Single-A and Double-A.

• I’m not sure how long it’ll be available online since the St. Paul Pioneer Press‘ website remains a disaster, but John Shipley wrote a lengthy article about Glen Perkins‘ struggles at Triple-A. Perkins is 0-6 with a 9.09 ERA in eight starts at Rochester, serving up seven long balls in 33.2 innings while opponents bat .359 off him. Setting aside his clash with the Twins regarding the service time aspect of his injuries, it sure seems like Perkins’ shoulder must not be healthy.

Jose Morales is back playing again following offseason wrist surgery, going 13-for-41 (.317) with two doubles and six walks in 11 games at Rochester. So far, he’s splitting time between designated hitter and catcher because of his injury and Wilson Ramos‘ presence at Triple-A. Drew Butera made his seventh start Sunday and is now 4-for-25 (.160), so presumably once Morales looks like his old below-average self defensively, the Twins will make the switch.

• Ramos is just 5-for-39 (.128) since returning to Triple-A, making him 6-for-57 (.105) with 12 strikeouts versus one walk since collecting seven hits in his first two big-league games. He’s batting just .160/.183/.302 overall in 25 games at Rochester, so it’ll be a while before the folks clamoring for him to stick in the majors come out of the woodwork again.

Ron Gardenhire‘s son Toby Gardenhire is now Ramos’ teammate at Rochester after being promoted to Triple-A despite hitting .225/.295/.250 at Double-A and .234/.298/.267 in 380 pro games. I’ve referred to Matt Tolbert as a poor man’s Nick Punto, so I suppose that makes the defensively versatile and offensively inept junior Gardenhire a homeless man’s Punto. I’ll take a wild guess and say his father has dreams of him filling a utility role one day.

• Minor-league outfielder and former 13th-round pick Michael Harrington was suspended 50 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. Taken in the 2008 draft after a four-year career at the College of Charleston, he was hitting just .145 in 24 games at high Single-A this season and has a .231/.302/.363 overall line in 194 pro games.

• For some reason I watched a few A’s games last week and twice saw Craig Breslow throw a scoreless inning. Breslow was a nice waiver-wire pickup for the Twins in 2008, posting a 2.89 ERA over 53 innings before they misguidedly cut him for Sean Henn in a “making moves just to make moves” decision I criticized at the time. Henn went 0-3 with a 7.15 ERA in 11.1 innings, while Breslow has a 2.57 ERA and 63-to-26 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 74 innings since leaving.

Randy Ruiz had a similarly strong run after being dropped by the Twins, batting .313 with 10 homers in 33 games for the Blue Jays last season, but played poorly and sporadically to begin this season before requesting his release to sign with a team in Japan. After over a decade of clobbering minor-league pitching to finally get his first chance in the majors at age 30, he likely finishes his big-league career with a .272/.332/.488 line in 238 plate appearances.

Jim Callis of Baseball America recently ranked the 20 best draft prospects since he joined the magazine in 1989, based strictly on their standing at the time of the draft. Stephen Strasburg tops the list and Joe Mauer is the final selection at No. 20, with two players the Twins passed on to select him in 2001 ranked No. 2 and No. 13.

Patrick Reusse of the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune has been agreeing with me a lot lately (or the other way around), this time about the silliness behind allowing the accumulation of a statistic determine bullpen usage. As he notes, because of “saves,” managers regularly use their best reliever to protect a three-run lead and one of their worst relievers to protect a four-run lead.

• recently added Wins Above Replacement (WAR) data to its amazing collection of statistics, and Mauer has the top three seasons by a catcher since 2000.

• All beat writers work on their game stories while the game is still going on, and unfortunately for Kelly Thesier of, sometimes the rough draft makes its way online.

• It sounds like Rick Reed enjoyed his time in Minnesota about as much as Twins fans did.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Michael Hunt on 05/26/2010 - 05:00 pm.

    Ummm Aaron….managers use crummy relief pitchers rather than the best when the leads are large and this is confusing to you???

    While I know you’re talking about the 3 vs. 4 run lead, why is that an issue? Is 2 vs. 3 somehow better? Really kind of a pointless discussion.

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