PrintPrint © 2004 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

Rivas out, Jones not certain
10/04/2004 3:59 PM ET
NEW YORK -- Just a day away from commencing the American League Division Series against the Yankees, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire hasn't finalized his starting lineup yet.

"I've waited six months to figure this lineup out. I'm taking my time with it," joked Gardenhire.

Leaving matters somewhat in limbo is the status of Jacque Jones. The Twins' right fielder missed Monday's pre-ALDS workout at Yankee Stadium because he was in Sacramento, Calif. mourning the death of his father, Hardy.

Jones is scheduled to take a red-eye flight to New York and be at the ballpark on Tuesday. He'll also fly west again Thursday for the funeral.

AL Central Champions

Second-half highlights
First-half highlights
• The Twins' road to the playoffs: 56K | 350K
• Santana breaks Twins' single-season strike out record: 56K | 350K
• Twins clinch the AL Central: 56K | 350K

Fan zone

"I don't know how he's going to feel for Tuesday," Gardenhire said. "It's the playoffs, I know he's going to come in and go-go-go, but we'll see. I have to get a feel for it."

Another factor in the decision -- Jones is 2-for-22 lifetime against the Yankees' Game 1 starter, Mike Mussina.

"His numbers against Mussina aren't big but we also know when we played the kid (Jason Kubel) out there, it didn't work all that well," Gardenhire said. "We need to catch the ball."

If Jones doesn't start, it's expected Lew Ford will be moved from designated hitter to right field. Kubel, a rookie, would become the DH.

Because Luis Rivas' injured elbow has shown little improvement, Michael Cuddyer will start Game 1 at second base. Rivas has been battling bone chips and has played little the past week, except for Saturday's game against Cleveland.

"You could tell," Gardenhire said. "You could just see the way he threw the ball. You know he's not 100 percent."

Rivas, along with utility man Augie Ojeda, will remain available as late-inning defensive replacements.

Gardenhire expected that Rivas would start Game 3 with sinkerball pitcher Carlos Silva on the mound for Minnesota. That means lots of ground balls.

"I'm ready," said Rivas, who batted .256 with 10 homers and 34 RBIs this season. "I don't care if it's broken, I'm still going to be there."

The Twins are the first playoff team since 1990 to not have a hitter with at least 90 RBIs in a season. The last teams were the Reds and Red Sox.
-- courtesy Elias Sports Bureau

Playing a variety of positions in the infield and outfield, Cuddyer batted .263 with 12 homers and 45 RBIs this season. He was hot down the stretch, batting .323 over his last 19 games.

Cuddyer never played second in the big leagues before this season, but many in the organization feel it's become the 25-year-old's best position.

"He's played fine," Gardenhire said. "He's actually turning the double play. We know his range probably isn't as good, but his arm strength is really good. Michael has played very well at second."

If Jones does start Game 1 for Minnesota, this is what the lineup might look like:

1. Shannon Stewart LF
2. Jacque Jones RF
3. Lew Ford DH
4. Justin Morneau 1B
5. Torii Hunter CF
6. Corey Koskie 3B
7. Cristian Guzman SS
8. Michael Cuddyer 2B
9. Henry Blanco C
P Johan Santana

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins Homepage   |