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Notes: Ford in left field for Game 410/09/2004 4:22 PM ET
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Shannon Stewart and Lew Ford swapped positions for Saturday's Game 4 of the American League Division Series, with Ford taking over left field for the Twins. Stewart still led off the order as the designated hitter. Although Stewart was unable to come up with a couple of flies that fell in for shallow blooped hits for the Yankees, this wasn't an attempt to shore up defensively. On Saturday, Ford went 2-for-4 with a two-run double in the fifth inning, and Stewart was 1-for-6 with a first-inning single and run scored.
Looking to protect Stewart's summer-long right foot injury, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire didn't want to use him in the field in a day game after a night game. He followed a similar protocol during the regular season."You think about it, that guy [Stewart] played probably as good as a you could play in the playoffs last year," Gardenhire said. "He's been out there playing fine." Stewart entered Saturday 3-for-14 (.214) in three ALDS games. Ford was 1-for-7 in two games, with an infield single in the second inning Friday. "I'm just happy to be in the game," Ford said of the shift. "I think we're getting more comfortable as it goes along. We know we're not out of it." Ford was called up April 9 from Triple-A Rochester to fill in when Torii Hunter was hurt and later played left field when Stewart's foot sent him to the disabled list. Overall, he led the club in games played (154), runs scored (89) and hits (170). "I know Lew is a good outfielder. He can play all three [spots]," Gardenhire said. "To say he's better than Shannon in left, I don't know. We know he throws better but it's not like he's thrown a lot of people out either. It's a big left field."
Hunter OK: Coming off a nasty collision with the outfield fence Friday, Hunter was back in the starting lineup Saturday. Hunter had a sore neck and back after slamming into the wall while making an unsuccessful catch for Hideki Matsui's seventh-inning home run ball.All hands on deck: Facing elimination, the Twins had all their pitchers, starters and relievers, available to work out of the bullpen behind starter Johan Santana. The club was not going to hesitate in pulling out all the stops, if needed. Said Gardenhire before the game: "There's no other choice now. If you don't start, you'll be in the bullpen. You have to try to win today. You can't ever have tomorrow if you don't have today." Likes the hustle: When given an opportunity to do so Saturday, Gardenhire again did not second-guess the aggressive running Friday night by Hunter and Corey Koskie. Both players were thrown out in the sixth inning trying to stretch an extra base. Hunter's play was especially unfortunate for Minnesota because he made the first out at third base -- considered a baseball sin. "As a manager, I see too many guys in the game jogging and not trying to get to second base," Gardenhire said. "I applaud my guys. I don't applaud them because we made some mistakes last night, but I applaud the way they play the game. They hustle and bust their tail every night. They're not trying to be superhuman. We play that way all the time." Molitor first pitch: Former Twins player, coach and 2004 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Paul Molitor tossed out the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday's game to former Blue Jays teammate Pat Borders. Molitor, a St. Paul native, finished his career playing for Minnesota from 1996-98 and spent this season as the Mariners hitting coach.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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