09/29/2003 10:35 PM ET
Three is the magic number
Gardenhire is going with a short rotation
NEW YORK -- For the Twins' rotation vs. the Yankees, three is the magic number.
Manager Ron Gardenhire said Monday he has decided to use a three-man rotation for the American League Division Series.
Johan Santana, Brad Radke and Kyle Lohse were already revealed as starters for Games 1, 2 and 3. What was not known until now is that Santana would definitely work a Game 4 at the Metrodome, if necessary, while Radke would start a possible Game 5 at Yankee Stadium.
With a rare off day between Tuesday's Game 1 and Thursday's Game 2 in New York, Santana would pitch Game 4 on his usual fifth day. Radke would have to come back on three days rest.
"You take your shot," Gardenhire said. "I think in (Games) 1 and 4, I'd rather have Santana in both of those more than anyone else. If I'm going to go to a Game 2 and then a Game 5, if we get to five, we'll go with Radke. I want the ball in his hand."
"That's the first I've heard about that," Radke said after Monday's workout. "That's good. It's fine with me. I want to go out there and pitch as much as possible and try to help the team as much as possible."
Santana was 11-2 as a starter with a 2.20 ERA this season. Radke went 9-1 after the All-Star break and was 4-0 in September with a 1.80 ERA.
This means 13-game winner Kenny Rogers and Eric Milton will be working out of the bullpen. Rogers, who was not available for comment, was dependable in his first season for Minnesota by getting 13 wins and was third in innings behind team leader Radke.
Rogers' extremely poor numbers against New York's hitters played a part in the decision.
"Kenny's not happy with the whole scenario," Gardenhire said. "That's just the way it is. It's about winning and nothing other than that."
Milton returned from March knee surgery in mid-September and had just three starts. Although two of them were very strong, he was not surprised that he wouldn't be starting one of the later games vs. New York.
"If I'm called upon, I'll be ready to do the job," Milton said of his role. "I hope I don't pitch because I want all of our starters to go nine."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This report was not subject to the approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com