Punto, Mauer sit out Sunday's matchup
Twins say most of 'pen available after Saturday's 12-inning game
MINNEAPOLIS -- At first glance, it didn't appear as though the Twins were at all fatigued following their four-and-a-half-hour-plus, 12-inning, 7-6 loss to the Yankees on Saturday night. They returned on Sunday morning to see manager Ron Gardenhire was resting only one regular, catcher Joe Mauer, and pitching coach Rick Anderson was deeming each member of the bullpen available after everyone pitched on Saturday.But then Gardenhire talked to Nick Punto, who returned from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday after going down with a strained left hamstring and was in the starting lineup that night at shortstop. Punto said that he was ready to play, but he was a little sore. Gardenhire decided not to risk it, so Punto's name was scratched from Sunday's lineup; he was replaced by Brendan Harris. Besides Harris' late inclusion into the lineup, the only other change was Mike Redmond filling in for Mauer, who received his normal day game off after a night contest. Redmond was also given Mauer's spot in the lineup, third, apparently to keep lineup continuity. "That's the hole created when we didn't play Mauer," Gardenhire said. "And Red Dog has been swinging pretty good his last few ballgames that we have put him out there." Besides, the manager didn't know who else would fit batting third. "The rest of them, I don't see changing it up," Gardenhire said. "I don't know who else goes in the third slot, I really don't. Just stick [Redmond] right in there. He's a veteran, he knows how to hit. So we'll see what happens. And he can trot when [Justin] Morneau hits it out." Asked if he was a predicting a Morneau home run on Sunday, Gardenhire said: "I'll predict that every day." He went on to say, "I guarantee, I'll get it right about 30 times." Redmond said batting third doesn't change his approach. "I've hit seventh a lot, and there are always guys on base then, too," Redmond said. "Where you are in the lineup isn't relevant. But batting in front of Morneau, you should see more pitches." The bullpen, meanwhile, could be in a precarious position after each member was forced into action during Saturday's contest. Anderson wasn't concerned, though, saying each could pitch again on Sunday. "They all say the more they throw, the better they are, so they are going to get their chance," Anderson said. Gardenhire, however, didn't indicate that each pitcher was available. "I think our bullpen would say they are fine," Gardenhire said. "[Dennys] Reyes probably no; [Craig] Breslow, we'll have to check out; [Brian] Bass, even though he only threw to one hitter, that's quite a bit; [Matt] Guerrier is fine; I think Jesse [Crain] could go back; [Juan] Rincon is iffy; [Joe] Nathan is fine." Gardenhire said Glen Perkins and Kevin Slowey will each be in the bullpen during Sunday's game as "protection," in case the team needs them.
Thor Nystrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.