ARLINGTON -- The Twins and Rangers are both currently in first-place in their respective divisions. But they also could be competing against each other for the second seed in the American League Playoffs.Currently the AL East-leading Yankees and the AL Central-leading Twins have a better record than the Rangers, which would give those two teams homefield advantage in the postseason. But the Twins hold only a half-game advantage over the Rangers heading into Wednesday's contest. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and Rangers manager Ron Washington both said this week that their clubs are not looking at the race for homefield advantage, instead focusing on their current task at hand, and that's continuing to pick up wins as they chase a division crown. "We just want to win a game [Wednesday], that's what we're worried about -- winning this one and moving on to [Thursday]," Gardenhire said. "You've just got to play it out and see what happens."
Twins grab lefty reliever Flores off waivers
ARLINGTON -- Following injuries to Jose Mijares and Ron Mahay, the Twins were down to just Glen Perkins as the lone left-hander in their bullpen.But on Wednesday the Twins added a second lefty to their relief corps, claiming left-hander Randy Flores off waivers from the Rockies. Flores, 35, was 2-0 with a 2.96 ERA in 27 1/3 innings with Colorado this season. Opponents are hitting just .224 off of Flores this season, but he has allowed 22 hits and 13 walks in 47 appearances. The Twins had been scouring the waiver wire for left-handed relief help due to the injuries. Flores was designated for assignment by the Rockies on Friday. He's making $650,000 this season and will be a free agent at year's end. "You would like to have situational lefties that can come in," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Flores. "We believe in our righties, and our righties should be able to get lefties out. In some of these circumstances, you're still going to see Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier and Jon Rauch in the eighth inning, and they're going to face lefties and righties. But when you lead up to it, there might be a big at-bat here or there where you might want a lefty to face a guy." Perkins had spent the majority of the season in a starting role at Triple-A Rochester for the Twins and is not necessarily a prototypical fit for the left-handed specialist role. Flores provides the team someone with experience in that type of role, and he is no stranger to pitching in the midst of pennant races either. He was a member of the 2006 Cardinals team that won the World Series, going 1-0 while pitching 5 2/3 scoreless innings for St. Louis in the postseason that year. "He knows how to pitch," Gardenhire said. "He can spin the ball. I've watched video of him today already, he can locate. He can pitch inside on lefties, and he can spin it. He knows what he's doing; he's got a track record." To make room for Flores on the 40-man roster, the Twins moved Mahay from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. Mahay suffered a tear in the rotator cuff in his right shoulder last Saturday when he stumbled off the mound to field a grounder. He will likely need surgery to repair it Flores didn't arrive in time for Wednesday's 4-3 loss to the Rangers. So a corresponding move on the 25-man roster waited until after the game. Right-handed reliever Anthony Slama was sent back to Triple-A Rochester. The Twins faced Flores back in June when the Rockies played the Twins at Target Field. Jim Thome has three career plate appearances against the lefty, going 0-for-1 with a walk and sac fly, and he had positive things to say about Flores' stuff. "He's been effective against me, I know that," Thome said. "He's your left-handed guy that can come in, and he throws strikes. I remember facing him and he had a good slider, very good arm angle and good arm action. And he's a veteran guy. Hopefully he can come over and fit in well, that we can make him feel comfortable. That's the main thing."
Thome sits with soreness after hit-by-pitch
ARLINGTON -- Jim Thome had originally been slotted as the designated hitter for the Twins on Wednesday, but he's still battling some soreness in his right thigh after getting hit with a 97-mph fastball in Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Rangers.Thome said that he tried to run out on the field Wednesday afternoon, but he couldn't get his leg loose. So manager Ron Gardenhire instead shifted Jason Kubel to the DH spot and slotted Jason Repko in right field. Thome got hit with a first-pitch fastball from Rangers closer Neftali Feliz when he pinch-hit with two outs in the ninth inning on Tuesday. Thome, who represented the tying run, was hit right after pitching coach Mike Maddux made a visit to the mound to talk with Feliz. So there were questions as to whether the pitch might have been intentional. "I don't know," Thome said. "That's the thing. You have to go ask him. I will say it leaves the thought in your mind, I guess. But who knows? I can't really answer that to be honest. It doesn't feel good, I'll tell you that." Gardenhire wouldn't speculate as to whether the pitch was intentional, but he said that Texas manager Ron Washington would not have authorized for his closer to hit Thome, unless there was a beanball war going on. And Gardenhire emphasized that there was no beanball war going on in Tuesday's contest. "I know Washington and trust in him enough to know that he will never say, 'Drill this guy,'" Gardenhire said. "I know that for a fact." While Thome was not in the starting lineup, he was considered available to pinch-hit if needed.
In one week, rosters will expand with September callups. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that the club has had preliminary discussions about who might be coming up, but the organization will have official meetings once they return from this road trip. One certainty is that the Twins will have a third catcher to help give Gardenhire more flexibility with Joe Mauer and the ability to use him as a DH on days he's not behind the plate, so that means Jose Morales will likely rejoin the team at that time. ... Shortstop J.J. Hardy continues to battle some soreness in his left wrist, but he was in the starting lineup on Wednesday. ... Former Twins third-base coach Al Newman has been named the head baseball coach at Apple Valley High School in Apple Valley, Minn., and Gardenhire was happy for one of his former coaches. "No doubt that he'll do a very good job," the Twins manager said. "He's enthusiastic, and he'll get to meet high school umpires -- that will be an adjustment. "
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.