MINNEAPOLIS -- The selections for the 2012 All-Star Game will be announced on Sunday, but it didn't stop Twins manager Ron Gardenhire from giving his opinion on Wednesday about which Twins he thinks are deserving of the honor.
Joe Mauer, who was second in the voting among American League catchers in the last ballot update on Monday, remains an obvious candidate, alongside outfielder Josh Willingham.
But Gardenhire said there are a few other Twins who at least deserve consideration to represent the Twins on July 10 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
"Willingham has done really well," Gardenhire said. "We've had some guys in the bullpen who have had a really nice first half. I know a guy like Ben Revere might not get noticed or Denard Span. I think Span, man, might've been our best player in the first half this year. He's been consistently getting it done. I'd sure like to see him get a look. Benny is having a heck of a first half. And Joe Mauer is hitting three-whatever and getting it done, and you don't see many catchers doing that."
Among bullpen arms, Gardenhire pointed to left-hander Glen Perkins and right-hander Jared Burton. Burton has a 2.90 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 31 innings, while Perkins has a 2.84 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings.
"There are some people out there who have played really well," Gardenhire said. "Josh Willingham has had a heck of a first half and probably gets the most notice on our baseball team. So we've had some good performances. And I'm probably forgetting a couple. Perkins and Burton have thrown really, really well."
Robertson nervous, but impressive in debut
MINNEAPOLIS -- Reliever Tyler Robertson made history Tuesday night when he became the first Twins pitcher to record three strikeouts in one inning in a Major League debut.
Robertson struck out all three batters he faced in the eighth inning of Minnesota's 3-2 loss to the White Sox. He got Alejandro De Aza swinging, Kevin Youkilis looking and Adam Dunn swinging.
"That was fun to see," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You never know what you're going to get that first outing. We asked him after the fact if he was nervous, and he said, 'Absolutely.' But he maintained his composure. Three strikeouts -- you can't do much better than that as a pitcher."
Robertson admitted he did have butterflies out there, but said he was able to settle in despite the nerves.
"I was nervous, but it was a good kind of nervous," Robertson said. "I was confident. I've been waiting for this moment for a long time, and I felt like I was ready. But I mean, you can't prepare for pitching in front of that many people if you've never done it before, and it got loud, and I loved it."
Revere excelling at the plate, on basepaths
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins outfielder Ben Revere has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball this month -- he was tied for the Major League lead in hits with 35 entering Wednesday -- but has also been getting it done on the basepaths.
He was tied for the lead in hits with Angels rookie Mike Trout, and is second only to Trout in stolen bases with 11 in 13 tries in June.
Revere, who led the team with 34 stolen bases as a rookie last season, has 15 on the year to rank tied for fourth in the American League despite playing in just 41 games entering Wednesday.
"He's pretty good at anticipating," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "But it's a learning process. There's times where he'll take off and you say he has no chance, but he outruns the ball sometimes, which is nice to have that kind of makeup speed where you can outrun that mistake."
Part of that learning experience comes with knowing when to run, as it's obviously easier to steal on a breaking pitch than a fastball.
"He's getting better at reading breaking-ball counts," Gardenhire said. "Reading when a guy is throwing curveballs or balls in the dirt. So he's getting better at it. It's a work in progress."
Manship optioned to Triple-A, Waldrop recalled
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins optioned reliever Jeff Manship to Triple-A Rochester after the right-hander allowed three runs on five hits in the sixth inning of the Twins' 12-5 loss to the White Sox on Wednesday.
Minnesota will recall right-handed reliever Kyle Waldrop to take his place on the roster. Waldrop will be available for Friday night's game against the Royals after Thursday's off-day.
Manship, 27, posted a 10.27 ERA with five strikeouts, three walks and four homers allowed in eight appearances totaling 10 2/3 innings.
"Jeff has been kind of scuffling," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We've all seen that. He hasn't been able to get through innings. All his pitches are blending together. So he's got to get back to slowing the ball down and locating the ball better. So we'll send him back down there to get going."
Waldrop, meanwhile, has pitched well at Triple-A Rochester, with a 1.26 ERA, five strikeouts and five walks in 14 1/3 innings. The 26-year-old was likely to make the club out of Spring Training, but suffered a right elbow strain in late March.
"Waldrop is back healthy," Gardenhire said. "He's throwing the ball well. We'll see how he does up here."
Minor Leaguer Bargas dies of brain cancer
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins Minor League pitcher Paul Bargas passed away Tuesday night after battling a rare form of brain cancer. He was 23.
Bargas, who was acquired by the Twins in a trade with the Rockies before the 2011 season, began experiencing headaches that offseason, but reported to Fort Myers, Fla., for Spring Training in March. But he complained of severe headaches and disorientation upon his arrival and was eventually diagnosed with primary central nervous system lymphoma.
He battled the disease for more than a year, as he went through chemotherapy at UCLA Medical Center in California.
"He's battled this thing off and on," assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "He's had some setbacks. I got a message from our scout John Leavitt on Monday that he had taken a turn for the worse. And I got the news [Tuesday] night he had passed away.
"But when we were in Anaheim on the last trip [in early May], John Leavitt, who did a great job keeping in touch with Paul and his family, and I went to UCLA Medical Center to see Paul. He hadn't eaten in a few days, but when we saw him, he was in really good spirits. We were there for two hours. Every time we got up, he kept saying, 'I'm all right, I'm all right.'"
Antony added that even though Bargas never threw a pitch for the Twins' organization, he was still a part of the Twins family.
"The thing he talked about the most was, 'I can't believe you guys traded for me and I never played a game for you guys, but you treat me like family,'" Antony said. "And I said, "You are the minute we draft you or trade for you.' He was an unbelievable person. I'm serious. There was a never a 'Why me?' in him."
A native of Perris, Calif., Bargas is survived by his wife, Victoria. The Twins will announce funeral arrangements once they become available.