ARLINGTON -- The Twins' bullpen has been through the ringer at Rangers Ballpark, as the starters have made brief appearances because of early-game struggles and an ejection. The club called up Kyle Waldrop on Friday to give the relief corps a fresh arm, but it still could use a lengthy outing from a starting pitcher.The Twins turned to rookie Cole De Vries on Sunday. No pressure, right? "We need a start," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said before the game. "That really takes care of bullpens. Good starts." Gardenhire said before Sunday's game that his bullpen is actually in OK shape. Alex Burnett won't pitch Sunday -- he went 2 2/3 in Saturday's 9-3 loss. Waldrop is iffy after going three innings Friday. Gardenhire said he'd have to see about Tyler Robertson, who went an inning Saturday. "We're better today than we were [Saturday]," Gardenhire said. Twins starters combined for 9 2/3 innings in the first three games of the series. That has taxed the relievers, who have combined to go 14 2/3 innings in three losses.
Mauer on verge of Twins catching record
ARLINGTON -- Joe Mauer was in the Twins' lineup Sunday afternoon at first base, meaning unless he entered at catcher during the game, he won't break Earl Battey's all-time games caught record until Monday night at Target Field against the Mariners.Mauer started at first so Justin Morneau could fill the designated-hitter role, not so Mauer can break the record at home, though it is a nice side effect. "If that works out that way where he gets to break the record at home, that's great," manager Ron Gardenhire said. Mauer passed Battey for games started at catcher with 795 on Aug. 18 in Seattle.
Diamond awaits word on appeal
ARLINGTON -- Twins starter Scott Diamond has stayed on his between-starts routine as he awaits Major League Baseball's decision on his appeal of the six-game suspension he received for throwing behind Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton's head on Thursday night.Diamond went through a heavy workout before Sunday's game. No word had come down on his appeal from the league office. His next turn in the rotation would be Tuesday, the fifth day of his suspension. If the appeal is upheld, that would push Diamond to Thursday afternoon against the Mariners. "Some things could change based on the appeal," Diamond said. "I'm going to do the same no matter what." Diamond has said since Thursday night that the pitch got away from him and that he was trying to work inside. Catcher Joe Mauer indicated in his postgame comments Thursday night that Diamond was protecting his teammate.
Span remains in lineup
ARLINGTON -- Twins center fielder Denard Span was back in the lineup for a second straight day on Sunday after skipping Friday's game.Manager Ron Gardenhire said it will stay that way unless Span says something. Span told reporters Saturday that he might not be 100 percent for the rest of the season after missing nine games recently with a collarbone injury. "I'm going to print Span at the top of the lineup, and if he can't play, he's going to have come in and tell me the rest of the way," Gardenhire said before Sunday's game, "Along with everyone else." Span has played in 107 of the Twins' 127 games this season. He is 3-for-10 against the Rangers with an RBI.
Manager Ron Gardenhire said he hasn't seen a trade like the one the Red Sox and Dodgers pulled off Saturday in a long time. The Dodgers acquired first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, pitcher Josh Beckett, outfielder Carl Crawford and former Twins infielder Nick Punto for James Loney and two minor leaguers. "That's a big trade," Gardenhire said. "We haven't seen that in 20 years."Gardenhire, not surprisingly, lauded the acquisition of Punto, who played for the Twins from 2004-10. "He's a great player for your team," Gardenhire said. "For offense. For defense. For your clubhouse. Bench wise. We have a lot of high respect for the kid." Assistant general manager Rob Antony said reports were encouraging for top pitching prospect Kyle Gibson in his first start for Triple-A Rochester. Gibson, coming back from September Tommy John surgery, went three innings allowing four runs. He's up to 24 1/3 innings this season and should make at least another start for the Red Wings.
Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.