Mike Berardino / St. Paul Pioneer Press
OAKLAND, Calif.—Joe Mauer insisted on playing all three games of the Twins' final road series in Oakland this weekend. His playing time for the final seven-game homestand, however, remains part of an ongoing conversation with the 35-year-old first baseman. With his eight-year contract expiring after the season, Mauer has said retirement is among the options he will consider.
OAKLAND, Calif.—The champagne was on ice in the home clubhouse. The bin of goggles was in place. Even the special instruction sheet had been distributed to the media regarding postgame access. Everything was in place Sunday afternoon, Sept. 23, for the Oakland A's to celebrate the clinching of their ninth postseason berth in the past 19 seasons but their first since 2014. Then the Minnesota Twins, so miserable on the road this season, refused to play their part.
OAKLAND, Calif.—Miguel Sano never made it to the Bay Area. Instead, the Minnesota Twins third baseman returned to the Twin Cities on Wednesday, Sept. 19, to undergo additional tests on his troublesome left knee. "He's continuing to complain about discomfort behind his left knee," Twins manager Paul Molitor said Friday, Sept. 21, before the Twins' late game against the Athletics in Oakland. "It seems he was getting a nerve-jolt sensation at times. It wasn't re-aggravated by playing (Tuesday). It's just kind of persisting."
DETROIT—Eddie Rosario, limited to designated hitter duties for the Minnesota Twins since aggravating his balky right quadriceps on Sept. 7, returned to left field Monday, Sept. 17, against the Detroit Tigers but exited in the fourth inning with a re-aggravation of the muscle. As he tried to plant and spin upon corralling Jim Adduci's single into the gap, Rosario slipped to the turf. Before collapsing in a face-down heap, he flipped the ball toward center fielder Jake Cave to avoid a two-run inside-the-park homer but was still charged with his ninth error.
HOUSTON—Twins reliever John Curtiss checked off a bucket-list item on Sunday when he performed the national anthem before Triple-A Rochester's penultimate game of the season. Curtiss, a country-music songwriter who plays guitar and sings in a rich baritone, made it through the song in 68 seconds without a single mistake. The only blip was feedback during rehearsals that left his guitar without amplification.
MINNEAPOLIS—Jake Cave and Tyler Austin made a beeline for the Oakland A's dugout before batting practice this week to catch up with an old friend: A's first-base coach Al Pedrique. The two ex-Yankees spent parts of a combined eight seasons playing for Pedrique as they climbed through the minor league system. "Great kids," Pedrique said. "Those kids play hard. They're fun to work with and fun to watch."
MINNEAPOLIS—Two weeks after being traded into a pennant race with the Oakland A's, Fernando Rodney returned to Target Field for the first time Thursday, Aug. 23. As the 41-year-old reliever did his early running on the warning track, he kept exchanging bellows with his former bullpen mates on the Minnesota Twins' side. As it was during Rodney's brief time with the Twins, there was much laughter. "We're like family," Rodney said. "Good teammates. We had a lot of fun here, me and those guys."
MINNEAPOLIS—If this is it for 2018—and possibly for his Minnesota Twins career as well—how will Ervin Santana look back at his fourth season with the club? "Well, ups and downs," the 35-year-old right-hander said Sunday, Aug. 19, after landing back on the 10-day disabled list with discomfort in his surgically repaired right middle finger. "For me 2018 was an up and down year. A lot of bad experiences happened to me."
MINNEAPOLIS—Before this homer-happy series against the Detroit Tigers, Eddie Rosario had gone nearly seven weeks with just two home runs. The Minnesota Twins' left fielder matched that total with two swings, including his tiebreaking blast off Alex Wilson in the eighth inning of a 5-4 win over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, Aug. 19. Rosario, who also homered Friday, pushed his team-leading total to 22. It was Rosario's fifth career homer on a no-ball, two-strike count. Three of those have come this season.
DETROIT—Through four innings Sunday afternoon, Aug. 13, Kohl Stewart was cruising in his big-league debut. Pounding the strike zone with his 93-mph sinker and keeping the Detroit Tigers honest with just enough off-speed offerings, Stewart had a one-run lead and had thrown just 47 pitches while allowing just three balls to leave the infield. Then came the fifth and a slow-drip disappointment that sent Stewart and the Twins to a 4-2 loss at Comerica Park.