Saturday, July 3, 2010

The return of the Hardy boy

Shortstop J.J. Hardy (pictured) is supposed to come off the disabled list today, with Matt Tolbert going on the DL himself.

And we'll get to apply the John Mitchell test to Ron Gardenhire's roster use. Mitchell was the attorney general for Richard Nixon who famously said: Don't listen to what we say, watch what we do.

Gardenhire has said a lot of things about using Michael Cuddyer at third base to open playing time for Jim Thome. First he said he wouldn't do it. Then he said he'd do it during the non-DH portion of the schedule (when the issue was keeping Jason Kubel in the lineup). Then he said Cuddyer isn't his regular third baseman and that Thome isn't capable of playing more than a couple days in a row anyway. Then he started Cuddyer at third and Thome at DH in four straight games.

Hardy's return frees Nick Punto to return to third base, which he plays at a much higher level than does Cuddyer. Thome, on the other hand, hits at a much higher level than Punto.

At this point, Gardenhire's proclamations about playing time don't carry a lot of credibility. Watch what he does; don't take stock in what he says.

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