Monday, August 20, 2012

Notes, quotes and comment

Nick Blackburn's
ERA since signing his
four-year contract:
Catching up on a baseball weekend:

Outrighted: The Twins on Monday outrighted both Nick Blackburn and Tsuyoshi Nishioka to Rochester.

This move takes both men off the 40-man roster. At this point, no corresponding 25-man roster move for Blackburn has been announced, although I suspect Liam Hendriks is the likely call-up; he could make the start on Wednesday that Blackburn had been scheduled for.

Nishioka was already in the minors on option; Blackburn had been optioned out earlier this summer. So the purpose in outrighting them was to take them off the 40 -- which serves two purposes.

First, it makes it possible to return (if and when healthy and ready) P.J. Walters and/or Carl Pavano from the 60-day DL, or to call up a minor leaguer not now on the 40.

Second, it signals that neither is in the plans for at least the remainder of 2012.

For 2013? Well, Blackburn and Nishioka are owed a total of some $8.5 million next year, or (easy math here) about 8.5 percent of the current payroll budget. That's a lot to walk away from. This move signals that it just might happen.

Curdled Melk: The Melky Cabrera suspension has turned into something more than our standard athletic-corruption story.

Turns out the surprise star and his cronies set up a fake website peddling a non-existent product in a failed attempt to establish that he had tested positive inadvertently.

Now federal investigators are involved. This one isn't going away anytime soon.

Affiliation preserved: The Twins and the Rochester Red Wings extended their working agreement for two years.

Keeping their Triple-A affiliation with the Wings was an under-the-radar priority for the organization this year. Mission accomplished.

With top affiliates Rochester and New Britain retained, the only expiring minor league affiliation left for the Twins is with low-A Beloit. Beloit is said to have the worst facilities in the Midwest League, and I don't think the Twins are adverse to shifting locales in this case.

Back in the cellar again: On Aug. 8, the Twins were in position to pull into a tie for third place in the AL Central. All they had to to was beat Cleveland.

They lost. And they've kept on losing -- they've dropped nine of 10 starting with that game. In those 10 games, the Twins have scored 33 runs and allowed 58.

Cleveland has been passed in the standings, but by Kansas City.

Day-to-day to the power of infinity: Denard Span last played Aug. 12, when he injured his collarbone/shoulder in an outfield tumble.

As of Sunday, he was still unable to take batting practice, so a return to action is nowhere in sight. Yet the Twins have not seen fit to put him on the disabled list. Assistant GM Rob Antony's rationale for this doesn't satisfy me.

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