Thursday, August 31, 2017

Notes, quotes and comment

Thumping on the White Sox -- possessors of the second-worst record in the majors -- is what a team with playoff aspirations should be doing.


Joe Nathan is going to "retire as a Twin" today Friday. The former bullpen ace never found a new team after the Nationals cut him loose early in the season. He's pushing 43 now and has had two Tommy John surgeries.

I will always respect the stars who try to milk one more year out of their talent, who will play until nobody will give them a uniform even if they are no longer what they once were. That's Nathan right now. He was great a decade ago for the Twins, and I will remember him as one of the best relievers in the game long after I forget his late career wanderings from team to team looking for one more opportunity to pitch.


If the season ended today, the Twins would be in the playoffs. (And so would each of their minor league affilates, from Triple A to Rookie ball.

There are pros and cons to having all the minor league teams continuing to play. The advantages would include the so-called "culture of winning," which is rather undefinable, and having the continued opportunity to send an injured player on a quick rehab assignment. Also, the owners and managements of minor league affilates like winning and appreciate being with a major league organization that frequently gets them into the playoffs.

But it also makes it a bit touchier to make mass callups for the Sept. 1 roster expansion.

The priority isn't getting Rochester the International League title; it's getting the major league team a wild card berth. But one doesn't want to undermine the affiliates unnecessarily.

Example: With Jason Castro sidelined still by his concussion, the Twins have no reason to feel guilty about having Mitch Garver on their active roster. Cory Provus, the radio play-by-play guy, speculated last night that Anthony Recker, the catcher acquired last month as a throw-in when the Twins traded for Jamie Garcia, might be called up as insurance behind Garver and Chris Gimenez.

Probably won't happen, in part because the Twins would have to open a 40-man roster spot for Recker, in part because they don't need to use him at the major league level at this point, and in part because that would create a roster issue for Rochester -- and promoting a catcher to take Recker's space would have the same effect down the chain.

It's a good problem to have.


One guy who won't be called up or pitch in the minor league postseason is primo pitching prospect Fernando Romero. Romero has been shut down at Double A Chattanooga after a difficult August (8.38 ERA for the month). He's thrown 125 innings this season after working 102.1 the past two seaons combined because of injuries, including Tommy John surgery.

He's on the 40, so a call-up was to be expected. But he's pretty clearly gassed.


The Twins this week named four prospects to the Arizona Fall League roster: pitchers Tyler Jay and Tom Hackimer (both relievers), outfielder LaMonte Wade and multi-position guy Chris Paul. Paul and Jay missed considerable time this year with injuries, so the AFL gives them a chance to catch up on innings and at-bats respectively.

They have two roster spots yet to fill. Who gets tabbed may depend on injury status.


The Houston Astros have been cleared to play in their home city again this weekend, so presumably Minute Maid Park and its supporting services and infrastructure are good to go, or at least will be by Saturday. That's a good sign as the Houston area deals with the aftermath of Harvey.

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