Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Rough day at the office

Monday was not a good day for the Twins.

Not only did they get shut down by the personification of a nonentity (that description is probably an oxymoron, but so be it) and literally throw the game away in the field, but they learned that Jason Castro isn't coming back as expected from his knee problem. And Frank Quilici, a beloved player, manager and broadcaster of the 1960s and 70s, died.

Start with Castro. Their No. 1 catcher was eligible to come off the disabled list today, but instead he's to have surgery for the third time on his right knee. This time it's for his meniscus, a piece of cartilege. It didn't respond as expected to a cortisone shot, so here comes the knife.

Four to six weeks is the prognosis. I'll wager on the longer time span, given Castro's fairly extensive history with that joint.

So Mitch Garver and Bobby Wilson get a genuine opportunity. We haven't really seen as much of Garver in the 10 days as I expected -- Wilson started four games, I believe, and seems to be particularly paired with Fernando Romero.


Quilici was a utility infielder who didn't hit much -- lifetime batting average .214, with five homers in a five-year career. He was part of the 1965 pennant winners' second base melange, but I remember him largely as a defensive sub for Harmon Killebrew when the slugger was playing third base. (Quilici, according to Baseball Reference, played third in 159 games but started only 31 of those games.)

He got the manager's job in midseason 1972 when Bill Rigney got the ax, less than two years after his final game as a player. He got three full seasons in as skipper and wound up a little south of .500.

Then he joined Herb Carneal in the radio booth; in his ghost-written autobiography, Herb said Frank was his favorite broadcast partner.

Quilici seems to have been a easy fellow to like. That isn't necessarily a plus for a manager, but I don't know that the early 70s Twins were going anywhere under any manager. He is the one guy Tom Kelly played for in the majors, and he is the last manager to play Rod Carew regularly at second base.


As for Monday's game: Ugh. Logan Morrison botched up a bunt play -- looked to third, realized he wasn't throwing out the speedy Dee Gordon, then threw the ball down the right field line, which scored Gordon with the only run of the game. Gordon reached on a double on which Eddie Rosario appeared to get a poor jump. Later in the inning Max Kepler lost a ball in the lights, which was ruled a single and got Trevor Hildenberger charged with an earned run as well as the loss. Ugly inning.

Dick-and-Roy were insisting earlier in the game that Morrison is a good defensive first baseman, and that is indeed his reputation, but he hasn't been very good afield with the Twins.

And Wade LeBlanc ... well, I looked him up on Baseball Reference. This is, somehow, his 10th major league season, but that really overstates it. He has less than five years of service time, which means he's been not only bouncing between organizations (seven organizations, with some doubling up) but between those major league clubs and the minors.

Left-handed and breathing. Those are his credentials. And he shut down the Twins. It's one thing to be stifled by Shohei Ohtani; it's another to be this futile against Wade LeBlanc.

LeBlanc's travels: He signed with the Angels in the offseason of  '13-14. The Angels waived him in June, and the Yankees claimed him. The Yankees released him two weeks later, and the Angels promptly re-signed him. That's not unprecedented, but it's unusual.

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