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 — Stephen Gonsalves seems to be getting the hang of this primary thing. Staked to a four-run lead after watching the first inning from the bullpen, the Twins’ rookie left-hander picked up his first big-league victory with six scoreless innings in Wednesday afternoon’s 8-2 romp over the Detroit Tigers. He became the sixth Twins pitcher to reach that milestone this season, joining Fernando Romero, Gabriel Moya, Matt Magill, Kohl Stewart and Aaron Slegers.
DETROIT — As Brian Dozier slides toward an uncertain free-agent future with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Twins manager Paul Molitor has watched from afar while resisting the urge to reach out with some late-season encouragement. "I haven't communicated with him for a while," Molitor said Wednesday. "Caught a little bit of the game (Tuesday) night. Texted some early (after the July 31 trade). But he's on a team in a good spot. It's always what's ahead of you and not maybe what's behind you."
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.
MINNEAPOLIS — Eddie Rosario returned to the Twins' lineup for the first time in eight days Friday against the Kansas City Royals, but Miguel Sano and Tyler Austin will need more time. Sano's sore left knee will undergo "a few more tests," Twins manager Paul Molitor said, after an initial diagnosis was for a quick return after a bruised lower leg suffered on Tuesday night in Houston.
MINNEAPOLIS — Loyalty is important to Jose Berrios. That's why it was so hard for him to switch his representation to Wasserman Media Group this week. Melvin Roman of MDR Sports Management had shepherded the Twins' rising young ace from his senior year of high school in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, up through his selection with the 32nd overall pick and subsequent signing for a bonus of $1.55 million.
HOUSTON — Already mired in a lengthy batting slump, Twins third baseman Miguel Sano saw his season go from bad to potentially horrific with one awkward slide into second base. A motorized cart was summoned to remove Sano from the field Tuesday night after he suffered a lower left leg bruise on a wild pitch by Justin Verlander in the second inning. Sano extended his right leg on a hard, late slide but it was his surgically repaired left leg, tucked underneath his full body weight, that screamed at him after the play.
HOUSTON — Nearly five months ago, the Twins took two of three from the reigning World Series champions in a frigid April series at Target Field that left the Houston Astros grumbling about the schedulers. "A distant memory," Twins manager Paul Molitor called that series on Labor Day morning. Monday afternoon's 4-1 loss to the division-leading Astros at Minute Maid Park brought things up to date.