Indians at Twins: Critical Series in July


The Indians started to do the roster shuffle Sunday morning when they optioned outfielder Shelly Duncan  to Class AAA Columbus so right-hander Jeanmar Gomez  could be activated and start against the Orioles. There will be even more moves before today’s day-night doubleheader against the Twins. Left-hander David Huff will be recalled from Columbus and will start the first game. Fausto Carmona will start the second game, but he has to be activated from the disabled list. There are plenty of candidates, including utility man Luis Valbuena and outfielders Ezequel Carrera and Travis Buck. Grady Sizemore’s bruised right knee suffered Sunday will influence that decision, don’t be surprised if he is headed to the DL, again. The move to activate Carmona will probably be made between games of the doubleheader. Huff is likely to be sent back down because Acta said he anticipates Gomez staying in the rotation in place of injured Mitch Talbot. However, if Huff pitches well, don’t be surprised if they go with the hot hand.

…The Indians have lost six straight at Target Field and nine of their last 12 games in Minnesota. They’re hitting .224 (37-for-165) against the Twins this year. Michael Brantley leads the way at .368 (7-for-19) with one homer and three RBI. Carmona, Tomlin and Chris Perez are a combined 0-3 against Minnesota this year. 

… The Twins have won 10 of their last 16 games after Sunday’s 4-3 win over the Royals. Twins are hitting .281 (47-for-167) against the Indians this year. They’ve outscored them, 23-13. Ben Revere is hitting .385 (5-for-13) against the Indians in 2011.

…In my own personal opinion, this series will decide whether the Indians are buyers or sellers at the trading deadline this year.

Pitching matchups:

LHP David Huff (first start) vs. RHP Anthony Swarzak (2-2, 3.38) Today at 1:10 p.m.

RHP Fausto Carmona (4-10, 5.78) vs. RHP LHP Scott Diamond (first MLB start) Tonight at 8:10 p.m.

RHP Justin Masterson (8-6, 2.80) vs. LHP Francisco Liriano (6-7, 4.76) Tuesday at 8:10 p.m.

RHP Josh Tomlin (11-4, 4.03) vs. RHP Nick Blackburn (7-6, 3.99) Wednesday at 1:10 p.m.

Twins Injuries:

  • RHP Scott Baker (flexor strain) left the July 5 game, and he was scratched from his scheduled July 10 start. He was placed on the disabled list July 17, retroactive to July 7.

  • CF Denard Span (concussion) went on the disabled list retroactive to June 7. He was playing catch as of June 23. He had a setback over the July 2-3 weekend and cut back on his workouts. He began working out again July 4, and he took batting practice for the first time July 5. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Rochester on July 17.

  • OF/DH Jason Kubel (sprained left foot) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 31. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Fort Myers on June 28, but he re-injured his foot June 30, irritating his plantar fascia. He resumed his rehab assignment with Class AAA Rochester on July 17.

  • 1B Justin Morneau (herniated disk in neck, strained left wrist) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 10 because of the wrist problem. He had surgery June 29 to fix the neck problem. He was cleared to being non-baseball workouts in mid-July, and he hopes to return sometime in August.

  • RHP Kevin Slowey (strained abdominal muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 21. He made rehab starts for Class A Fort Myers on June 25 and June 30, and he started for Class AAA Rochester on July 5, July 10 and July 15.

Twins News/Notes:

  • RHP Joe Nathan was moved back to the closer spot Saturday and earned his first save since April 8 in a 4-3 victory over Kansas City. He recorded another save on Sunday in another 4-3 win over the Royals, the 251st save as a Twin. He’s one shy of Rick Aguilera’s team mark.

  • RHP Matt Capps has gone 0-2 with two blown saves, two saves and an 11.11 earned-run average since blowing a three-run lead in an 8-7 loss to Milwaukee on July 2.

  • RHP Scott Baker was placed on the disabled list after Sunday’s 4-3 victory over Kansas City because of a flexor strain. The move is retroactive to July 7, when he missed his last start. Baker was scheduled to pitch Game 1 of Monday’s double-header with Cleveland; instead, the Twins called lefty-hander Scott Diamond up from Class AAA Rochester to take his place.

    Diamond, a Rule 5 draft selection last summer, will be making his major league debut. He is 4-8 with a 4.70 ERA in 17 starts with the Red Wings.

  • INF Matt Tolbert was optioned to Class AAA Rochester so the Twins could call up another pitcher for today’s double-header today.


  • LHP Chuck James was recalled from Rochester to take a spot in the bullpen. James, 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 26 appearances with the Red Wings, tossed five scoreless innings for the Twins earlier this season.
  • CF Denard Span and OF Jason Kubel began rehabilitation assignments with Class AAA Rochester on Sunday night. Manager Ron Gardenhire said he doesn’t want them back until they are hitting.

    Kubel has been out since spraining his left foot on May 30; Span hasn’t played since June 6 because of a concussion.

  • 1B Justin Morneau said he still has a numb forefinger, but the strength in his left arm has improved since having surgery June 24 to repair a ruptured disc in his neck.

    Morneau said he hopes to start doing light baseball activity on Monday but must be cleared first by doctors. He is expected to be back in mid-August.

The Indians must play well this series… or… ehem…