June 18, 2009

Crain and Span gone, Perkins back and Pridie makes a visit

First thing's first... Yesterday, I had a post ready to be posted and for some reason decided against just waiting until 12:00 am Wednesday to post it, I decided to schedule it to be posted at 5:00 am. Silly me, I didn't even realize that the article was never actually posted (accidentally had it set to go at 5:00 pm, instead of am), which is why there was never a post up yesterday. And since it was about Tuesday's game, I figured that it's probably worthless to even post it. That's just a "my bad" on my part.


Glen Perkins came off of the disabled list on Tuesday, meaning someone had to be taken off of the roster. Speculation grew that one of Denard Span or Michael Cuddyer would land on the disabled list otherwise catcher Jose Morales would be sent back to Rochester just days after being promoted. But none of those things happened.

Instead, the Twins made a surprise move by optioning struggling relief pitcher Jesse Crain to Triple-A Rochester. Crain is in his 6th year with the Twins, which made people question whether or not he had any minor league options remaining. Obviously he did and will now try to get back on track in the minor leagues.

Crain was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2002 draft. He spent the majority of his time in the minor leagues as a closer, as he was primed to be the ‘closer of the future’ after Eddie Guardado’s tenure with the Twins was finished. Joe Nathan derailed those hopes and dreams, but Crain successfully found himself as one of the more reliable Twins relievers and was an integral piece to a respected Twins bullpen.

Crain’s career took a big hit in 2007 after he was diagnosed with a torn labrum and torn rotator cuff. The surgery to repair these injuries has been regarded as the death to pitchers, as it has a very, very low recovery rate. Crain missed moss of the ‘07 season, but surprisingly returned in ‘08 and put up fairly successful numbers.

Everything was looking great for Crain this Spring, he was primed to breakout and rightfully claim the 8th-inning setup-man duties. Unfortunately, he was never consistent and continuously found himself in trouble, trouble that he created himself, not the kind of trouble he was used to handling when coming into the game in a high-pressure situation.

Some have given their thoughts on Crain, some think he’s injured, while other’s just think he’s lost his approach to retire left-handed hitters, but the Twins are hoping Crain’s just in need of a wake-up call, something they’re currently going through with infielder Alexi Casilla. With Crain’s slight drop in velocity this season, it’s hard not to wonder if he’s injured. But it can also be him just not trusting his stuff, which has effected his performance, which has effected his confidence. Confidence could also be his problem when facing left-handed hitters, which is something he’ll definitely work on with Bobby Cuellar in Rochester.

Perkins came back strong in his debut, giving the Twins six inning of two-run ball to pick up his first win since April 19th.

After the game, the Twins placed Denard Span on the disabled list with an inner-ear infection. He left the Twins in the midst of their 10-game road trip with another spell of dizziness, last week, so the move didn't come as a surprise. Span first experienced the symptoms in May, causing him to miss a few games at the time, but he thought the symptoms had subsided. After another spell, the Twins took the time to figure out exactly what is wrong with him.

The infection is usually something that lasts only a few weeks, so the Twins are hopeful that he'll be able to return to the big league's when he's eligible on June 25th.

In the meantime, the Twins called up Jason Pridie from Triple-A Rochester to take his spot on the roster. Pridie's season has been nothing short of a disaster and he's likely here to just fill in and either pinch run or play defense in late-inning situations. Delmon Young, Carlos Gomez and Michael Cuddyer should continue to receive the bulk of the starts, with maybe an off-day here or there.

Pridie has hit .255/.285/.333 at the top of the Red Wings order this season, and continues to swing at just about everything that is thrown at him. He does have ok power and utelizes his speed well, but he really needs to get on-base more.

Pridie will be optioned to Rochester when Span returns and probably won't see anything more than one or two starts and a few pinch-hitting and defensive substitution appearances when he's up.

Game Ball #66
June 16, 2009 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Joe Mauer - Catcher
Line: 4-4, 2 runs, double, rbi

Game Ball #67
June 17, 2009 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Michael Cuddyer - Right Field
Line: 2-2, triple, 2 walks