Morneau has hot bat, but glove wowing Twins
Gardenhire impressed by resurgent first baseman's diving plays
MINNEAPOLIS -- Justin Morneau was impressive again at the plate on Tuesday night with three hits against the White Sox, but it was his defense that caught the eye of Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.
Gardenhire saw Morneau make several diving plays at first, which indicates he isn't worried about the concussion-like symptoms that have plagued him in the past.
Morneau has started 36 of the club's 37 games, with only one of those starts coming as a designated hitter. It's been a big difference from last year, when Morneau began the year at DH for precautionary reasons and made a career-high 34 starts there.
Morneau, who turned 32 on Wednesday, has also been heating up at the plate. He extended his hit streak to 11 games by going 2-for-5 on Wednesday and leads the Majors in May RBIs with 17.
"He's playing well and swinging well," Gardenhire said. "He's healthy, which allows him to do all the extra work after games in the weight room, doing all the little things that he had to back off of because of the injuries. He looks good and feels great -- and it's his birthday -- so he's got a lot of things going."
Dozier, Plouffe get a break in finale
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins gave second baseman Brian Dozier and third baseman Trevor Plouffe a rest in the series finale against the White Sox on Wednesday afternoon.
Jamey Carroll made the start at second base and batted leadoff in Dozier's place, while Eduardo Escobar started at third base and hit ninth against his former team. Escobar, along with left-hander Pedro Hernandez, was acquired in the trade that sent to Francisco Liriano to the White Sox before last year's non-waiver Trade Deadline. Escobar connected on his second home run of the season in his first at-bat.
Dozier, who turned 26 on Wednesday, has been scuffling recently, hitting just .115 (3-for-26) with no walks over his past six starts. He's hitting .256 with a .280 on-base percentage in 18 games since moving to the leadoff spot in mid-April, and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he wants to see a bit more production from Dozier in the leadoff spot.
"He is trying to keep the ball out of the air," Gardenhire said. "He's definitely trying to do that, but it has to happen on the field more than anything else. He just has to go out there and figure out a way to cover the ball a little bit more."
• Outfielder Darin Mastroianni, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on April 16 with a left ankle stress reaction, had his walking boot removed over the weekend, but he didn't feel right when testing his foot during drills this week, according to Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony. Antony said Mastroianni could be placed on the 60-day DL if he doesn't improve.
• Right-hander Cole De Vries is set to make his third rehab start on Wednesday night with Triple-A Rochester. De Vries, on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 30 with a right forearm strain, previously made rehab starts with Class A Advanced Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain. He's expected to throw about 90 pitches with the Red Wings.
• Reliever Tim Wood had an MRI exam on his right shoulder in Rochester, N.Y., on Wednesday. Wood, on the 15-day disabled list with a right rotator cuff strain retroactive to March 24, felt discomfort in his right arm and had his 30-day rehab assignment rescinded last week. Wood, who is out of Minor League options, had a 6.75 ERA in seven appearances with Triple-A Rochester before detecting an issue with his right biceps. The Twins expect to hear the results of his MRI exam on Thursday.