I've never made it a secret that I love great pitching. Of course, I love it when our boys execute great hitting and running and scoring and all that. But when our pitchers go deep into games and keep the opponents from executing their own hitting and running and scoring, well, I get a little...um, flushed. Mmmmm, I love snuggling up with a great pitching performance.
Carl Pavano's complete game and Nick Blackburn's eight shutout innings were hot. Or, rather, "hawt." And the fact that it was the White Sox that they owned made it all that sexier. Rawr. It's totally cool to have a crush on both of them -- this is baseball love after all. In fact, I wouldn't mind if all the pitchers started flirting with me by pitching gems.
Ozzie Guillen made some funny comments after Thursday's game (I'll try to paraphrase, but I don't know if I'll do a good job because I never understand what he's saying anyway). He said that the Twins were a bunch of "sardines" and "circus midgets" and they still beat his team. I think his point was that all the big, burly boppers (Morneau, Mauer, Thome, Kubel) were gone and all that were left were the Revere- and Casilla-sized guys. And, like the piranhas of the past, the little ones earned Ozzie's respect ... and annoyance.
In order to make room for Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Glen Perkins, and Joe Mauer to come off the DL, the Twins had to move some guys to AAA. Dusty Hughes and Brian Dinkelman have been outrighted to AAA. This removes them off the 40-man roster so Nishioka and Mauer can be re-added. Chuck James was optioned to AAA for Glen Perkins.
Joe Nathan flew back to Minnesota from Fort Myers. He says he's ready to come back. Gardy wasn't convinced and wants him to report to Rochester for a rehab stint. Can you imagine that conversation? "Hey Gardy, I'm ready to go." "Uhhh...no, Joe, I think you need more time." "No, skip, really. I'm good." "No, Joe. You really need to get more pitches in." "Awww, c'mon skip, I don't wanna go to Rochester. Paleeeeeeese let me stay?" "Joe...now get your butt to Rochester and stop complaining." "Ooh-kay. Rats!"
Friday is Joe Mauer Day 2011! Even though there have been plenty of fans commenting on blogs and calling into sports talk show who are frustrated with his inability to play, most fans are really looking forward seeing him again.
He had a press conference on Thursday where he tried to explain the cause of his injury and why it took so long to return. He made it very clear that he did not have Lyme disease, or any other disease for that matter. He indicated that the rehab from his off-season knee surgery didn't go as planned, and his legs were weak because he was really suffering from post-surgical pain. Plus, the timing of that nasty flu bug probably didn't help any either, although Joe insists that his legs felt weak before he caught it.
Listing the injury as "bilateral leg weakness" was probably a mistake in retrospect. The Twins had to list something on the transaction, and since they didn't really know exactly what was wrong, that's what they wrote down. But doing so created a lot of unintentional angst among fans.
Folks understand things such as "broken fibula" or "strained oblique." "Bilateral leg weakness" doesn't mean anything at all except that both legs feel weak. Additionally, most fans also understand the cause of most muscle strains or tissue sprains -- there's usually an event to point to. Even Jim Thome's continuing back troubles are easy to figure out -- he's got a bad back and that's that.
However, when the ambiguous "bilateral leg weakness" was the announced disability for Mauer, most fans ran to the internet to look it up. And the internet wasn't particularly helpful. There are probably a million causes for bilateral leg weakness, and some of them are pretty scary. Which led many fans to believe that Joe and the Twins were hiding some serious condition. I can't tell you how many hits this blog received by people Googling "Joe Mauer Lyme Disease." I never said he had it; I merely listed several of the causes I found in my Googling to illustrate that the symptom could have meant anything.
At any rate, he says he's still not 100%, but he is ready to play. Welcome home, Joe.