Mike Berardino / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS—Luke Weaver could tell the difference in St. Louis Cardinals camp this spring. With Lance Lynn no longer around, there was a void that went beyond the starting rotation. "He always had a big voice in the clubhouse," Weaver said of his fellow right-hander. "He knew what to say. Every day he had some jokes. Not having that guy across the locker room and not hearing him was different, but players come and go with different teams and this is part of it. I know the Twins got a good guy over there and a heck of a pitcher."
MINNEAPOLIS—Fourteen years and one week after his first career hit, Joe Mauer secured No. 2,000 on Thursday night in much the same fashion. Facing Chicago White Sox left-hander Aaron Bummer in the seventh inning of a tight game, Mauer worked the count to 2-and-2 grounding a 93-mph fastball up the middle. The two-run single doubled the Twins' lead and sent them toward a 4-0 win at Target Field, which was the part Mauer no doubt liked the most about what he had called "a nice little moment."
Usually it's the hitters that will tell a pitcher when he's finished. For Twins left-hander Zach Duke, it was his wife. This was back in the summer of 2013, and Duke, a key part of the Pittsburgh Pirates rotation from 2005-10, was desperately trying to make it back to the majors as a 30-year-old starter. After Duke and his 8.71 earned-run average were released that June by the Washington Nationals, he found himself in Triple-A with the Louisville Bats. It was the former Kristin Gross who gave her husband an invaluable dose of tough love.
NEW YORK — Miguel Sano appears to be running out of time to reclaim a regular playing role for the Twins, even if they make it to the division series. Having last played on Aug. 19 due to a stress reaction in his left shin, the power-hitting third baseman was due to fly back to the Twin Cities on Tuesday night after dealing with a personal matter in New York, where he splits time during the offseason.