Notes: Twins renew rivalry with Tribe

Notes: Twins renew rivalry with Tribe

MINNEAPOLIS -- It will be a zero-tolerance four games for the Twins and Indians this week. Major League Baseball has seen to that.

In a letter that accompanied a fine for his May 5 ejection against the Indians, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire learned that the league has already issued him a warning. Pitchers who intentionally hit batters or any retaliation by the hitters will result in immediate ejections.

"They will handle nothing," Gardenhire said without revealing the letter's exact contents. "First sign, everybody goes."

A small incident broke out during the last meeting of the two clubs May 5, won 9-0 by the Twins at the Metrodome. Two Minnesota batters were hit by pitches, but no warning was issued by umpires until after Shannon Stewart was hit on the elbow by a Jason Davis fastball in the seventh inning.

At that point, Gardenhire was ejected for throwing his cap and arguing. Stewart later bumped Davis at home plate while scoring before the two exchanged words, which cleared the benches. No punches were thrown, but Stewart was fined $1,000 for the bump. He is appealing the penalty.

Stewart won't bump into Davis this series, as the hurler was sent to Triple-A earlier this week.

"They were saying that the reason why was because it was Cleveland and the Twins," Stewart said. "They're worried about what's going on. It's the first time I've been fined by the league for a situation like that."

Going back to 2001, bad blood has existed between the AL Central rivals. It started when the Twins were trying to knock of the Indians off the top of the heap, and now Cleveland is trying to do the same to Minnesota. Although the names and faces have changed over the years, the tension remains.

Both sides have also exchanged words through the media this year. It started in Spring Training when Cleveland starter C.C. Sabathia said he "hated the Twins."

"When you play teams 19 times, that's what happens," Gardenhire said. "If they really want to talk about controlling these things, then don't play each other 19 times. Cut all that back and start playing other teams."

When a bench warning is issued during games, pitchers are usually automatically ejected and serve five-game suspensions for throwing at a hitter. The manager is also ejected along with him, and also faces suspension.

So expect everybody to be on their best behavior.

"We haven't stirred anything up yet, other than me getting thrown out and them hitting us," Gardenhire said before joking. "We're going to play baseball. If boxing turns out, that's fine too."

Punto out: Twins second baseman Nick Punto was given the day off Sunday because of a bone bruise on his right thumb. Luis Rivas started in his place.

"He's fine. He could play batting left-handed, I think," Gardenhire said. "Why take a chance? I'm not going to mess with that. I don't want him to go out there today and get jammed up and really be bad for two or three days."

Punto had just returned to action Friday after missing three games vs. Toronto with a right calf strain.

Down on the farm: Triple-A Rochester right-handed pitcher Travis Bowyer was named the Twins Minor League Player of the Week. Bowyer allowed one run in four innings of relief last week, but is 1-1 with a 2.05 ERA this season.

Coming up:: Kyle Lohse will pitch Monday's 6:05 p.m. CT series opener at Cleveland against right-hander Scott Elarton.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.