All-Stars hope Twins bolster roster

All-Stars hope Twins bolster roster

MINNEAPOLIS -- With Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline looming, several Twins players made sure their voices were heard over the weekend. Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer and Joe Nathan all expressed their desire to acquire more talent in order to get Minnesota in a better position to make a playoff run.

During the team's recent road trip, all three said they'd like to see the Twins make a move. As they sit just a handful of games out of first place in the American League Central, the trio believes the Twins are just one piece away from being a playoff-caliber squad.

"The older you get and the longer you play the game, the more you realize you might not have that many chances to win," Morneau said. "As a player, I understand you need to look at this moment right now. And the front office, it's their job to look at the big picture. Obviously, we want to be able to win. But we'd just like to know when exactly it is that we'd like to go after it and really win."

The frustration of Morneau and his teammates may partially stem from last season, when Minnesota missed the playoffs by one game. Nathan feels like they were again just one move shy from making the postseason.

"I think a lot of us, having experience with what we went through last year coming down to a one-game playoff, we just know how important each game is," Nathan said. "Everything counts. I think last year really showed us that we can't take anything for granted and just try to do everything we can to make sure we're heading in the right direction."

The recent cry for help wasn't the first time Nathan voiced his opinion in regard to roster moves. In 2007, he and then-teammates Johan Santana and Torii Hunter were less than pleased when the team traded away second baseman Luis Castillo.

Two years later, it remains to be seen if Twins general manager Bill Smith will pull the trigger on a trade before the Deadline. But regardless of what happens, Nathan and Morneau won't hide their feelings on the matter.

"It's such a tough balance," Morneau said. "That's why I play first base and he's the general manager. He gets to make those tough decisions and I get to go out there and just try to hit a baseball."

Manager Ron Gardenhire said the recent comments haven't been a distraction for his club, and had no problem with his players speaking their mind. The Twins skipper says his club is still focused on the task at hand: taking care of an AL Central foe at home.

"It's silly to talk about what we don't have and what we might get. It doesn't make any sense," Gardenhire said. "They aren't here to help us tonight. We have to go out and beat the White Sox with these 25 guys right here. That's what we're going to try to do."

Pitching matchup
MIN: RHP Scott Baker (8-7, 5.04 ERA)
While Baker was dominant in the early innings of Thursday's game against the Angels, the righty ran into trouble in the fifth inning after a pesky Angels team scored two runs and continued to raise his pitch count. In five innings, Baker gave up two runs on six hits and struck out six for the no-decision. In 10 career starts against the White Sox, Baker is 4-3 with a 6.88 ERA. Yet, in his last start against the Sox, Baker pitched six 1/3 innings while giving up five runs on six hits for the win.

CWS: LHP Mark Buehrle (11-3, 3.28 ERA)
It seems safe to say Buehrle had a career start Thursday against the Rays. The left-hander became just the 18th pitcher to toss a perfect game. The Rays made very little hard contact, and Buehrle was in command of his changeup and curveball. In the bid for his first 20-win season, Buehrle certainly got off to a good start. He's faced the Twins three times already this season with mixed results. The left-hander gave up a combined two earned runs in his first two starts against Minnesota and earned two wins. But on July 12 he was lit up for eight runs in just 3 1/3 innings.

Gardenhire said reliever Jose Mijares has recovered from the dehydration problem that kept him out of Monday's game. Mijares became dehydrated during the game and was not available, but Gardenhire said Monday he should be fine. "No more Red Bull," Gardenhire joked. ... Minnesota has signed two more picks from the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, as they inked 45th-round pick Eddie Ahorrio, a right-handed pitcher, and right-hander Richard Calcano, taken in the 47th round. ... Minnesota hosted Chicago in the last series before the All-Star break from July 10-12. With the White Sox in town again for the Twins' first home series since the break, it marked the first time in Metrodome history the Twins have played host to the same team in back-to-back home series.

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Up next
• Wednesday: Twins (Francisco Liriano, 4-10, 5.56) vs. White Sox (Bartolo Colon, 3-6, 4.19), 7:10 p.m. CT
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Twins (Nick Blackburn, 8-5, 3.75) vs. Angels (Ervin Santana, 3-6, 7.29), 7:10 p.m. CT

Tyler Mason is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.