Suzuki stays in lineup; Pinto will catch Deduno

Suzuki stays in lineup; Pinto will catch Deduno

MINNEAPOLIS -- Kurt Suzuki has struggled against Rangers left-hander Joe Saunders throughout his career, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire kept him in the lineup on Wednesday. He wants to start Josmil Pinto behind the plate on Thursday to catch right-hander Samuel Deduno.

Gardenhire joked that Suzuki was due for a few hits against Saunders despite poor numbers against him, coming mostly when Saunders was with the Angels and Suzuki was with the A's.

"He's 2-for-31 with a homer so I'll just tell you the numbers, but he's catching," Gardenhire said. "He's due. He told me that last night. He told me, 'I'm due, skipper, so put me in there.' But I put him in there because he's been swinging great. He's hitting .340 off left-handed pitching for the Minnesota Twins this year, so that's what I'm going by."

Gardenhire added that Pinto will start in Thursday's day game against the Rangers, as he's been paired up with Deduno in recent starts. Deduno has fared well with Pinto this year, posting a 2.70 ERA in five appearances compared to a 4.50 ERA in six appearances with Suzuki behind the plate.

"There's definitely that tomorrow," Gardenhire said. "I wanted to try to find a way to get Pinto in there [at designated hitter Wednesday] but using two catchers is always risky. But as we go along here, I'll definitely put them both in the lineup anyways because Pinto is going to get his swings."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. Alex Smith is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.