The Free Press, Mankato, MN

April 9, 2009

The Gardy Watch

Three games into the season is hardly enough to make a fair assessment of how Ron Gardenhire is going to handle his managerial options.

Still, it is worth noting that Delmon Young has sat twice, that Jason Kubel sat once, and the trio of Carlos Gomez, Denard Span and Michael Cuddyer haven't missed an at-bat.

I'm guessing — this being written in the very early morning hours of Thursday — that Young will be in the lineup for the Thursday nooner. Lefty Jarrod Washburn is starting for the M's, and he's no Eric Bedard, so it's not a certainty that Kubel will be the bench guy, although that's possible.

My guess is that it will be Cuddyer, but having said that ... Gardenhire seems to like Cuddyer in the No. 3 slot right now. Not as much as he likes Joe Mauer there, of course, but Mauer's not an option these days.


Gardenhire did something Wednesday he could hardly bring himself to do last season at all: He turned to Craig Breslow for a full inning in a "hold" situation. Breslow turned in a scoreless seventh inning, complete with strikeout of Ken Griffey Jr.

We'll see if this turns into any sort of habit. My guess is that Gardy used Breslow there only because Luis Ayala and Matt Guerrier each pitched the previous two days. If either of the two righties had been available, I think they would have gotten the seventh (with Crain being the default option for the eighth inning.)

For the record, Breslow had five holds last season. Two of them were what we might call "Dennys Reyes specials;" Breslow came in, got one out, and departed. Three were full innings; one came in the sixth inning, the other two in the seventh, as was the case Wednesday. It remains a sore spot in this corner that not once in 2008 did Gardenhire let Breslow work the eighth inning with a small lead. All those blown games ...

e-mail Edward Thoma