The Free Press, Mankato, MN

May 15, 2009

Thoughts before the Yankees series

Delmon Young has left the Twins to be with his mother, who is apparently seriously ill. Jose Morales will take his roster slot while he's on leave.

The presence of a third catcher probably has Ron Gardenhire giddy. I'm not sure I see a real point in having Morales and Mike Redmond backing up Joe Mauer, even if Gardy has Mauer DH twice in the four-game series.

What piques my interest about this, however, is that it happens in New York, where the Yankees have both Jorge Posada and Jose Molina, their top two catchers, on the DL. They now have Kevin Cash and Francisco Cervelli handling the catching chores; Cash is an established nonentity and Cervelli is a probably overhyped prospect.

I doubt, however, that a trade between the Twins and Yanks is in the works. The Yankees are likely to stick with their in-house options and hope Molina and Posada return sooner rather than later. Besides, the Twins' primary need right now is bullpen depth, and the Yankees are weak enough in the pen that they might be a candidate to sign Luis Ayala if/when the Twins release him.

One assumes that Young's absence will open more playing time for Carlos Gomez. There's a good argument to be made — and Aaron Gleeman's been making it — that that should be the case anyway. But if the purpose of having both Morales and Redmond on the roster is to DH Mauer, Gomez still might be squeezed out by Jason Kubel.

• ESPN's Jayson Stark quotes a scout on Alex Rodriguez: "His defense has been terrible. He doesn't look like he could move off a dime. He's a dead-stand-up stationary third baseman right now. But his biggest problem, I think, is at the plate. He can't get to the low, outside fastball or the slider away. He normally takes those balls the other way, but he can't get there. And as word gets around the league, he may have more holes than he's ever had."

• The Twins won't see their old buddy CC Sabathia in this series. Which is good for the guys from Minny, because Sabathia is starting to crank it up. In his last two starts, both wins, he allowed two runs and nine hits in 17 innings while shaving more than a run off his season ERA.

• The latest flap involving the Yankees' high-priced tickets: The lower classes aren't permitted to get near the field during batting practice to plead for autographs. The Yankees regard it as trespassing. Said a Yankee exec this week: "If you purchase a suite, do you want somebody in your suite? If you purchase a home do you want somebody in your home?" I do believe you need an advance degree in arrogance to work for the Yankees these days.

e-mail Edward Thoma