Notes: No rush to compete with moves
Guerrier progresses in Minors; Heintz may be third catcher
CHICAGO -- The Twins have been chasing the two teams ahead of them in the American League Central, the Tigers and the White Sox, for almost the entire season. And it seems like that will be the case again as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline quickly approaches.Detroit and Chicago have already started making moves. The White Sox, in particular, have made two trades over the past 48 hours, trading for backup catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. and acquiring reliever Mike MacDougal. And with the possibility of even bigger changes still to come for Chicago or Detroit, the Twins' likelihood to follow suit with some big name acquisitions appears to be quite slim. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire acknowledged that no matter what the other clubs in the division do over this next week, it won't seem to affect the plan of Twins general manager Terry Ryan, who will try to keep the club in the pennant race. "I don't think we've ever acted because of what somebody else has done," Gardenhire said. "If they go out and sign or make a big deal, do we have to go and try and match it? I just don't think that's the way we've ever worked." Part of the reason for the reluctance in the bidding wars is that the Twins' philosophy has always remained the same -- use young talent from the farm system to keep the club competitive. With the additions of some young talent, such as Jason Bartlett and Jason Kubel, helping to turn the club's season around, it appears the plan has been working again this season. One player who has been rumored to be of interest for the Twins is Washington Nationals outfielder Alfonso Soriano. But it's far from just the Twins interested Soriano, as rumors swirl of a possible deal with both the White Sox and the Tigers, as well.
"We want to build from within, and we're not going to give up the farm to go get a rent-a-guy," Gardenhire said. "We just haven't done it and I don't expect that to change. If something came up that looked better than you could imagine, then maybe Terry would do something then."And while a move might not be on the horizon, Gardenhire seems to be just as pleased to get a boost from within when other players return to the club in the near future, such as reliever Matt Guerrier and outfielder Torii Hunter, who the Twins are hoping to get back when he's eligible to come off the disabled list on July 31. "It would be kind of like a shot in the arm around the 31st, getting Torii back healthy," Gardenhire said. "If we can get a few of those guys back and stay healthy, then we'll be OK." Guerrier update: Progress continues for Guerrier in his rehab assignment with Double-A New Britain, albeit a bit slow. Guerrier pitched two innings for the Rock Cats in their 4-1 loss on Sunday, allowing one run on one hit while also recording one strikeout and a walk. "He's not real sharp right now," Gardenhire said. "He's got to stretch out a bit more." Gardenhire expects it to be about a week before Guerrier will be able to return to the club. The Twins would then like to trim their pitching staff down to 11 pitchers. The hope is to add a third catcher to the roster, possibly Chris Heintz from Triple-A Rochester, to allow Gardenhire an opportunity to put Joe Mauer in the designated hitter role on days when he's not catching without worry of having no backup catcher on the bench. Suspended: Two Twins Minor League players from the Venezuelan Summer League were suspended for 50 games for violation of Major League Baseball's Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Alfredo Martin and Jonathan Requena were among four players from the program that tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance. In 34 games with the VSL Twins club, Martin hit .204 with two homers and 16 RBIs. Requena had played in 51 games with the club and hit .225 with 20 RBIs and four doubles. Down on the farm: Heintz went 3-for-4 with an RBI as Triple-A Rochester defeated Louisville, 2-1, on Sunday. Mike Smith pitched six innings, allowing just one run on three hits while striking out nine. ... Brandon Roberts drove in the lone run for Class A Fort Myers as the Miracle lost to Palm Beach, 4-1. ... Dwayne White tallied four RBIs as Class A Beloit won, 5-2, at Clinton. Minor award: Rochester right-hander Mike Smith was named the Twins' Minor League Player of the Week ending July 21 as he went 1-0 in his only start. He pitched a complete-game shutout, allowing just four hits with two walks and 11 strikeouts. Smith leads the Red Wings in wins and was named Rochester's Player of the Month for June. Coming up: The Twins will take on the White Sox in Game 2 of the three-game series on Tuesday night in a pitching battle between two of the best in the American League. The league leader in strikeouts, Johan Santana, will take on Jose Contreras, who has dropped two straight decisions after his 17 consecutive regular-season win streak came to an end. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.