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BASEBALL WHISPERS

Home runs still hard to come by in Minnesota

Twins' Target field remains a place for long fly balls to die.

April 16, 2011|By Phil Rogers
  • A view from center field at Target Field in Minneapolis.
A view from center field at Target Field in Minneapolis. (Jesse Johnson / US Presswire )

Target Field's reputation as a tough place for power hitters hasn't vanished. The Twins, A's and Royals combined to hit only three homers in five games there last week, with Jason Kubel hitting one ball to the warning track in right that teammate Danny Valencia thought was "going to be in the upper deck.'' …

Keys to the Indians' fast start — shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who has four homers and 14 RBIs and won a game with a squeeze bunt; 3-4-5 starters Justin Masterson, Josh Tomlin and Mitch Talbot; the bullpen trio of closer Chris Perez and lefties Rafael Perez and Tony Sipp, who allowed four hits in their first 17 innings; and greatly improved fielding, which manager Manny Acta is most happy about. …

John Lackey might have become the highest-paid pitcher to have been skipped for a start when he was healthy. The Red Sox pushed the $17 million man back from Wednesday until Tuesday after a rainout, which manager Terry Francona says was better than having the entire rotation get out of rhythm. …

While Cub fans bemoan Manny Ramirez's impact on the Dodgers sweeping Lou Piniella's team in the 2008 Division Series, no one lost more from L.A. adding a motivated and (likely) juiced Man-Ram than Bob Melvin. The Dodgers passed his Diamondbacks in September and he was fired 29 games into '09. …

Ramirez did call Rays manager Joe Maddon while the team was in Chicago last weekend, but Maddon says the retired slugger said only that he was "disappointed'' he had flunked a drug test and didn't feel the need to apologize. …

Phil Hughes was a savior for the 2010 Yankees but is a 2011 mystery, suffering from an unexplained drop in velocity. …

Mets manager Terry Collins is feeling Jerry Manuel's pain. He held a meeting after a Tuesday night loss to the Rockies, then saw his team get swept in a Wednesday doubleheader against the Rockies. Pitching remains the biggest problem.

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