Capps elated to join contender; Rauch doesn't talk, but 'OK' with deal
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MINNEAPOLIS -- New Twins closer Matt Capps arrived to Minneapolis shortly after noon on Friday, and he had the attitude you'd expect from a man who just got traded to a contender after spending six years in baseball exile with the Pirates and Nationals.
In fact, Capps actually called manager Ron Gardenhire on Thursday night shortly before the news became public. While they were on the phone, the Twins were also attempting to call Gardenhire to let him know about the trade.
"I just wanted to call him and tell him how happy I was and excited to be apart of his ball club," Capps said. "It's hard to be a baseball fan and not know about the quality of the organization here in Minnesota and his reputation, and we have guys like Morneau and Mauer and the group that's here. So now, to be a part of it, I just wanted him to know firsthand how excited and happy I was to become a part of it."
Trading away one of baseball's top catching prospects, Wilson Ramos, was difficult for the Twins' front office, but the addition of Capps provides much-needed depth and stability to the bullpen, assuming everything goes according to plan.
"You put (Capps) at the end there, and you put Rauch where we kind of signed him for, that's what we got him over here for," Gardenhire said. "You put (Rauch) in a role there, and it should shorten the ballgame for us. Then hopefully Capper will get it done at the end. We like our chances. He throws the hell out of the ball."
Jon Rauch found out about the trade while at the Twins and Pins bowling event in Brooklyn Park on Thursday night. He ducked away before reporters and/or fans could bombard him with questions, and he declined to speak with reporters at Target Field on Friday as well.
"He was fine with it," Gardenhire said. "When we talked a long time ago and I told him he was going to be the closer, he told me he'll pitch anywhere I want him to, and that hasn't changed. He said the same thing again last night when I told him on the phone. He says, 'Gardy, wherever you want me to pitch, that's where I'll pitch.'
"I'm sure he's a little disappointed, but like I said, he's professional, and he wants to win."
Along with Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain and Jose Mijares, Rauch will help create a bridge between the sixth and ninth innings. Gardenhire said he will keep his options open in those innings depending on match-ups, rest and other factors.
"We figured we needed a little extra help," Gardenhire said. "We went through a couple of ballgames on the road trip where we thought if we had just one more guy here we wouldn't have to be worried about who's going to throw the sixth inning, or whatever. We've got the one more guy."
As for the potential awkwardness between current closer and former closer, Capps doesn't envision any issues.
"I know Jon a little bit just from playing against him over the years," Capps said. "I think bottom line, if we go out and put a ring on our fingers, neither one of us is going to care who does what."