Gardenhire hints at possible changes; 'We can't continue like this'
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When the first pitch is thrown Friday night in Seattle, the Minnesota Twins (6-18) will carry baseball's worst record and a 71-hour hitless streak into Safeco Field against the Mariners.
Manager Ron Gardenhire will miss the three-game series while attending his daughter's college graduation in Minnesota, but he said all he needed to behind closed doors in the clubhouse following Jered Weaver's no-hitter on Wednesday night.
"I said my piece for about 15 minutes and didn't calm down until I landed in Minnesota at about 6:30 in the morning," Gardenhire said in an interview with 1500 ESPN on Friday.
"You could call it talk. Talking is normally a conversation between two people. But no, nobody else was talking, believe me, I was doing the talking. ...
"After that no-hitter -- which is a tough one, because the guy really pitched well and all those things. And he's one of the best pitchers in the league, and he got us. Still all the little things, you hold them in, you hold them in until you can't hold them in any longer.
"I laid it on the line and probably hurt some feelings, which that's OK too. We have to play better. We have to get some things done here, and some people aren't living up to what we thought out of spring training, and there's going to be changes. There's no doubt there's going to be changes. We can't continue like this."
One of the changes being discussed is moving Joe Mauer up to the No. 2 slot in the batting order -- a lot occupied mostly by Jamey Carroll, who is hitting just .200/.301/.233. Alexi Casilla took over the No. 2 slot in Los Angeles, but he's hitting just .265/.286/.324.
Mauer (.302/.394/.407) has played in all but one of the Twins' 24 games this season, hitting third exclusively. Mauer does have 319 plate appearances in the No. 2 hole for his career where he has hit .317/.373/.507.
Scott Ullger will be the team's acting manager this weekend, and Gardenhire told him to "do what you think is right out there" with the lineup.
"Don't go too crazy here and make them all think we're nuts, but do what you've got to do, Scotty. We've got to win a ballgame."
Gardenhire added, "I'm kind of tired of hearing we're one hit away, tired of saying it to tell you the truth."
The Twins are also keeping a close eye on left-hander Scott Diamond, who owns a 2.84 ERA with 24 strikeouts and only five walks in 31 2/3 innings for Triple-A Rochester. Diamond did give up seven runs in 6 1/3 innings in his last start, however.
Diamond is scheduled to start Friday night for Rochester against Scranton, but it's possible his outing could be shortened in case the Twins need him to start at Target Field early next week.
As for any speculation that he may be on the hot seat, Gardenhire -- the 2010 MLB manager of the year -- said, "I'm accountable as a manager. ... It's not any fun for me, it's not any fun for the fans, and they don't deserve this. ...
"(GM) Terry (Ryan) and I have already talked today. We're going to try to figure things out. He's got to do what he's got to do, but I know I'm accountable. I put this ball club together out of spring training. We thought we took the best players, and right now it's not working out. ...
"If I'm a fan I'd probably doing the same thing. We're not playing very good baseball, we lost 99 games last year. ... I don't blame people for being upset. ...
"They can point it at me and I'll take it. I'll wear it all day long. I know the guys are trying, I know my staff's trying. ... If people are fired up at me, I understand."