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Updated: June 17th, 2010 10:58am
Notebook: Joe Mauer gets rest as Twins face Ubaldo Jimenez

Notebook: Joe Mauer gets rest as Twins face Ubaldo Jimenez

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- In what may be one of the most anticipated pitching match-ups in baseball so far this year, LHP Francisco Liriano (6-3, 2.90) battles RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (12-1, 1.16).

Jimenez is coming off his worst start of the season. He allowed three earned runs, five walks, and five hits in six innings against the Blue Jays -- hardly an epic clunker. Prior to that, Jimenez hadn't allowed more than two earned runs in any of his 12 starts.

The biggest difference for Jimenez this season, at least from a statistical standpoint, is his reduced line drive rate -- only 12 percent of batted balls off Jimenez have been classified as line drives this season, as opposed to 19 percent last year, and the 19 percent league-average rate.

Jimenez faced the Twins in 2008, throwing seven innings and allowing only three earned runs, but he's reached a new level of dominance since then.

"One of the reports said it's like facing a closer for nine innings," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's not good. That's not the kind of report you want to look at.

"That tells you that he's electric. He's throwing a fastball 95 to 100 miles per hour with a hard hammer, and that's just great stuff."

Liriano has been filthy in his last two starts -- 15 innings, two earned runs, 10 hits, two walks, and 21 strikeouts.

This should be a good one.

That said, the Twins will have to find a way to scratch across a run or two without Joe Mauer, who is out of the lineup today.

"Mauer got a little beat up last night," Gardenhire said. "Took about 18 foul tips in the face, and he's feeling the effects today. He'll come off the bench and maybe get the game-winner."

Maybe it's a blessing in disguise. After all, Mauer has hit into 14 double plays this season, and Jimenez induces a ton of ground balls (55%).

OK, maybe not.

No roster move until Hudson works out in Philadelphia

The Twins will travel to Philadelphia after today's game without making a roster move with injured second baseman Orlando Hudson, Gardenhire said.

Hudson (wrist) has taken left-handed swings off a tee, but he's "definitely not fine. He just says he wants to save his bullets for the game. Well I want to see him shoot a few bullets on the field before we get to a game, so that's what we're waiting on. He needs to take some swings out on the field tomorrow, then we'll go from there."

Gardenhire's prerequisite all along has been Hudson's ability to hit left-handed.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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