Payback coming? Twins manager unhappy with Cleveland catcher
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How unhappy are the Twins with Cleveland catcher Yan Gomes?
Manager Ron Gardenhire said Sunday on his radio show on 1500 ESPN that "payback" could be coming, adding his guys "won't forget" a play that happened the last time the teams met. This could make the Indians visit to Target Field from July 19-21 an interesting one.
Gardenhire took issue with how Gomes handled a play at the plate involving Ryan Doumit in the Twins' 5-3 win on June 23 in Cleveland.
Doumit scored from first base on Oswaldo Arica's ninth-inning double off the left-field wall. Gomes attempted to block the plate without the ball as Doumit approached and Doumit attempted to go in standing up, spraining his right ankle in the process.
Doumit originally missed the plate but was able to dive back and touch home before Gomes could tag him out.
"We had a great view from the dugout and the catcher didn't have the ball and at the last second he stuck his foot back on top of home plate," Gardenhire said. "Just kind of reached out behind him and stuck his foot there before the ball got home. That's kind of one of those not good plays in baseball. (Doumit) ends up spraining his ankle and we were pretty upset about that. ...
"I was pretty disappointed in that because he ends up hurting my catcher on a silly play and I don't like stuff like that. ... I did not like the way the kid stuck his foot out and tried to trip our guy. That's not good baseball as long as I've been in the game."
It appeared that on-deck hitter Trevor Plouffe did Doumit no favors by not making it clear that he needed to slide at home. Gardenhire called that "a little communication thing" but put much of the responsibility on Gomes.
"In that play, the plate was open, the ball wasn't going to be there and the next thing you know the guy sticks his leg out," Gardenhire said. "(That) is not a good thing in baseball. It's kind of one of those unwritten rules that blocking the plate without the ball or trying to trip somebody ... (you look for) payback."
Asked what that meant, Gardenhire said: "He'll have to block the plate again sometime."
In most situations like this, Gomes could end up getting hit by a pitch as payback, but Gardenhire indicated the Twins would look for a way to even the score on a similar type play. The manager also made it clear he wasn't talking about doing something dirty.
"Those are things you put in your memory banks and you don't forget things like that," he said. "If that's the kind of player the kid wants to be, and you can get somebody hurt like that, then you have to pay attention to those things. A good hard slide at home plate, that's all we're talking about. We don't want to see people get hurt, no one wants to see anybody get hurt. But you don't do things like that and there are unwritten rules. Our guys won't forget it."
Asked how long payback can stick in the memory bank, Gardenhire said: "You never know when a play might come at home plate again. I know this: Our players will remember what happened and they won't take it for granted that this guy is not going to do something silly."
Doumit has played in three of six games since he twisted the ankle but one appearance came as a pinch hitter. He caught Friday night against Kansas City, did not play Saturday and was the designated hitter on Sunday.
Joe Mauer, who went 0-for-15 in the Twins' four-game series against the Royals, had caught five of the past six games entering Monday night's game against the New York Yankees at Target Field.
This is less than ideal for the Twins, who like to use Mauer as the designated hitter on occasion and get him a rest from catching.
Doumit was in the lineup Monday night at catcher and Mauer began the game on the bench.