Notebook: Pavano looks to continue eating innings
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins are set to open up a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies, who are coming off a three-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Rockies will send RHP Aaron Cook (2-3, 4.76) to the mound to face Carl Pavano (6-6, 3.92), who has been absolutely fantastic for the Twins this season, not just with his sub-4.00 ERA, but also with his insatiable appetite for innings.
Pavano has thrown at least seven innings in nine of his 12 starts this season, and he has allowed two earned runs or fewer in eight of 12 starts.
He is also allowing fewer walks (1.46 per nine innings) than at any point in his career.
Coincidentally, Pavano, who has been in the Major Leagues since 1998, has only faced one current Rockies hitter during his career -- Cook. And he won't bat.
* Second baseman Orlando Hudson was hoping to come off the disabled list today, but he's still unable to swing left-handed. If it were up to Hudson, he would hit right-handed and play defense, but manager Ron Gardenhire doesn't feel comfortable activating the second baseman until he can swing from both sides of the plate.
The Twins are set to face three right-handed pitchers in this series -- Cook, Jhoulys Chacin, and the nearly-unhittable Ubaldo Jimenez -- meaning Hudson would hypothetically bat left-handed if healthy.
* Shortstop J.J. Hardy continues to rehab and rest his injured left wrist.
Hardy was originally instructed to wear a brace on his wrist as much as possible to immobilize it, but after chatting with doctors Hardy said they decided to let him go without the brace so his forearm muscles don't lose strength.
Hardy said he was overcompensating for the bone bruise last month after he came off his first DL stint, which caused other areas around his wrist to ache as well.
"He's got a while on the DL," Gardenhire said. "Just day-to-day, no swings, none of that. He'll be a while."
* When asked about hitting coach Joe Vavra working with Joe Mauer on pulling the ball more, Gardenhire said it doesn't necessarily have to do with the lack of home runs.
"It's how people are pitching him," Gardenhire said. "They're pitching him one way, and you've got to get to those balls, and (they're) just working on doing different things, getting the bat through the zone. I think Joe's swinging great. He's hitting some rockets, and he's on the ball as well as anybody on this team, hitting line drives and rockets everywhere."
It will be tough for Mauer to ever match his offensive output from last season, which is why his .319/.397/.451 line this year -- which nearly every player in baseball would gladly take -- looks so meager.
Not to mention, Mauer has only two home runs, and only 4% of his fly balls are landing over the fence, as opposed to 20% in 2009.
"The home runs will come. Just like we said a few years ago, we don't worry about Joe Mauer. There's a lot of other people you worry about, not Joe."