Notes: Twins mulling final reliever

Notes: Twins mulling final reliever

MINNEAPOLIS -- With less than 24 hours before the start of Game 1 of the American League Division Series, the Twins had yet to finalize their playoff roster.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was expected to meet with general manager Terry Ryan and some other members of the staff Monday afternoon to make final decisions, but Gardenhire said nothing would be announced until Tuesday, when rosters must be submitted to the league office by 10 a.m. CT.

Gardenhire did confirm the Twins will go with 11 pitchers and 14 position players on the 25-man roster. With all the position spots finalized, the toughest decision for the club seems to revolve around one spot in the team's bullpen.

Players that have already locked up spots as part of the pitching staff are Johan Santana, Boof Bonser, Brad Radke, and Carlos Silva, who will make up the club's starting rotation, and Joe Nathan, Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, Pat Neshek, Dennys Reyes, and Juan Rincon, who will handle relief duties.

That leaves three rookies -- Matt Garza, Willie Eyre and Glen Perkins -- in the running for the final spot in the team's bullpen.

Eyre, 1-0 with a 5.31 ERA in 42 appearances out of the bullpen, has the most experience of the three. But rather than go with another right-hander, the Twins could choose to go with Perkins to give them two lefty relief options. Perkins, called up on Sept. 19, has limited experience but has impressed the coaching staff with his ability to step up in big situations.

Garza had been talked about as a possible Game 4 starter for the ALDS, but Silva's strong performance against the White Sox on Sunday seemed to eliminate that idea. Garza instead could be used as another long guy in relief.

As to which way the club is leaning, the lack of conversation on the topic made it difficult to discern. Gardenhire didn't want to answer any questions that related to the roster.

"We'll let all that information come out tomorrow," Gardenhire said.

Speed bump: There had been some thought that infielder Alexi Casilla might be a final addition to this year's playoff roster, but that was ruled out Monday.

Before Sunday's game, Gardenhire talked about the benefits of having Casilla, not only for his speed, but provide additional middle-infield depth. But continuing problems with a sore neck eliminated Casilla from consideration.

"If Casilla was healthy, I was definitely thinking about it," Gardenhire said. "But it's not going to happen because he's not healthy."

Casilla, catcher Chris Heintz and the two pitchers who don't earn the final spot on the postseason roster will travel with the club in case of an injury to another member of the roster.

Reyes ready to go: The Twins got a last-minute scare as to the health of their pitching staff in Sunday's regular-season finale against the White Sox.

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Left-hander reliever Reyes left the game in the seventh inning after taking a line drive from White Sox outfielder Rob Mackowiak off the outside of his left ankle. Reyes had x-rays and a CT scan taken of his foot after the game, and the results showed no breaks.

"I was a little worried when I got to the hospital and had a lot of pain every time I stepped but everything came out good," Reyes said.

Reyes has been a big factor in the Twins' bullpen success this season. Reyes finished the year with a 0.89 ERA with 50 2/3 innings, ranking him sixth all-time for lowest ERA in a season among pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched.

Different kind of workout: The Twins were scheduled to have their official workout Monday morning.

But instead of taking to the field for batting practice or stretching, the players gathered down on the field at 10 a.m. to speak with media, and that was it for the day.

With only one off day in the entire month of September, Gardenhire chose to give his players a day of rest Monday to prepare for the playoffs rather than to push them too hard.

Scouting Zito: One player that might have a little insight into hitting A's starter Barry Zito is catcher Joe Mauer.

In his first trip to the All-Star Game this July, Mauer got to catch Zito for an inning and learned quite a bit about Zito's trademark curveball.

"It's got a lot of break," Mauer said of the pitch. "But he's got other pitches to go with it -- slider, fastball, and changeup. With him, you just have to take each at-bat and try to do what you can to get a few runs for [Santana]."

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Excitement hangover: One day after their remarkable division championship, the Twins remained a bit amazed at how all the events of Sunday unfolded.

"I think a lot of guys are still in shock at all the stuff that happened yesterday," Mauer said with a laugh.

It was not only a thrilling achievement, but the Twins also made history, becoming the first team to win a division/pennant while spending only one day in first place the whole season.

As for any concerns of a letdown going into the playoffs after such an emotional week with the team taking part in two celebrations, Gardenhire laughed at that notion.

"I don't think you are going to have to use a cattle prod to get them going." Gardenhire said of his club. "This is playoff baseball. I don't have to worry about that part of it, they will be excited."

Twins tidbits: Radke threw a bullpen session Monday and reported no problems, keeping him in line to make the start in Game 3 of the ALDS on Friday at Oakland. ... Two Twins players earned honors Monday for their outstanding performances in September. Santana was named AL Pitcher of the Month and Bonser was named AL Rookie of the Month. ... Justin Morneau finished the season with 130 RBIs, tying him with Larry Walker for first among Canadian-born players for most RBIs in a single season. ... The bat Mauer used to win the batting title Sunday will be put on display at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.