Notes: Incident passes, tirade replayed

Notes: Incident passes, tirade replayed

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has had quite a few memorable on-field tirades, and his meltdown in Monday's game might rank high on the list.

Gardenhire's tirade came following White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski's "clipping" of first baseman Justin Morneau's foot on a double-play ball in the sixth inning. And Gardenhire's very animated discussion with the umpires after the play ran on highlight reels across the country.

The Twins skipper said that he doesn't watch video of his arguments with umpires, but even he acknowledged that this one was a bit more spirited than most.

"Well, I don't know if I've ever been around that many umpires arguing," Gardenhire said. "My wife said, 'You look really mad,' and for her to say that, I must have looked mad."

Considering the type of rivalry that exists between the two clubs, there was some question as to whether the incident involving Pierzynski would hang over Tuesday's game. But the situation between the two clubs appeared to have subsided, at least for the Twins.

"That's over with," Gardenhire said of the situation. "That's been talked about around the world, but for us, that's over with now."

In regard to the tirade, Gardenhire said that umpire Greg Gibson's gesture of slashing his throat to quiet down the Twins dugout after the supposed "clipping" was what got him more irate than usual.

"I was really more talking about I didn't like the motion used, more than anything else," Gardenhire said. "I just wanted to make sure he knew I didn't appreciate it."

Gardenhire made sure to stress the fact that he felt Gibson was a good guy and just made a poor choice in motions to silence the Twins dugout. The Twins skipper also said he planned on talking with Gibson before Tuesday's game against the White Sox.

He didn't have that opportunity as Gibson was scratched from the umpiring rotation due to an undisclosed medical condition. Gibson is not expected to return for Wednesday's game with the White Sox, either.

But while the Twins players and Gardenhire appeared to move on from the incident, the fans at the Metrodome certainly did not.

A huge chorus of boos echoed throughout the building when Pierzynski's name was announced in the lineup and it was duplicated during the White Sox catcher's first at-bat.

Happy to be here: Ramon Ortiz is a genuinely upbeat person, so it comes as no surprise that he has taken the news of his demotion to the bullpen in stride.

Ortiz spoke about the transition for the first time on Tuesday, one day after learning the news in a meeting with Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson.

And while he admits it's not a move that he necessarily wanted to have happen, Ortiz is looking at it as an opportunity to correct the problems which caused him to go 0-5 with a 10.97 ERA in the month of May.

"It's not easy, but you see how I pitch in May," Ortiz said. "I don't pitch well in May and that's why I'm in the bullpen now. But I'm very happy because I know I'll come back to the rotation when I'm pitching well and I will win some games for the Twins."

This is not the first time in Ortiz's career that he's pitched out of the bullpen. In 2004, his final year with the Angels, Ortiz made 14 appearances in relief for the club. The right-hander was 1-2 with a 2.76 ERA over 49 innings.

"It's no big difference between the bullpen and starting pitching," Ortiz said. "As long as you help your team, it don't matter."

Despite his recent struggles, Ortiz said he doesn't feel he will need to change much to get back on track. Ortiz said he feels he needs to work on commanding his fastball down and away to help against right-handers, and this stint in the bullpen likely will give him a chance to do that.

Ortiz said he feels the timing of the move could be very helpful for a club plagued by injuries to the 'pen. So for now, he's ready to be a long reliever and help the club in whatever means he can.

"The only thing I can say is that I'm ready," Ortiz said. "I'm ready to pitch -- bullpen, starting, no matter what. And right now being in the bullpen, I'm happy."

Return delayed? The most talked about beard in Minnesota was noticeably missing on Tuesday afternoon, but catcher Joe Mauer still remained on the disabled list.

"It doesn't mean anything," Mauer chuckled when walking past a group of reporters. "It got more annoying than anything."

The expectation coming into the day was that Mauer likely would return on Friday for the start of the team's six-game West Coast trip. Some lingering soreness in Mauer's leg has put that a bit into question.

Mauer hit on the field with the club Tuesday but did not do any running due to the soreness. The plan by the club was to back off the work a little bit to see if Mauer's soreness diminished by Wednesday.

Gardenhire said that the team has discussed the possibility of getting another MRI exam on the leg before activating the catcher. It would be as a precaution to make sure most of the swelling and bruise has disappeared. Mauer was expected to be examined by team physician Dr. John Steubs on Tuesday night, and a decision likely would be made regarding the next step for Mauer.

Pitcher named: The Twins made the announcement after Tuesday night's game that right-hander Kevin Slowey will get the start in Friday's game at Oakland. Slowey was 6-2 with a 1.54 ERA in nine starts at Triple-A Rochester.

Surgery successful: Jesse Crain's shoulder surgery to repair tears in both his labrum and rotator cuff was completed successfully on Tuesday.

The surgery was performed in New York by Mets orthopedist and noted shoulder specialist Dr. David Altcheck. The damage found inside the shoulder during the surgery was similar to what the MRI showed.

"It was definitely an issue that had to be dealt with," Gardenhire said.

The plan now is for Crain to complete his rehabilitation in the Twin Cities. The expectation is that Crain will be ready to return in time for Spring Training next season.

Coming up: The Twins will close out their three-game series with the White Sox on Wednesday in a 12:10 p.m. CT contest. Right-hander Scott Baker will try to make it three straight Twins victories in his starts as he faces off against Chicago right-hander Jon Garland.

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