Twins without Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and J.J. Hardy against Dontrelle Willis

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Minnesota allowed 10 unanswered runs to Detroit last night to turn a 6-1 lead into an 11-6 loss and now the Twins are without Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and J.J. Hardy for this afternoon’s series finale.
Morneau is out indefinitely after leaving Tuesday’s game with back soreness. Hardy has a case of turf toe that had him running even slower than usual last night. And last but not least Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Mauer is simply “banged up and needs a day off from catching.” He had started 19 of the first 21 games.
Minnesota’s lineup actually doesn’t look all that terrible to me and there’s always a chance of Dontrelle Willis making it a moot point by just imploding, but the Twins’ defense probably isn’t going to do Carl Pavano any favors with Brendan Harris at shortstop, Luke Hughes at third base, Drew Butera behind the plate, and the combination of Delmon Young and Jason Kubel patrolling the outfield corners.
Should be an interesting afternoon matchup between the AL Central’s only above-.500 teams.

Cardinals shut down Carlos Martínez for two weeks due to shoulder issue

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.

Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”

Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.

Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.