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.

Cubs to activate Craig Kimbrel on Thursday

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The Cubs will activate reliever Craig Kimbrel ahead of Thursday afternoon’s game against the Braves, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reports.

Kimbrel, 31, ended a seven-month stint in free agency, agreeing to a three-year, $43 million contract with the Cubs earlier this month. He has made four minor league appearances, allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.

With an aggregate 3.96 ERA entering Wednesday, the Cubs’ bullpen has been among the better bullpens in the league. Adding Kimbrel, one of the greatest closers of all-time, certainly can’t hurt and will give them some stability in save situations.