He's no longer Everyday Eddie. That disappeared with the Tommy John ligament transfer surgery and subsequent rehabilitation.
But Eddie Guardado is recovered and has been productive in the Texas bullpen, and his homecoming to Minnesota can only help the Twins as they sprint through these final 30-some games to keep pace with the Chicago White Sox.
The Twins re-acquired their former closer on Monday, and the fact that it came one day after their bullpen melted down in a 5-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels was no coincidence.
Overall, the Twins' bullpen ranks eighth in the AL with a 3.95 ERA, and its bend-but-don't-break nature was stretched to the max over the weekend. They easily could have swept the four-game series from the Angels and, at the very least should have won three of four.
Guardado, 37, isn't the menacing closer he was in his last incarnation with the Twins, when he collected 116 of his career 187 saves. He was, though, 3-3 with a 3.65 ERA in 49 1/3 innings for the Rangers. And opponents are only batting .220 against him.
"He gets guys out," one American League scout said Monday. "If you were at a high school game and saw him, you wouldn't look at him first, second or third. But he throws strikes, and he gets guys out."
Overall, the Twins rank seventh in the AL with a 4.16 ERA, while the White Sox are fourth at 3.85. Chicago's bullpen also has been tighter than Minnesota's, ranking fourth in the AL with a 3.62 ERA.
Minnesota over the weekend started a brutal stretch in which it plays 24 of its next 30 games on the road. Of their final 32 games, the Twins play 20 away and 12 in the Metrodome. The White Sox have 19 road games remaining and 13 at home.
Likes: The dog days of August fading into the intensity of the final 30-game sprint toward the finish line. What fun September is as the playoff races take shape and the college football season begins. … Eddie Guardado in a Twins uniform again. … The apparent return of the 20-game winner. Arizona's Brandon Webb is at 19 wins and Cleveland's Cliff Lee is at 18 with a month still to play. … Blueberry season. … Fresh blueberries and raspberries over vanilla ice cream on a hot summer's night. Can't beat it (OK, that was me impersonating Larry King). … My old school, Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central High, coached by classmate Jack Giarmo, kicking off its football season Friday night at Erie Mason. Go get 'em, boys.
Dislikes: The final Red Sox-Yankees series in Yankee Stadium begins Tuesday night. Will the intensity remain the same in the new Yankee Stadium? You'd like to think so, but it's difficult to imagine it will be as loud there as at the old joint. … Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto: Strained elbow. … New York Mets' John Maine: Bone spurs. Ugh.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Time to love every man, woman and child
"Just forgive and let live for awhile
"Shake my head and wonder how much more
"The bells are tolling on the streets of the world
"What time is it, help me understand
"Why war is in the heart of man"
-- Buddy Miller, This Ol' World