--RHP Joe Nathan was the Twins' closer Sunday in Toronto, but manager Ron Gardenhire said Monday afternoon that wouldn't be the case Monday night if the Twins needed another save. Nathan threw 31 pitches while earning his first save since Oct. 3, 2009, and Gardenhire said that's too many to allow back-to-back outings as the right-hander works his way back from having Tommy John surgery last March. As it turned out, the Twins fell behind early Monday and never caught up.
--RF Michael Cuddyer didn't play Monday at New York, but manager Ron Gardenhire said that had nothing to do with Cuddyer's left foot, which bothered him for much of spring training before and after he had a plantar wart removed from the sole. Instead, Gardenhire said he simply wanted to find a way to get DH Jim Thome in the lineup against 24-year-old New York starter Ivan Nova. Thome hit a two-run double in the fourth inning.
--C Joe Mauer went 0-for-4 on Monday, making him 1-for-11 (that one hit a single) to start the season. Mauer missed much of spring training while taking a cautious recovery from offseason arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. During that time, he was more concerned about his ability to get his legs in shape for daily catching duties than his timing right at the plate. Mauer has played in three of the team's first four games of the season, sitting out Sunday afternoon in Toronto.
--DH Jim Thome hit a two-run double off RHP Ivan Nova in the fourth inning Monday night to cut New York's four-run lead in half. That made manager Ron Gardenhire's decision to get Thome in the lineup Monday look like a smart one. Gardenhire said he hopes to get Thome 250 to 300 at-bats this season, and so long as everyone is healthy those will only come by sitting another player. On Monday, that player was RF Michael Cuddyer.
"Tonight's a night I'd like to see (Thome) up there," Gardenhire said before Monday's game. "This is good stage for him."
--LHP Brian Duensing will get his first start of the season Tuesday at Yankee Stadium, the same place where his 2010 season ended. Duensing gave up five runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings in the Twins' Game 3 American League Division Series loss in the Bronx last year, and he said he spent a good amount of time over the winter replaying that game in his head. On Tuesday, the lefty will be pitching on nine days of rest, but he said that doesn't concern him. He threw two more bullpens between starts than he normally does, and he even had pitching coach Rick Anderson stand in the batter's box during his last session. Not that that it was necessarily a good thing.
"I almost killed him," Duensing said. "It was a fastball, and it was about at his head. I almost dropped (the ball) when I was coming back with it, but instead of stopping my motion, I decided to continue with it. He was already backing up, thank goodness, but it was high and tight. I felt bad. The next pitch was the hardest thing I had to do, trying to throw another pitch after that. I was in between laughing and like crying and sweating all at the same time. It was bad."
BY THE NUMBERS
6-31 -- The Twins' record in the Bronx (regular season and postseason) since manager Ron Gardenhire took over in 2002.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"I really don't feel like we think there's that mystique over us. Every time we come in here, every time they come to our place, we feel like we can beat them." -- LHP Brian Duensing, on the team's feelings about playing the Yankees.
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