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Gardenhire defends using cautious approach with ailing players

The Sports Xchange
Roster Report · Gardenhire defends using cautious approach with ailing players · Notes, Quotes

Manager Ron Gardenhire defended the way he is handling injuries that forced six Twins regulars to miss Thursday's doubleheader loss against the Tampa Bay Rays.

"As a manager, you can play people when they say they can play," Gardenhire said. "You cannot force people out on the field; either they can play or they can't."

The Twins lost the opener 15-3, then dropped the nightcap 6-1.

When Delmon Young pulled himself out of the lineup because he couldn't get loose before Wednesday's game, the Twins' injury problems came under larger scrutiny from media and fans. Young officially has a strained oblique muscle, but Gardenhire said after Wednesday's game, "There was no soreness."

Perhaps because of such discrepancies, the Twins decided to make head athletic trainer Rick McWane available to reporters Thursday morning. Also on the disabled list are Joe Mauer (leg weakness), Kevin Slowey (shoulder) and Tsuyoshi Nishioka (broken leg).

"(McWane) can give you more; he's there with them," Gardenhire said. "I get it second-hand."

In addition to the players on the DL, the Twins were without designated hitter Jim Thome (strained oblique) and outfielder Jason Repko (strained quadriceps).

"If a guy's hurt, he's hurt," Gardenhire said. "I don't question heart or desire in this clubhouse. These guys have it. I know they want to play."

The manager's job, Gardenhire said, is to manage for the entire 162-game season. That requires caution.

"If we just run people out there, whether they're hurt or not, and we lose them for two months, that really doesn't do any good," he said. "We do the best we can."

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