Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dome Days Ahead

The Twins took batting practice on Wednesday, but that’s their last chance for awhile. They play day games for four straight days when they return home. Players don’t generally like arriving in the morning hours for batting practice, but that’s not the only problem this weekend.

The Vikings play an NFL game Thursday night, and the Gophers open their football season Saturday night, with three baseball games in between. That means the Metrodome stadium crew will be busy switching the field back and forth from football to baseball and vice versa. Painting (and removing) all the lines is a big job, and the pitcher’s mound must be rebuilt to major-league specifications each time. So the baseball field might not be ready in time for practice.

The Twins -- who will play three games in roughly 25 hours Friday and Saturday -- plan to limit their work to indoor cages, which isn’t the same, but it’s the best they can hope for until Tuesday. Just one of the disadvantages to sharing a stadium -- something that ends in two more years.

For now, “it’s a good thing we play on the turf,” Michael Cuddyer pointed out. “Can you imagine how torn up the field would get with two football games and three baseball games in three days?”

Tonight’s lineups for Santana vs. Sabathia (a terrific matchup that will be repeated in the Metrodome on Monday afternoon:)

Casilla 2b
Bartlett ss
Hunter cf
Morneau 1b
Cuddyer rf
White dh
Redmond c
Tyner lf
Punto 3b

Santana p

Sizemore cf
Cabrera ss
Hafner dh
Martinez c
Garko 1b
Gutierrez rf
Lofton lf
Gomez 2b
Blake 3b

Sabathia p