video thumbnail

OAK@SEA: Noesi hurls eight shutout frames vs. A's

Coming off his best outing of the season on Monday against the Angels, Twins right-hander Nick Blackburn hopes to carry that momentum into Sunday's series finale against the Mariners at Safeco Field and get his first win of the season.

Turning in his first quality start of the season, the sinkerballer tossed six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits to the Angels. However, Blackburn still took the loss, his third of the season.

He was hurt by former Twins center fielder Torii Hunter, who hit an RBI single and a two-run homer in the game.

"One mistake really hurt me in that game," Blackburn said. "It was a curveball to Torii and I shouldn't have thrown it. I've seen that guy plenty of times, and I should know better than that. It turned out to be a big mistake."

The right-hander will face a Mariners lineup that scored seven runs in Saturday's game and includes the hot-hitting Jesus Montero.

While Montero has spent much of the season as the team's regular designated hitter, he has begun to see more time behind the plate with catcher Miguel Olivo on the 15-day disabled list. So far, manager Eric Wedge has split the catching duties between Montero and John Jaso.

"He's still going to split time with Jaso, so he's not going to have to worry about carrying the weight of catching every day on his shoulders. We can pick and choose the spots he's going to play," Wedge said. "That's what we've done here in the early going, it's only been a few days, and that's what we'll continue to do. He's been fine, he's handled it fine, he's done the work, but it's going to be an education for him, no doubt about it."

When Montero does catch, he has done remarkably well at the plate. Hitting .444 (16-for-36), Montero has three doubles, three home runs and eight RBIs in 10 games behind the plate. He's also recorded hits in eight of his nine starts at catcher.

Twins: Morneau headed to DL
Justin Morneau took some practice swings on Saturday at Safeco Field, yet still had pain in his left wrist, meaning the Twins will place him on the 15-day disabled list come Monday. The team will select the contract of infielder Brian Dozier to replace Morneau on the 25-man roster.

"It's better to get it right now rather than have it drag on through the summer and not be as effective or productive as I can be," said Morneau, the 2006 American League MVP. "Get it right now and be able to play the rest of the year healthy instead of battling through something and not being effective at all."

Assistant general manager Rob Antony said the team will backdate the roster move to Monday, when Morneau last played. Morneau will see team doctors again when the team returns to Minnesota to start a nine-game homestand.

Mariners: Kelley recalled from Tacoma
Prior to Saturday's game against the Twins, the Mariners recalled right-handed reliever Shawn Kelley from Triple-A Tacoma. Fellow right-hander Erasmo Ramirez was optioned to Tacoma.

Kelley, who started the season on the Mariners' Opening Day roster in Japan before being optioned to Tacoma upon the Mariners' return to the United States, made one appearance with the big league club, taking the loss in a March 29 appearance after allowing one run on a solo homer, while recording just one out.

Ramirez didn't record a decision while posting a 2.45 ERA in his seven appearances with the Mariners this season.

• Hector Noesi will take the hill for the Mariners on Sunday. Extremely inconsistent in his first five starts, the right-hander has been better as of late. While he took the loss on Tuesday to the Rays, Noesi threw 5 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on three hits.

Worth Noting
• Noesi pitched one inning against the Twins in relief in 2011, but Sunday will mark his first career start against them.

• The Twins will recall left-hander Scott Diamond from Triple-A Rochester on Monday. In six Triple-A starts this season, Diamond is 4-1, with a 2.60 ERA, seven walks and 26 strikeouts. The Twins will make a corresponding roster move prior to Monday night's game vs. the Angels at Target Field.

MLB.com Comments