Saturday, April 29, 2006

Twins Skipper Ron Gardenhire Afraid to Play Hand

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is like a nervous poker player with a pair of kings as his hold cards: he's too scared to bump the bet for fear of revealing his hand. Despite a disastrous start, Gardenhire continues to parade a ridiculous combination of players to bat cleanup. . .Ruben Sierra, Tony Batista, Rondell White. . .while not only leaving Torii Hunter in the No. 5 spot, but abandoning struggling first baseman Justin Morneau in No. 6 hole with no one behind him for protection. Gardenhire even tried batting backup catcher Mike Redmond in the No. 3 spot. At the same time, the wheels have come off Brad Radke's, Carlos Silva's and Kyle Lohse's games, yet Gardenhire refuses to move fireballing lefty Francisco Liriano into the rotation though the handwriting is on the wall with Saturday's 18-1 loss to Detroit. Fortunately for Gardenhire, the Twins are too cheap to eat his contract and hire a replacement. If years past are any indication, the Twins game usually doesn't jell until the third and fourth weeks of May. Until then, Gardenhire would do well to follow the advice of an old prospector: "If you find yourself getting nowhere in a deeper and deeper hole, stop digging."