Thursday, April 20, 2006

Twins Unconcerned Over Brad Radke, Carlos Silva

The Minnesota Twins, enviable with one of the best rotations in baseball, remain confident about the capabilities of their troubled No. 2 and 3 starters, Brad Radke and Carlos Silva. At the end of the first three weeks of the season, Radke, 2-1, is sporting a 6.63 ERA and Silva a 7.71 ERA. But the problem with each is not physical, complicated nor expected to be longlived. Radke, 33, who threw 200 innings last year with a 4.04 ERA, has for the moment lost command of his changeup, with opponents well aware of it and perfectly comfortable to sit on his fastball. Coaches are confident Radke will rediscover the pitch in the very near future. Silva, 26, who threw 200 innings in '04 and owned a 3.44 ERA in an injury-shortened season last year, is pitching fine and has been absolved of culpability in his last outing, in which he gave up eight runs and 12 hits in 8.66 innings. Though the team has been publicly discreet, blame for Silva's poor statistics over the course of the evening was assessed against umpire Jerry Meals, whose game calling behind the plate was so poor that Silva and manager Ron Gardenhire were ejected in the ninth inning when they could bare it no more and complained. With Silva pitching well but not getting the calls, Gardenhire saw no reason to remove him and left him in until the ejection. For the first time in the history of the team, the Twins broadcasters gave an umpire the "Player of the Game" award for being the individual who most affected the outcome of Minnesota's 8-2 loss to the Angels. Radke has rejected a surgery option to ease a problem on his left side because the issue has no effect on his ability to pitch. Silva has recovered after sustaining a torn meniscus late last season.