Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Twins Skipper Ron Gardenhire Still Doesn't Get It

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire finally has figured out that Tony Batista and his statue-like defense is not the answer at third base, designating him for assignment and recalling shortstop Jason Bartlett from AAA Rochester. Bartlett, who was batting .306 for the Red Wings, will take light-hitting Juan Castro's place at shortstop. Fine. But rather than put Jason Kubel in right and move Michael Cuddyer to third, Cuddyer will remain in right while Gardenhire mixes and matches another one of his infamous committees of scrubs at the hot corner: Castro, Nick Punto, Luis Rodriguez and Terry Tiffee. Whoopee! This is about the most idiotic use of talent since Gardenhire chose Batista, Ruben Sierra and Rondell White for tryouts batting cleanup while ignoring Torii Hunter in the No. 5 spot even as the team's win-loss record went into a freefall. Welcoming Bartlett back, Gardenhire now wants fans to believe the rookie had been demoted coming out of camp because he failed to take charge of the infield. The fact is Bartlett was demoted because he failed to field even the most routine plays. It remains to be seen whether Bartlett is any more polished now than he was when he left.