Inside Pitch- White's Struggles Continue
White can't seem to turn his season around.
White can't seem to turn his season around.

Posted Apr 17, 2006


In this edition of Twins' Inside Pitch, Rondell White continues to slump, Jason Kubel is optioned to Rochester, Ruben Sierra will join the team on tuesday, and so much more.

Rondell White, the Twins' new cleanup hitter, is experiencing a prolonged slump. He sunk even further in the past two games against the Yankees, with strikeouts in four of his last five at-bats.

He was 0-for-4 with three K's in a 9-3 loss to the Yankees on Sunday.

Despite the team's 5-1 start to a nine-game homestand, White's slump has reached such proportions that otherwise excited and optimistic fans began booing him by the end of the weekend.

"I've never gone through one like this," said White, who is just 4-for-47 (.085) this season. "It's embarrassing. My job is hitting, and I'm not doing it."

The Twins still have faith in the veteran, a .289 career hitter. Manager Ron Gardenhire has no immediate intention of dropping him in the order or benching him, even if White says, "I'd expect them to move me down in the order. The way I'm swinging? I'm not swinging like a cleanup hitter right now."

The Twins have been getting enough production around him to afford the luxury of sticking with him in the cleanup hole at least through the homestand.

Meanwhile, White admits the move from outfielder to exclusive use as a DH has been a rough adjustment, but refuses to use that as an excuse.

REPLAY: For the second straight start, right-hander Brad Radke (2-1) got out of the first inning without allowing a run -- an achievement given a career track record of first-inning struggles -- only to give up a big second inning. This time it was a three-run inning highlighted by the first of two homers by Jason Giambi, as the Yankees snapped the Twins' five-game winning streak with a 9-3 victory over Radke and the Twins.

Giambi's homer in the sixth made the score 6-2, and Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez also added homers in the game. The Yankees scored more runs Sunday than the Twins had allowed in their three previous games combined (eight).

NOTES, QUOTES:

  • OF Ruben Sierra, who remained in Fort Myers, Fla., when spring camp broke to continue rehabilitation work on his injured quadriceps, has recovered well enough that the Twins announced after Sunday's game his contract will be purchased on Tuesday, in time for the series opener against the Angels. Sierra, 40, was signed over the winter to be the Twins' pinch-hit specialist. He went 3-for-12 with a double in three games for Class A Fort Myers before the decision was made.

  • OF Jason Kubel, the rookie who got off to a 3-for-16 (.188) start after surprisingly breaking camp with the big club, was optioned to Triple-A Rochester after Sunday's game to make room for Tuesday's roster addition of OF Ruben Sierra.

  • RHP Brad Radke (2-1) has allowed at least two home runs in each of his three starts this season, including three in Sunday's loss to the Yankees. The seven homers hit against him account for eight of the 14 runs he has allowed this season. Dating to the start of last season, he's 6-11 with a 4.94 ERA when allowing a home run (25 such starts).

  • 3B Tony Batista, who hit just .125 in the team's first six games, all on the road, is hitting .426 (9-for-21) through six games on the current homestand, with three doubles, a homer and five RBIs.

  • 1B Justin Morneau hit a two-out, two-run, game-winning single off RHP Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday. Morneau is hitting .348 (8-for-23) with eight RBIs through the first six games of the Twins' current nine-game homestand.

  • 2B Luis Castillo was a late scratch from the lineup Sunday because of soreness in his left knee caused by sliding into second base during Saturday's game. He's expected to be ready to play again when the Twins open a three-game home series against the Angels on Tuesday.

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