While the Twins still appear to be at least a longshot candidate to land the biggest hitter on the market, Alfonso Soriano
, their pitching may have more to do with their actions -- or inactions -- in the final hours before Monday's non-waiver trading deadline.
Concerns over right-hander Brad Radke's ailing pitching shoulder, along with continuing problems with the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation, could make starting pitching depth the Twins' biggest competitive issue over the final two months of the season. Which could make it their bigger consideration in what is expected to be a flurry of trade talks down to the deadline.
The Twins' wait-and-see approach with Radke's next start, based on his inability to get the shoulder loose enough to be effective Saturday night against Detroit, might even make the Twins re-examine the long-expected trade of right-hander Kyle Lohse.
General manager Terry Ryan said before Sunday's game that Radke's status is unrelated to talks he's having with other GMs to try to land help for a playoff push.
But Radke, who has had a labrum tear in the shoulder for more than two years, has experienced more pain in the shoulder this year than last year. And despite his ability to pitch through the ebbs and flows of pain, Saturday's three-inning start in which he had trouble getting his fastball into the mid-80-mph range puts each of his final 12 potential starts into day-to-day status.
He already is preserving the shoulder by not throwing between starts.
"You're always concerned anytime you're dealing with something like this," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We'll give it five days and hopefully he'll make his next start (Thursday at Kansas City). If not, then we'll really have to start ad-libbing."
REPLAY: Six outs away from being shut out and swept by Jeremy Bonderman and the Tigers, the Twins delivered a six-run parting shot in the eighth inning Sunday to beat the team with the best record in baseball, 6-4.
The Twins sent 10 men to the plate in the eighth inning, scoring six runs on five hits, two errors, an intentional walk and a balk -- all against Bonderman. Until then, Bonderman had silenced the Twins and the third consecutive 40,000-plus crowd at the Metrodome with seven innings of pitching so dominant that the Twins' only hit was a bunt single leading off the first inning.
NOTES, QUOTES:CF Torii Hunter said he's 100 percent ready to come off the disabled list Monday when he's eligible, and manager Ron Gardenhire said the Twins plan to use the corresponding roster move to shave a pitcher off the roster to get the staff back to its standard 11-man size. That probably means a deadline trade of RHP Kyle Lohse. Gardenhire said the Twins plan to ride out the trading deadline before announcing the roster move. If Lohse isn't traded, rookie RHP Willie Eyre, who has pitched only once since the All-Star break, likely would be optioned to the minors.LF Rondell White, who's batting .373 with three homers since returning from the disabled list (shoulder) on July 16, left Sunday's game after experiencing tightness in his left hamstring running out a grounder in the bottom of the second inning. Manager Ron Gardenhire said he expects White to miss only a "day or two max."LF Josh Rabe's two errors Sunday on throws that missed the cutoff men snapped the Twins' season-high streak of seven consecutive games without an error. The last time they committed one was July 21 in Cleveland.Including sellouts for close losses Friday and Saturday, the Twins drew 134,178 for the three-game weekend series against the Tigers, most for a three-gamer since a Toronto series in August 1992 (143,758). The sellouts also were the first on back-to-back regular-season nights for the Twins since 1992.3B Nick Punto had his career-high, 19-game hitting streak snapped Saturday. It was the Twins' longest of the season and longest active streak in the American League until then. In contrast, he's 0 for his last 10 -- with strikeouts in four of his past five at-bats -- after going hitless both Saturday and Sunday.
In this edition of Twins Inside Pitch, Brad Radke's ailing shoulder has team officials worried, the Twins are likely to move Kyle Lohse in a trade, Torii Hunter may not be ready to return on Monday, and so much more.
An inside look at the Minnesota Twins.
Radke has had shoulder tear for two years.