Inside Pitch: Neshek To See More Work

Neshek will likely be working the eighth inning.

In this edition of Twins Inside Pitch, Ramon Ortiz continues to look like a great pick-up for the Twins. The Twins have recalled left-hander Glen Perkins from Rochester, and Pat Neshek appears slated for extra duty in the coming games. All that and more:

Ramon Ortiz is proving to be an excellent free agent signing for the Twins. He held the Yankees to one run over eight innings on Wednesday to lower his ERA to 1.80 in two outings.

He seems to be a good fit for the Twins' laid-back clubhouse. He likes working with pitching coach Rick Anderson, who has him mixing his pitches more. He's become friends with ace Johan Santana and often talks about how positive the team is.

Ortiz's problem in the past is that he has allowed small problems to turn into big innings. So Anderson has asked his catchers to go to the mound at the first sign of trouble. Ortiz also gets excited on the mound, so Anderson has asked him to take a deep breath before every pitch.

So far it has worked, and the Twins may have made an excellent $3.1 million signing. Ortiz is holding down the third spot in the rotation well.

Last Game:TWINS 5, YANKEES 1: The Twins finally were able to slow down the Yankees offense, which had outscored them 18-3 in the two previous games of the series. Credit goes to right-hander Ramon Ortiz, who pitched inside effectively and kept the Yankees off balance all night. The Twins scored four runs in the eighth to break the game open. Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer had RBI singles, and Justin Morneau and Torii Hunter had RBI doubles.

NOTES, QUOTES:

  • RHP Juan Rincon was unavailable on Wednesday and could miss Thursday's game as he and his wife mourn the death of his mother-in-law. Rincon's wife is pregnant and unable to attend the funeral in Venezuela, which is tough on the family. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who already is shorthanded in the bullpen, had no problems letting Rincon go.

  • RHP Jesse Crain has a sore shoulder and won't be available for a few days. Crain, who pitched on Tuesday, felt some discomfort during long toss on Wednesday. "I think it's a little tendinitis," he said. The Twins and Crain want to be extremely careful not to rush back and aggravate the injury, so Crain might not pitch until the weekend.

  • RHP Pat Neshek will fill in as the key setup man in the bullpen for the next couple of days while Juan Rincon is away on a family emergency and Jesse Crain rests a sore shoulder. It will be a great opportunity for Neshek, who was a closer in the minors, to prove that he can handle late game pressure situations.

  • INF Jeff Cirillo had successful arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Wednesday, but doctors had to clean up a lot of fraying in the area. Cirillo is expected to miss from three to six weeks.

  • LHP Glen Perkins has been called up from Class AAA Rochester to help boost a bullpen that's injured and tired. Perkins, a former first-round pick, had a 1.50 ERA at Rochester and is viewed long term as a starter. But he's needed in the bullpen for this stint because Jesse Crain (sore shoulder) and Juan Rincon (family emergency) are unavailable for a couple days.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 8 -- Infield hits the Twins had through their first five games.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think it's a good thing here. We communicate well and make sure we are on the same page." -- LHP Johan Santana, on the club checking with him first to see if he needs an extra day off.

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