Inside Pitch: Bartlett Heating Up

In this edition of Twins Inside Pitch, Torii Hunter goes down in Tuesday's contest, but should not miss any time. Jason Bartlett continues to swing a hot bat, Nick Punto is expected to return, and much more:

The Twins are worried about the health of Gold Glove center fielder Torii Hunter after he bruised his left shoulder while trying to make a catch in the seventh inning Tuesday.

Raul Ibanez sent a flyball to center in the sixth that Hunter initially broke back on, then tried to race in for the catch. But Hunter missed the catch and rolled over. Hunter batted in the top of the seventh, grounding out to third to end the inning but felt pain in his shoulder and wrist while swinging.

Hunter has a hit in six straight games and hit the seventh grand slam of his career in the fifth inning on Tuesday. He also leads the majors with nine doubles.

Hunter is determined not to miss any games, but it may be good for the long run if he takes a day off. It will be his call Wednesday on if he plays.

"He may play tomorrow," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Torii is a pretty tough guy."

Last Game:TWINS 11, SEATTLE 2: The Twins tied a club record with eight doubles and had 10 extra base hits as they pounded Jeff Weaver and the Mariners. The Twins got two doubles and a triple in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead. They scored five runs in the fifth -- including a grand slam by Torii Hunter -- to take a 7-1 lead. They got four more runs in the eighth -- including a two-run double by Joe Mauer -- to take a 11-2 lead. Right-hander Ramon Ortiz scattered eight hits over seven innings to open the season 3-0 for the first time in his career.

NOTES, QUOTES:

  • SS Jason Bartlett could get Wednesday's game off because he's hitless in five at-bats against Seattle RHP Felix Hernandez. Bartlett got off to a 1-for-20 start at the plate before going 5-for-8 over the weekend, but the coaching staff may decide it's better for someone else to start at short on Wednesday.

  • INF Alexi Casilla could start on Wednesday in place of Jason Barltett when the Twins face Seattle's Felix Hernandez. Casilla is more of a table-setter than Bartlett right now, and his ability to bunt and use his speed could be an asset against a pitcher who has had two outstanding starts so far.

  • INF Nick Punto is expected to return to the lineup within the next two days after recovering quickly from a sprained left ankle. The Twins had feared that Punto would need two weeks off but felt much better on Tuesday. "It's gotten a lot better the last two days," Punto said.

  • C Joe Mauer is a player to watch on Wednesday when the Twins face Seattle right-hander Felix Hernandez. Mauer is batting .545 with two doubles and a single in his last three plate appearances against Hernandez and is a career .469 hitter at Safeco Field.

  • INF Luis Rodriguez could get a couple of starts this week while INF Nick Punto recovers from a sore left ankle. Rodriguez, a switch hitter, takes better at-bats left-handed than right-handed, although the stats don't show it. He would be a good fit to face Seattle RHP Felix Hernandez.

  • OF Torii Hunter may miss Wednesday's game because of a bruised left shoulder suffered on Tuesday against Seattle. Hunter will take pain pills and ice the shoulder overnight. If he's sore in the morning he will head to the park early for treatment in hopes of playing.

  • OF Jason Tyner could start on Wednesday in place of Torii Hunter, who has a bruised left shoulder. Tyner started in left field on Tuesday and had two doubles in the Twins' 11-2 win over Seattle, but he moved over to center when Hunter left the game. Tyner is the only outfielder on the roster other than Hunter who can play center field well.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 4.10 -- The ERA of the Twins' starting rotation.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "We laughed at him yesterday but he made us cry today." -- Twins outfielder Torii Hunter on Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford, who made a terrible baserunning mistake on Thursday but hit an inside-the-park homer on Friday.

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