For the umpteenth time this season, the Twins called up a player from Rochester, and that player immediately provided a boost to the Twins offense. Jason Tyner had six hits in his first twelve at-bats and drove in five runs, including the game-winning run in the bottom of the tenth inning on Saturday.
It’s a great story, but Tyner isn’t really a prospect, since prospects aren’t 29 years old. That doesn’t mean Tyner can’t be a major league player. His track record suggests that he would be a very capable fourth outfielder on most major league teams, especially if he can recapture some of that speed that produced 31 stolen bases with Tampa Bay in 2001.
A more significant question is whether he can be a major league starting centerfielder. It would behoove the Twins to get an answer to that question when Jason Kubel’s knees quit barking. Moving Tyner to center field would get Kubel back in the lineup, and give them a chance to evaluate whether Tyner can be their center fielder in 2007.
But Jason Tyner isn’t going to provide an extended offensive boost that the Twins will need in Hunter’s absence. That’s going to fall to the other weekend call-up, Rondell White. White was supposed to be a better hitter than Hunter before the season started, and had the history and stats to back that claim up. His season-long struggles were unforeseen, a mystery that may have been solved by the realization that his surgically repaired shoulder was still a concern.
The mystery was solved, but the problem still needed to be fixed. The Twins passed over White several times to give him the full twenty days he could squeeze out of his injury rehabilitation time in Rochester, but finally relented when Stewart was placed on the Disabled List. It isn’t clear from the minor league reports whether White has made the necessary adjustments to allow his shoulder to catch up with fastballs again, but the home run this weekend is an optimistic sign.
The Twins should certainly hope so. Their cupboard at the minor league level is nearly bare, as seen by the recalls of Tyner and 27-year-old Josh Rabe. The Twins tentative position in the playoff race probably limits Terry Ryan’s desire to part with the prospects necessary for a big name at the trade deadline. Bounceback second halves by under-performing veterans, like White and Carlos Silva, will need to fuel any large leap in performance.
On The Hill
Tampa Bay: Jae Seo (2-7, 5.07 ERA)
- 2005: 8-2, 90.1 IP, 59 K, 2.59 ERA
- 2006: 87 IP, 93 H, 57 K, 34 BB, 16 HR
- Just acquired a couple of weeks ago in a trade with the Dodgers. He’s pitched much better in his three starts with the Rays.
- Can struggle with control. Prior to this year, he was with the Mets where he was effective without great stuff. It may take awhile for the AL to catch up with him.
Minnesota: Brad Radke (7-7, 4.97 ERA)
- 2005: 9-12, 201.2 IP, 117 K, 4.04 ERA
- 2006: 112.1 IP, 148 H, 60 K, 26 BB, 18 HR
- Relies primarily on an average fastball and a good changeup; also throws a curve.Why don’t you give up on a struggling veteran pitcher with an ERA over 7 in May? Because there is a reason he’s a veteran pitcher – he knows how to make adjustments. Radke’s adjustment has apparently been made. In June, Radke’s ERA was 2.09