The Twins beat the Rays 8-3 tonight behind a strong pitching performance by Nick Blackburn and 3 hits a piece from the top three spots in the order. The bullpen continued to struggle, though, as Luis Ayala gave up a run in the ninth and Craig Breslow once again had trouble finding the plate in his inning of work. However, the game overall was a positive as the Twins took the rubber match in the three game set with the Rays, especially as they did it against a tough lefty starter in Scott Kazmir. Also, they've now managed a .500 record through the Mauer-less part of the schedule.
And that brings us to a new topic: Joe Mauer's return to the lineup. Mauer will be back with the Twins on Friday for their weekend series with the Royals, and the Twins now have a roster decision to make regarding their catchers. Despite Gardenhire's comments earlier this week about potentially keeping three catchers, there is no way that I see the Twins actually doing that. Some people have suggested that the Twins may cut Mike Redmond in order to keep the hot-hitting Jose Morales in Minnesota. I never saw that happening, and unsurprisingly news came out today about Redmond having a sore shoulder. I have no doubt that Redmond may be sore; he is a catcher after all. However, if the Twins didn't have Mauer coming back and Morales playing well, it would be a non-issue, but instead it will most likely be used as an excuse to put Redmond on the DL. Then, the Twins can let Morales hang around for a little longer and put off their decision on what to do with Redmond.