Description: Twins starter Phil Hughes pitched seven great innings against the Indians on Thursday, only allowing a solo home run to Zach Walters in the fourth inning.
Insight: Hughes has won four straight starts to raise his record to 14-8 and his ERA from 4.01 to 3.65. During that stretch, he has 1.32 ERA and 30 strikeouts versus two walks. Hughes had eight K's and no BB on Thursday.
Description: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier is just 1-for-11 against Cleveland right-hander Corey Kluber.
Insight: Two players heading in oppositite directions. Dozier is batting .204 since the All-Star break with two home runs and a .647 OPS in 30 games, while Kluber has been one of the best pitchers in the league going 4-0 with a 0.76 ERA and 0.692 WHIP. Avoid this matchup.
Description: Twins outfield prospect Byron Buxton (concussion) isn't expected to play again this season.
Insight: Buxton, ranked as the first overall prospect in baseball by MLB.com and Baseball America, suffered a concussion when he collided with a teammate on Aug. 13. He also dealt with a wrist injury earlier this season and has played just 31 games. He's batted .240 with four homers, 16 RBI and six steals. The earliest we're likely to see the 20-year-old in the majors is late 2015.
Description: Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki is not in Monday night's starting lineup.
Insight: Suzuki went 5-for-10 in the most recent series with the Royals. He has had a very good season, but home runs haven't been a big part of it. He's hitting .307 with three long balls, 49 RBI, 32 runs and a .768 OPS.
Description: Minnesota first baseman Joe Mauer is a career .417 hitter (10-for-24) versus Royals starter Jason Vargas.
Insight: Mauer has hit safely in five of six games, including a pair of home runs since he returned from the DL to raise his average to .275. He still has more to go if he's to reach his career average of .320, but this favorable matchup could help.
Description: Minnesota third baseman Trevor Plouffe is an ugly 1-for-12 with five strikeouts against Royals starter Danny Duffy.
Insight: Plouffe has not hit for the power he has in past seasons. He hit 24 in 2012 and fantasy owners were hoping for more than the 14 he blasted last season and the eight he's hit in 100 games this year. Avoid him Friday.
Description: Twins outfield prospect Byron Buxton was carted off the field after colliding with a teammate playing for Double-A New Britain Wednesday. UPDATE: Buxton has a concussion but no broken bones, according to Jeff Passon of Yahoo Sports
Insight: Buxton, ranked as the first overall prospect in baseball by MLB.com and Baseball America, has been limited to 31 games by a wrist injury this season. He's batted .240 with four homers, 16 RBI and six steals. Wednesday was his first game since he was promoted to Double-A.
Description: Minnesota CF/SS Danny Santana has gone 21-for-54 (.389) with three doubles, five RBI, five steals and 12 runs in August.
Insight: Santana hasn't stopped hitting since he was called up in May. The 23-year-old is batting .331 with five homers, 27 RBI, 39 runs and 11 steals in 236 at-bats and he has shortstop eligibility. He's a must-own in all leagues.
Description: Twins first baseman Kennys Vargas has hit .300 with two homers, 11 RBI and a .792 OPS since he was called up on July 31.
Insight: Vargas isn't a high-level prospect in Minnesota's organization, but the Twins had him skip Triple-A altogether after he hit .281 with 17 home runs over 97 games with Double-A New Britain. He's unlikely to keep this up.
Description: Minnesota right-hander Kyle Gibson gave up one run on six hits in 7 2/3 innings to beat the Astros Wednesday afternoon.
Insight: Gibson (11-9, 3.96 ERA) has thrown at least seven innings while allowing two runs or less nine times this season, but he's also allowed five earned runs or more eight times. Such is the life for a pitcher with good control but just 4.97 strikeouts per nine innings.
Description: Minnesota CF/SS Danny Santana went 3-for-5 with a steal and two runs Sunday against the Athletics.
Insight: Santana's .315 average, five homers, 27 RBI, 37 runs and 10 steals in 239 plate appearances would make him an ordinary fantasy option in the outfield, but he has eligibility at both second base and shortstop.
Description: Twins starter Phil Hughes struck out nine batters and allowed one run on seven hits in six innings Tuesday against the Padres.
Insight: Hughes has the second largest difference between his ERA and FIP among qualified starters this season (4.01 ERA, 2.68 FIP). He should continue to trim that ERA in the last two months of the season.
Description: Twins starter Ricky Nolasco (elbow) will return on Aug. 15 barring a setback, according to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Insight: That means Nolasco, who has been out with a flexor pronator injury in his elbow since July 7, will make two rehab starts. He has had a miserable season, going 5-7 with a 5.90 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP in 103 2/3 innings. Among pitchers with 100 innings this season, only one player has an ERA higher than Nolasco's.
Description: Twins starter Ricky Nolasco (elbow) will begin a rehab assignment next week, according to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Insight: Nolasco has been out with a flexor pronator injury in his elbow since July 7. He's had a miserable season, going 5-7 with a 5.90 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP in 103 2/3 innings. Among pitchers with 100 innings this season, only one player has an ERA higher than Nolasco's.
Description: Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki has signed a two-year, $12 million contract extension with a vesting option for 2017, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Insight: Suzuki, who made the All-Star team this year, was reportedly on the trade block, but the Twins have decided to make a commitment to the 30-year-old rather than hand the catcher job to Josmil Pinto.
Description: The Athletics have traded left-hander Tommy Milone to the Twins for Sam Fuld.
Insight: Milone went 6-0 with a 2.62 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP over his last 11 starts but was sent down when Oakland traded for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. He was moved further down the starting pitcher hierarchy when Oakland acquired Jon Lester from Boston on Thursday. It's surprising the A's couldn't get more than Sam Fuld, who's a strong defensive outfielder but isn't a good hitter. Oakland waived Fuld in April but needed him back with Coco Crisp (neck) hurting and Yoenis Cespedes moved in the deal for Lester.
Description: Twins starter Phil Hughes (shin) will not miss a start, according to the Star Tribune.
Insight: Hughes was hit in the shin by a comebacker in his last start. After posting a 6.31 ERA in his last seven starts, Hughes has the second largest disparity in baseball between his FIP (2.71) and his ERA (4.10).
Description: Twins starter Phil Hughes left Thursday night's game after being hit with a ball off the bat of Adam Dunn.
Insight: Hughes will get an X-ray and then we will know the extent of the injury. The right-hander had given up five earned runs in each of his last two outings heading into tonight and five or more earned runs in five of his last six so likely wasn't in any lineups.
Description: Minnesota CF/SS Danny Santana (knee) has been activated from the 15-day disabled list.
Insight: Santana has been out since June 26 due to a knee injury. He'll return to a .328 average, two homers, 16 RBI, six steals and an .814 OPS, though his production has been assisted by a .400 BABIP.
Description: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier went 3-for-6 with a double, two homers and four RBI Sunday at Colorado.
Insight: Dozier didn't make the All-Star team because the American League second-base field is so deep, but he has a strong case. He's hit just .242 but has 18 homers, 45 RBI, 69 runs and 16 steals. AL captain Jose Bautista picked Dozier to participate in the Home Run Derby on Monday.
Description: Twins third base prospect Miguel Sano (elbow) will not play in the Arizona Fall League but could get some action in winter ball, according to Rhett Bollinger of mlb.com.
Insight: Sano underwent Tommy John surgery in March. The 21-year-old third baseman already has 90 home runs in 1,375 minor league at-bats. Baseball America ranked Sano as the No. 6 prospect in baseball prior to this season.
Description: Twins starter Ricky Nolasco's MRI ruled out UCL damage and revealed flexor pronator stiffness on the opposite side of his elbow, according to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Pres.
Insight: He's out indefinitely but this is good news for him because he won't need Tommy John surgery. Nolasco has had a miserable season, going 5-7 with a 5.90 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP in 103 2/3 innings. He has the worst ERA in baseball among qualified starters.
Description: Twins left fielder Josh Willingham has been dreadful against Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda in 12 career at-bats (.083 average, one hit, five strikeouts)
Insight: Willingham's average has dropped 82 points since June 11 (.311 to .229) and he's not a good bet to turn things around this afternoon against Kuroda as his lifetime numbers against him are poor and he's hitting righties worse than lefties this year, too.
Description: Twins starter Phil Hughes has allowed 17 earned runs on 27 hits in his last 19 innings.
Insight: Hughes gave up two home runs and seven earned runs in 6 1/3 innings Thursday against the Yankees and is now 8-4 with a 3.95 ERA. He has a 1.18 WHIP and a 2.78 FIP this season, but it could be problematic if his home run issue from his years with New York resurface. He'll take on the Mariners in Seattle on Tuesday.
Description: Twins left fielder Josh Willingham usually hits lefties well, but he's batted .105 with seven strikeouts in 19 at-bats against Royals starter Jason Vargas.
Insight: Willingham has a career .856 OPS against left-handers, but he's never been able to solve Vargas. The outfielder also has hit .136 with 17 Ks in his last 44 at-bats, so he's someone to avoid Wednesday.
Description: Twins left fielder Josh Willingham is not in the lineup Tuesday.
Insight: Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said he wanted to get as many lefties in the lineup as possible against James Shields, according to Rhett Bollinger of mlb.com, so Willingham will take a seat. The outfielder has hit .136 with 17 Ks in his last 44 at-bats.
Description: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier is not in the lineup Tuesday against the Royals. He's getting his first rest day of the season.
Insight: Dozier has started all but two games for the Twins this season and he missed both of those due to a back injury. He went 10-for-54 (.185) with zero homers in his last 15 games of June so manager Ron Gardenhire will get him some rest.
Description: Twins DH/1B Kendrys Morales is 1-for-12 (.083) against Royals starter James Shields.
Insight: Morales didn't play the first two months of the season and entered the Twins lineup immediately after signing, so some rust was to be expected and that's what we've seen so far (.215, 1 HR, 9 RBI in 20 games). This unfavorable matchup isn't likely to turn it around.
Description: Minnesota right-hander Kyle Gibson allowed two runs on eight hits over eight innings in a win over Texas on Sunday.
Insight: Gibson gave up seven runs over two innings in his last start, but he'll finish with a 3.16 ERA in June. With a 3.77 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP and 50 Ks in 93 innings, Gibson is an AL-only starter at best.
Description: Twins DH/1B Kendrys Morales is 3-for-22 (.136) with nine strikeouts against Texas ace Yu Darvish.
Insight: Morales didn't play the first two months of the season and entered the Twins lineup immediately after signing, so some rust was to be expected and that's what we've seen so far (.239, 1 HR, 8 RBI in 17 games). This unfavorable matchup isn't likely to turn it around.
Description: Twins DH/1B Kendrys Morales hit his first homer of the season Tuesday against the Angels.
Insight: Morales has hit .222 in 54 at-bats since he signed with the Twins. He didn't play the first two months of the season and entered the Twins lineup immediately after signing, so some rust was to be expected.
Description: Twins DH/1B Kendrys Morales will try his hand at fielding for the first time this season.
Insight: Morales is batting just .209 since signing with the Twins 11 games ago. He hit .277 with 23 homers, 80 RBI and a .785 OPS in 2013 and the Twins (and fantasy owners) hope he'll provide them with similar power.
Description: Minnesota right-hander Kyle Gibson allowed just one hit and no walks in seven scoreless innings Wednesday at Boston.
Insight: Gibson is unscored upon in his last 21 innings (9 H, 5 BB, 16 Ks) and now has a 3.25 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP on the year. The right-hander's value is limited because his K/9 is just 4.99, but he has a 55.8 percent ground-ball rate, a 0.43 HR/9 and a 3.51 FIP.
Description: Three of the Twins' four hits on Wednesday came off the bat of Chris Parmelee.
Insight: Parmelee gave the Twins a 1-0 lead with his solo shot in the tenth but Casey Fien quickly coughed up the lead by allowing David Ortiz and Mike Napoli to hit back-to-back homers in the bottom of the inning. Even after going 3-for-4, Parmelee's season average is still barely over .200. He's not a fantasy option.
Description: Minnesota third baseman Trevor Plouffe has been placed on the disabled list with a left oblique strain.
Insight: Plouffe suffered the injury in the bottom of the third inning Saturday when he attempted to make a diving stop on an Ian Kinsler ground ball. He has hit .241 with 22 doubles, five homers, 38 RBI and a .720 OPS this season so he's replaceable in fantasy leagues.
Description: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier (back) had a pinch-hit two-run homer in the ninth inning Saturday against the Tigers.
Insight: Dozier left Wednesday's game with lower-back tightness and didn't start the past two games, but the Twins put him up to bat while trailing 12-7 in the ninth inning Saturday. He must be feeling better.
Description: Minnesota third baseman Trevor Plouffe left Saturday's game with a left oblique strain, according to mlb.com.
Insight: Plouffe suffered the injury in the bottom of the third inning when he attempted to make a diving stop on an Ian Kinsler ground ball. He has hit .241 with 22 doubles, five homers, 38 RBI and a .720 OPS this season so he's replaceable in fantasy leagues.
Description: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier, who left Wednesday's game and did not play Friday due to a tight lower back, will sit out Saturday as well.
Insight: Dozier is just 1-for-13 (.077) against Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez. Hopefully his sore back won't linger too much longer, but it won't be the end of the world if he takes another day to rest the injury in an unfavorable matchup. He has been one of the biggest surprises this season filling up box scores with 14 HR, 33 RBI, 54 runs, 14 SB and an .808 OPS.
Description: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier, who left Wednesday's game did not play Friday due to a tight lower back and ought to consider sitting Saturday as well in an extremely unfavorable matchup.
Insight: Dozier is just 1-for-13 (.077) against Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez. He has been one of the biggest surprises this season filling up box scores with 14 HR, 33 RBI, 54 runs, 14 SB and an .808 OPS. Hopefully his sore back won't linger too long, but it won't be the end of the world if he takes another day to rest the injury.
Description: Twins first baseman Joe Mauer went 3-for-4 with a double Wednesday against the Blue Jays.
Insight: Mauer's 19 percent K rate, .263 average and .678 OPS are all career worsts. This may be the last year he's even worth owning in fantasy, as he will lose catcher eligibility next year and is a below-average fantasy first baseman.
Description: Twins DH/1B Kendrys Morales has gone 6-for-13 (.462) with three doubles and three RBI in three games with the team.
Insight: Morales signed with the Twins on June 7 after failing to draw interest on the free-agent market due to the draft-pick compensation he was tied to prior to the 2014 MLB Draft. He hit .277 with 23 homers, 80 RBI and a .785 OPS in 2013.
Description: Twins starter Phil Hughes threw 80 of his 101 pitches for strikes over seven scoreless innings Wednesday afternoon at Toronto.
Insight: Hughes struck out nine and didn't walk anyone. He has just eight walks all season and is 7-2 with a 3.17 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. The right-hander has the highest zone percentage in baseball and the fourth-highest chase rate.
Description: The Twins have demoted catcher Josmil Pinto to the minors.
Insight: The 25-year-old backstop had five homers, 17 walks and a .902 OPS in April, but he went 14-for-70 (.200) with two homers, three walks and a .555 OPS in his last 23 games and has been sitting often.
Description: Twins shortstop-turned-outfielder Danny Santana is leading off against Toronto on Wednesday and playing center.
Insight: Santana enters the matchup against Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman on a six-game hitting streak during which he's collected seven singles, one double, two homers and nine RBI. Since being called up in May, Santana's done nothing but hit as he boasts a .370/.407/.506 slash line and .913 OPS in 81 at-bats.
Description: Twins starter Kevin Correia was dealing in Tuesday's win over Toronto.
Insight: He held a stacked Blue Jays lineup to just six hits over six scoreless innings. Even after throwing all zeros Tuesday, Correia still has an ERA well over five. Don't expect him to be a fantasy factor any time soon.
Description: Twins utilityman Danny Santana continued his hot hitting Monday at Toronto.
Insight: Santana went 2-for-5 with a solo homer and is batting .364 with five doubles, two homers, 11 RBI, nine runs and four steals in 77 at-bats this season. He has eligibility at both second base and shortstop as well as in the outfield.
Description: Twins shortstop Eduardo Nunez clubbed his second home run of the season Sunday against Houston.
Insight: It was part of a three-hit game for Nunez, who finished with two RBI in his five trips to the plate. Nunez has only seen 55 at bats this year but he's made the most of them, hitting .291 with a .436 slugging percentage.
Description: Free agent DH/1B Kendrys Morales has agreed to a one-year, prorated $12 million deal with Minnesota.
Insight: That computes to around $7.6 million. In retrospect, Morales (.277, 23 HR, 80 RBI in 2013) probably would have been better off accepting Seattle's one-year qualifying offer last winter. That would have paid him $14 million. Regardless, Morales should provide an offensive boost for a team that has struggled to score runs this season.
Description: The wind will be blowing out to right field on Saturday and Minnesota's left-hand hitter, Joe Mauer, already has a favorable matchup against Houston starter Scott Feldman.
Insight: Mauer is a career .333 hitter with a home run versus Feldman. Mauer has played 54 of 59 games this season, but the move to be an exclusive 1B hasn't helped his batting stroke. He's hitting just .269 with 15 RBI and a .690 OPS. That's well below expectations for this career .320 hitter.
Description: Twins right fielder Oswaldo Arcia won't suit up Friday against Houston. SOURCE: Fox Sports North
Insight: Arcia (.286, 4 HR, 13 RBI) sprained his ankle last night on a pickoff play at second base. He's confident he'll return on Saturday. Jason Kubel (.230, 1 HR, 13 RBI) is filling in at right field tonight.
Description: Minnesota right fielder Oswaldo Arcia sprained his right ankle and left the game in the sixth inning Thursday against Milwaukee.
Insight: Arcia, who hit a grand slam in the third inning, rolled his ankle when he was picked off second base. It's a bad break for the 23-year-old, who's batting .366 over his last 10 games and .286 overall (4 HR, 13 RBI). Consider Arcia, who was replaced by Chris Parmelee, day-to-day.
Description: Twins right-hander Mike Pelfrey (right elbow) is scheduled to have his elbow examined by Dr. James Andrews on Monday in Florida. Source: Brian Murphy, Pioneer Press.
Insight: Uh oh. A visit to MLB's equivalent of "He Who Shall Not Be Named" is never a good thing for pitchers. After initally landing on the DL with a groin strain, Pelfrey then reported having elbow issues. Regardless of how the visit goes, Big Pelf was never much of a fantasy option anyway, posting a 7.99 ERA in five starts.
Description: Minnesota could be close to demoting outfielder Aaron Hicks. SOURCE: Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Insight: We imagine Hicks, who is hitting just .190 this season, will be sent down as soon as Sam Fuld returns from his concussion. Hicks still has a long career ahead of him but the Twins can't afford to keep trotting him out there when he's not hitting.
Description: Minnesota first baseman Joe Mauer mashed three hits Monday in a loss to Milwaukee.
Insight: 2014 has not been one of Mauer's better seasons (.275, 2 HR, 15 RBI in 50 games) but his catcher eligibility remains an asset in fantasy leagues. Of course, he won't have that next season so enjoy using him at catcher while you still can.
Description: Twins starter Phil Hughes pitched well against his former team on Sunday.
Insight: Hughes held the Yankees to three hits and two runs in eight innings. That lowers his ERA to 3.12, which leads all Minnesota starting pitchers. He'll face the Astros in his next start Friday at Target Field.
Description: Twins utilityman Danny Santana left Friday's game with a lacerated eyelid and is not in Saturday's starting lineup.
Insight: His helmet caused the injury when he stole third base in the second inning. Santana will need stitches. The 23-year-old has hit .375 with four doubles and two steals in 40 at-bats this season. Eduardo Escobar (.322, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 11 runs) will get the start and bat second.
Description: Twins utilityman Danny Santana left Friday's game with a lacerated eyelid, according to LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune.
Insight: His helmet caused the injury when he stole third base in the second inning. Santana will need stitches. The 23-year-old has hit .375 with four doubles and two steals in 40 at-bats this season.
Description: Twins right fielder Oswaldo Arcia went 3-for-5 in Thursday's loss to the Rangers.
Insight: By doing so, he extended his hitting streak to six games. Now that Chris Colabello (.232, 4 HR, 30 RBI) is back in the minors, Arcia (.257, 1 HR, 2 RBI) should see regular at bats in right field.
Description: Twins outfielder Sam Fuld (concussion) was evaluated on Wednesday in Pittsburgh and it was termed "positive" but there is still no timetable for his return. SOURCE: Twins beat writer Mike Berardino.
Insight: Fuld has never shown any indication of being fantasy worthy. He's batting .232 with a homer and seven RBI this season.
Description: Twins center fielder Aaron Hicks is questionable for Thursday afternoon's game against Texas due to a stiff lower back.
Insight: Hicks was a late scratch on Wednesday. He's still not producing much offensively, batting .195 with a homer, eight RBI and 13 runs scored, so this shouldn't change fantasy lineups. The Twins used rookie Danny Santana in center on Wednesday, who is off to a nice start to his major league career (.324, .807 OPS in 34 at-bats).
Description: If you're selecting a catcher for Wednesday, don't pick Minnesota's Kurt Suzuki.
Insight: Suzuki is 2-for-31 (.065) against Rangers left-hander Joe Saunders. He's had a strong season, hitting .297 with two homers, 27 RBI and just 12 Ks, but he isn't likely to have a good day Wednesday against Saunders.
Description: Minnesota right-hander Phil Hughes hasn't walked a batter since April 20.
Insight: He's thrown 40 1/3 innings over his last six starts without issuing a single free pass. He's also allowed just four home runs all season after dealing with homer issues for years with New York, especially in Yankee Stadium. After allowing three runs on eight hits in seven innings Tuesday against the Rangers, Hughes has a 3.23 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP to go with a 50/6 K/BB.
Description: Minnesota right-hander Phil Hughes has won five of him last six starts (the other was a no-decision) yielding two runs or less in his last five outings.
Insight: He dominated the Tigers, Red Sox and Padres giving up just one total run over his last 20 innings as he's become a solid fantasy option. He'll need to be at his very best facing Yu Darvish and the Rangers Tuesday night.
Description: Minnesota 3B Trevor Plouffe went 1-for-4 with a solo homer Monday against the Rangers.
Insight: Plouffe only has four home runs, but he's doubled 18 times and driven in 30 runs. He's shown much better plate discipline this season (20.6 O-swing%, 10.5 BB%) and his .309 BABIP is low for a player with a 28 percent line-drive rate.
Description: The Twins are expected to activate left fielder Josh Willingham from the disabled list on Monday. SOURCE: Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Insight: He needed a month and a half to recover from a fractured wrist. Willingham's home run potential is intriguing (78 round-trippers since 2011) but his low batting average (.256 in 3,632 career at bats) makes him a risk in fantasy.
Description: Twins closer Glen Perkins has pitched in four of the last five days, including three straight, and recorded a win, two saves and a blown save.
Insight: He saved the last two games after blowing one on May 15 against the Red Sox. He has 12 saves, a 3.54 ERA and an impeccable 29/3 K/BB in 20 1/3 innings this season. Minnesota signed him to a four-year contract extension in March, so he has more job security than most closers.
Description: Twins shortstop Eduardo Escobar went 3-for 4 against the Red Sox on Thursday.
Insight: Escobar has been a pleasant surprise for Minnesota this season. In 75 at bats, he's hitting .347 with a .533 slugging percentage. The 25-year-old has been especially effective over his last five outings, collecting a .450 average over that stretch (9-for-20).
Description: Minnesota right-hander Phil Hughes pitched well in a no-decision Thursday against Boston.
Insight: He limited the BoSox to five hits and one earned run over six innings. Closer Glen Perkins coughed up the lead in the ninth inning but the Twins got it back on a walkoff single by Aaron Hicks in the tenth. Hughes is undefeated with a 1.95 ERA over his past five starts.
Description: Twins prospect Byron Buxton's latest left wrist injury isn't any worse than his initial one, but the team doesn't know how much time he'll miss. SOURCE: Rhett Bollinger, mlb.com
Insight: Buxton, ranked as the first overall prospect in baseball by MLB.com and Baseball America, missed the first five weeks of the regular season with a wrist injury and aggravated it on a slide into third base on Saturday. Even if he stays healthy, the 20-year-old is a year away from the majors.
Description: Twins prospect Byron Buxton re-injured his left wrist on a slide into third base Saturday while playing for High-A Fort Myers and will undergo an MRI, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
Insight: Buxton, ranked as the first overall prospect in baseball by MLB.com and Baseball America, also hurt his wrist while diving for a ball in mid-March and sat out the first five weeks of the season. Even if he stays healthy, the 20-year-old is a year away from the majors.
Description: Twins first baseman Joe Mauer is in Saturday's lineup, at DH, according to beat writer Mike Berardino.
Insight: He missed his fifth straight game due to back spasms on Friday night, but apparently won't need more time, or a trip to the disabled list. He's batting .296 with two homers and 22 runs scored.
Description: Minnesota 3B Trevor Plouffe is 1-for-13 (.077) with seven strikeouts against Detroit ace Max Scherzer.
Insight: Plouffe has zero hits in his last 16 at-bats. Add an unfavorable matchup and he shouldn't be in any fantasy lineups on Saturday. Update: Plouffe is not in the Twins starting lineup for Saturday
Description: It will once again be Danny Santana at shortstop on Saturday with Eduardo Escobar at 3B for Trevor Plouffe.
Insight: Santana is batting .385 through his first five games, but fantasy owners shouldn't expect that level of production to continue for very long. He batted .268 at Rochester this spring and is a career .274 in seven minor league seasons.
Description: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier is an ugly 0-for-8 with six strikeouts versus Detroit right-hander Max Scherzer.
Insight: Dozier is hitting .237 this season, but he's been highly productive with 32 runs, eight homers, 14 RBI and 11 steals. Add his 28 walks, which ranks him third in baseball, and gives him a respectable .367 OBP.
Description: Twins right-hander Phil Hughes ran his record to 4-1 with seven shutout innings Friday at Detroit.
Insight: Hughes has won four straight starts with a 2.05 ERA in that span after starting out 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA in his first three. The right-hander now has a 3.92 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP on the year. The move to Minnesota appears to have solved his home-run issues; he has allowed four in 41 1/3 innings.
Description: Twins left fielder Josh Willingham (wrist) will take batting practice on the field Saturday for the first time since his injury, according to Rhett Bollinger of mlb.com.
Insight: Willingham was hit in the left wrist by a pitch on April 6 and suffered a fracture. He had to stop a batting practice session on April 29 when he felt continued soreness, but he's had no issues since then.
Description: Minnesota 3B Trevor Plouffe is a .167 career hitter against Tigers starter Justin Verlander.
Insight: Plouffe certainly isn't alone in his failure against Verlander. What really concerns us though, is that he's hitting just .132 in May with a whopping 15 strikeouts in 38 at bats. Until Plouffe (.254, 1 HR, 22 RBI) figures it out, we don't recommend playing him in fantasy.
Description: As expected, Twins first baseman Joe Mauer won't suit up Wednesday against the Indians. SOURCE: Mike Berardino, St. Paul Pioneer Press
Insight: He's still dealing with back spasms. The team is holding out hope Mauer (.296, 2 HR, 11 RBI) won't have to go on the DL. Chris Colabello (.270, 4 HR, 28 RBI) has been filling in at first base.
Description: Twins left fielder Josh Willingham (wrist) hit off a tee on Tuesday, according to mlb.com.
Insight: Willingham was hit in the left wrist by a pitch on April 6 and suffered a fracture. He had to stop a batting practice session early on April 29 when he felt continued soreness, but he did some light swinging Monday and had no issues Tuesday. He should be able to ramp up his activity again soon.
Description: After two rough outings in a row, Twins starter Kyle Gibson was excellent Monday against Cleveland.
Insight: The Indians managed just two hits in seven innings against him. Despite an impressive 3.50 ERA over six starts, Gibson has actually walked more batters than he's struck out this season (17 BB, 16 K's).
Description: Minnesota 1B Joe Mauer is sitting out Monday against Cleveland. SOURCE: LaVelle Neal, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Insight: Mauer exited Sunday's game with back spasms and still needs time to recover. Tonight it will be Chris Colabello (.274, 3 HR, 27 RBI) at first base with Chris Hermann (.138, 0 HR, 0 RBI) getting the nod in right field.
Description: Twins right-hander Phil Hughes has gone 3-0 with a 2.79 ERA in his last three starts.
Insight: Hughes had a 7.20 ERA in his first three starts. He's actually been pretty good this season despite what his 4.72 ERA suggests. He has a 29/6 K/BB and a 1.05 HR/9 in 34 1/3 innings, but he's had some horrible batted-ball luck with men on base and in scoring position and he's stranded just 66.8 percent of his baserunners.
Description: Minnesota has placed right-hander Mike Pelfrey on the 15-day DL with a strained groin.
Insight: This sounds like a phantom injury the Twins made up just to get him out of the rotation. Who could blame them after Pelfrey's latest outing against the Dodgers (4 IP, 7 H, 5 ER)? Obviously, he's no one fantasy owners should be considering right now.
Description: If Twins manager Ron Gardenhire does decide to drop Mike Pelfrey from the starting rotation, Samuel Deduno would be a candidate to take his place. SOURCE: MLBlogs.com
Insight: Deduno pitched well in 18 starts last season (8-8, 3.83 ERA) but he lost his spot when Minnesota revamped its rotation this offseason with the additions of Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes. Pelfrey (0-3, 7.99 ERA) is a sinking ship right now and we're guessing Deduno will get his chance sooner rather than later.
Description: Mike Pelfrey's next game for Minnesota may have to come as a relief pitcher. SOURCE: MLBlogs.com
Insight: Pelfrey pitched very poorly Thursday against Los Angeles (4 IP, 7 H, 5 ER) and is close to losing his spot in the starting rotation. He wasn't on the fantasy radar anyway so most owners won't be affected by this change if and when it takes place.
Description: Twins right-hander Phil Hughes was firing on all cylinders Saturday against Detroit.
Insight: Hughes (2-1, 5.14 ERA) limited the Tigers to two two runs (one earned) in seven innings of work. He fanned six hitters without walking a batter. His next start will be Friday against Baltimore.
Description: The Twins were able to claim outfielder Sam Fuld, who was recently placed on waivers. SOURCE: Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports
Insight: Fuld was designated for assignment by Oakland about a week ago. Even if Fuld becomes an everyday player, which is certainly possible in Minnesota's lackluster outfield, he won't be much of a fantasy option (.233 average in 743 career at bats).
Description: Minnesota third baseman Trevor Plouffe is 8-for-24 (.333) with three homers and a 1.235 OPS versus Royals left-hander Bruce Chen.
Insight: Plouffe is off to a solid start, batting .288 with an .801 OPS, but his long ball stroke is missing. He's hit one home run this season. He hit 24 homers over 119 games in 2012 and just 14 last season.
Description: Minnesota starter Kyle Gibson threw all zeros Thursday in a win against the Blue Jays.
Insight: Gibson might be one of the biggest fantasy surprises of the season so far with three victories and a 0.93 ERA in 19 1/3 innings. He's still available in 96 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues, though it won't be that way for long.
Description: Ricky Nolasco had his best start as a Twin Saturday against Kansas City.
Insight: Nolasco (1-1) limited the Royals to just one run in eight innings of work. Even with Saturday's outing, Nolasco's ERA still sits at a disappointing 5.50. He'll have a chance to lower that Friday against these same Royals.
Description: Minnesota second baseman Brian Dozier is a .556 hitter against Royals starter Bruce Chen (5-for-9) with three extra base hits and a 1.822 OPS.
Insight: After starting 0-for-13 to start the year, Dozier is starting to hit the ball with authority. He's homered in his last two games and leads the league in runs scored (9). Add in the favorable matchup and he's a solid play on Friday.
Description: Twins DH Jason Kubel went 4-for-5 with a solo homer Wednesday against Oakland.
Insight: Prior to Wednesday's game, Kubel had hit just 12 homers in 112 games at Target Field. He's hitting .462 with five runs, four doubles, one homer, six RBI and a 1.212 OPS this season after batting .216 with five homers in 97 games a year ago.
Description: Minnesota starter Phil Hughes has allowed 12 hits and eight earned runs over 10 innings in his first two starts this season.
Insight: Hughes is trying to prove that his struggles the past three seasons were mainly caused by Yankee Stadium, but he's been knocked around at U.S. Cellular Field and Target Field in his first two starts.
Description: According to Rhett Bollinger of mlb.com, the Twins are expected to place outfielder Oswaldo Arcia (wrist) on the disabled list.
Insight: Arcia hit .251 with 14 HR and 43 RBI last season while striking out 117 times in 351 at-bats. He hit .111 in his first four games and is dealing with right wrist issues for the second straight season.
Description: Minnesota left fielder Josh Willingham sat out Monday but is hoping to return Wednesday against Oakland. SOURCE: Mike Bernardino, Pioneer Press
Insight: Willingham's wrist is still bothering him after getting hit by a pitch on Sunday but he's hoping things will be back to normal by Wednesday. Fantasy owners seem to have soured on Willingham after his lackluster 2013 campaign (owned in only 5.4 percent of ESPN leagues).
Description: Twins outfielder Josh Willingham is questionable for Monday's game against Oakland.
Insight: Willingham took a fastball off the left wrist from Justin Masterson on Sunday and exited the game. X-Rays were negative and he was diagnosed with a bruised wrist. The Twins play Monday, but have off Tuesday, so Willingham may sit out until Wednesday to allow his bruise to heal. Plus he's just 3-for-17 with seven strikeouts versus Scott Kazmir.
Description: Twins outfielder Josh Willingham's X-rays came back negative and he has been diagnosed with a bruised wrist, according to Phil Miller of the Star Tribune.
Insight: Willingham took a fastball off the left wrist from Justin Masterson on Sunday and exited the game. The Twins play Monday but have off Tuesday, so Willingham may sit out until Wednesday to allow his bruise to heal.
Description: Indians starter Justin Masterson has limited Twins DH Jason Kubel to three hits in 17 at-bats (.176).
Insight: Kubel, back with Minnesota after two years in Arizona and eight games with Cleveland, has hit .385 with two doubles and three RBI in four games this season. He usually hits righties well but has never had success against Masterson.
Description: Twins 1B Joe Mauer is a career .625 hitter versus Cleveland right-hander Carlos Carrasco with a 1.417 OPS.
Insight: Mauer was hitless over his first two games, but the career .322 hitter has hit safely in the last two games and has a favorable matchup. There will be a strong wind blowing in at Progressive Field, however, so its a mild recommendation.
Description: Minnesota starter Kevin Correia allowed three runs (two earned) in six innings Wednesday against the White Sox.
Insight: Correia gave up five hits, walked one and struck out five in the no decision. The right-hander has a career 3.80 ERA in April but a 4.45 ERA or higher in every month from May-August, so don't get too excited about anything the Correia does this month.
Description: Twins prospect Byron Buxton could begin the season on the disabled list due to a sprained left wrist, according to the Star Tribune.
Insight: Buxton, ranked as the first overall prospect in baseball by MLB.com and Baseball America, hurt his wrist while diving for a ball 10 days ago. He is expected to begin the season as Double-A New Britain once he is healthy. Buxton, an outfielder, hit .334 with 12 homers and 55 steals in Single-A last year.
Description: Jason Kubel was informed Tuesday that he has made the Twins 25-man roster. The 31-year-old is expected to see time as a designated hitter and backup outfielder this season. SOURCE: mlb.com
Insight: Kubel had just five homers, a .216 average and a .610 OPS in 97 games with Arizona and Cleveland last season after hitting 30 homers with 90 RBI and an .833 OPS for the D'Backs in 2012. Kubel hit .273 and 94 home runs with the Twins from 2007-11, though he owns a .254 average and .724 OPS in 111 games at Target Field and shouldn't be owned in most fantasy leagues.
Description: Twins starter Vance Worley was outrighted to Triple-A Rochester.
Insight: Worley was once the Twins' Opening Day starter, but was 1-5 last season with a 7.21 ERA and 1.99 WHIP. It wasn't that long ago that he finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year voting (2011).
Description: Minnesota shortstop Pedro Florimon Jr. (appendectomy in February) is expected to play in a minor league game tomorrow.
Insight: The 27-year-old infielder has yet to prove he's much any fantasy-worthy value. He's never batted more than .221, scored more than 44 runs, hit more than nine homers or stolen more than 15 bases. That's why fantasy owners don't have him on their radar screens.
Description: Miguel Sano's Tommy John surgery is scheduled for March 12th. SOURCE: Mike Bernardino, St. Paul Pioneer Press
Insight: The Twins prospect strained his elbow in Winter Ball and never fully recovered. Sano probably would have made it to the big leagues at some point this season. Now we'll have to wait until 2015 to see the power-hitting third baseman.
Description: Minnesota prospect Miguel Sano has decided to undergo Tommy John surgery. Sano hurt his elbow while playing winter ball and was diagnosed with a strained UCL. SOURCE: LaVelle Neal, Star Tribune
Insight: While the recovery time for Tommy John is much shorter for position players than it is for pitchers, Sano has almost no chance of making it back before the end of the season. ESPN's Keith Law recently ranked Sano as the eight-best prospect in MLB.
Description: Twins third base prospect Miguel Sano had an examination Friday after feeling renewed soreness in his right elbow, according to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Insight: Sano strained his ulnar collateral ligament in winter ball and felt something on a throw from third during Thursday's intrasquad game. He reportedly called his agent Rob Plummer Friday to ask if he should have Tommy John surgery. MLB.com ranks Sano as the fourth best prospect in baseball (Twins outfielder Byron Buxton is No. 1).
Description: Dominican slugger Miguel Sano hit 35 homers between Single-A and Double-A last season and in an interview with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune claims he'll hit 45 this season - for the Twins.
Insight: "I hit 45 this year. More games," he said. "Maybe 55, you never know." He is talented, but he'll likely start the year in the minors. Fantasy owners should key a watchful eye on him, however, as he could end up in the majors some time this season.
Description: All signs point to Twins 24-year-old catcher Josmil Pinto getting a shot to start this season.
Insight: Pinto batted .342 in 76 at-bats last season and .314 at Triple-A Rochester. The Twins also signed veteran Kurt Suzuki to back him up and have Joe Mauer at first base, so they should be covered it Pinto doesn't pan out.
Description: Minnesota has agreed to terms with catcher Kurt Suzuki, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser.
Insight: He'll earn $2.75 million in 2014. Suzuki's offense has gone south of late, but he's a good defensive catcher and a nice guy to have in the clubhouse. The Twins hope that youngster Josmil Pinto (.314 at Triple-A Rochester) can grab the lion's share of the catching duties with Suzuki as his backup and Joe Mauer at first base.
Description: OF/DH Jason Kubel has signed a minor league deal with Minnesota.
Insight: Some of Kubel's best seasons have come in Minnesota. He hit 30 homers for Arizona in 2012 before completely falling off the map last season (.216, 5 HR, 32 RBI). Kubel should be comfortable back in Minnesota where he played for seven seasons, though Target Field isn't always kind to power hitters.
Description: Pitcher Phil Hughes has agreed to a three-year deal with Minnesota, according to a Minneapolis Star-Tribune report.
Insight: It's probably a good move for Hughes to get out of New York. He has talent, but hasn't shown it since around 2010. Out of the spotlight, he may yet develop into a fantasy-worthy starting pitcher.
Description: Righthander Ricky Nolasco has agreed to a four-year, $49 million deal with Minnesota. SOURCE: Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports
Insight: Nolasco isn't an ace but with such little talent in this year's free agent pool, he still got a big pay day. He'll get his 200 innings in Minnesota and has posted double-digit wins in six consecutive seasons.
Description: The Twins announced they will move Joe Mauer to first base full time in 2014, according to the Associated Press.
Insight: Mauer missed the last six weeks of the season with a concussion that he suffered when he took a foul tip off his mask on Aug. 19. The move is great news for fantasy owners, as Mauer will remain catcher-eligible for one more year without having to go through the wear and tear of the position. Mauer never has played more than 147 games in a season and has played 140 or more just three times in nine years.
Description: Minnesota left fielder Josh Willingham isn't starting Sunday's game versus Cleveland.
Insight: By all accounts, it's been a miserable year for Willingham. After knocking the cover off the ball in 2012 (35 HR, 110 RBI), he's had a hard time making contact in 2013 (.208 AVG, 128 K's). Willingham's home run total (14 in 111 games) is his lowest since 2010.
Description: Twins left fielder Josh Willingham is 1-for-16 (.063) with seven strikeouts over his last four games and owns a .143 lifetime average against Cleveland starter Scott Kazmir.
Insight: After a career year in 2012 that saw him produce 35 homers, 110 RBI and an .890 OPS, Willingham has hit .208 with 14 homers and 48 RBI in 385 at-bats this season. He shouldn't be started Saturday against the Indians or in the final game of the year Sunday.
Description: Twins left fielder Josh Willingham only has 10 at-bats against Indians starter Zach McAllister, but he has picked up six hits, including three homers.
Insight: After a career year in 2012 that saw him produce 35 homers, 110 RBI and an .890 OPS, Willingham has hit just .211 with 14 homers, 48 RBI and a .720 OPS this season. Fantasy owners who have stuck with him for this long should start him Thursday.
Description: Twins catcher Joe Mauer had another good workout Thursday as he tries to work back from a concussion. Its been one month since he suffered the injury.
Insight: Mauer, who last played on Aug. 19, had his concussion symptoms return Wednesday and was sent home. He's still without a timetable for a return, but is hoping to get back on the field this season. Given how conservative the team was with Justin Morneau, it is possible we won't see Mauer this season.
Description: Twins starter Samuel Deduno will have arthroscopic shoulder surgery next week. SOURCE: Brandon Warner, 1500 AM ESPN Twin Cities
Insight: Deduno will finish the 2013 campaign at 8-8 with a 3.83 ERA. No timetable has been given for his return to pitching and it's up in the air as to whether or not Deduno will be ready for the start of next season.
Description: Minnesota DH Ryan Doumit isn't starting Friday against the Rays. SOURCE: Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Insight: The Twins also announced that Doumit won't play catcher again this season, sighting a concussion he suffered back in August. Instead, Doumit will get most of his at bats as the DH while making occasional appearances in the outfield. September call-up Josmil Pinto will fill in behind the plate until Joe Mauer, who is also dealing with a concussion, is ready to return.
Description: Baltimore second baseman Alexi Casilla is a career .516 hitter (16-for-31) versus Yankees ace CC Sabathia.
Insight: The light-hitting second baseman has little fantasy value, so this might be his only chance to help a fantasy lineup all season. He did steal 21 bases last season in 299 official at-bats, but he's only gotten 106 at-bats this season.
Description: Twins starter Andrew Albers blanked the Blue Jays on four hits with zero walks in seven innings Sunday.
Insight: The 27-year-old rookie started off his major league career with 17 1/3 six-hit scoreless frames but gave up 32 hits and 17 earned runs in his last 21 1/3 prior to Sunday. He's a risky streaming option.
Description: Minnesota righthander Samuel Deduno's shoulder injury may require surgery. SOURCE: LaVelle Neal, Star Tribune
Insight: Deduno was already expected to miss the rest of this season but if surgery is necessary he may be sidelined for the start of the 2014 season as well. Deduno had lost four out of five before the injury (5.96 ERA in those starts).
Description: Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer (concussion) was able to take batting practice on Friday. SOURCE: Rhett Bollinger, MLB.com
Insight: That's the first time he's done that in a few weeks so this is definitely a good sign. There's no timetable for Mauer's return but it sounds like he could be back before the end of the season.
Description: Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe went 3-for-3 with a solo homer Monday versus the Astros.
Insight: Plouffe (.239) had gone 10-for-45 (.222) with zero multi-hit games over his last 12 games. He has 13 home runs in 419 plate appearances (.031 HR/PA) this season after blasting 24 in 465 (.052 HR/PA) last season.
Description: Twins shortstop Brian Dozier has hit .286 with nine doubles, a triple and seven homers over his last 27 games.
Insight: Dozier has crushed four home runs in his last nine games, including Monday against the Astros. The 26-year-old's .246/.314/.434 line doesn't look great, but Dozier has had a power surge over the last month. If you need a shortstop, he can help.
Description: Twins starter Samuel Deduno exited Thursday's game with right shoulder soreness, according to Lavelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune.
Insight: Deduno threw 71 pitches and allowed three runs over three innings before leaving the game. He has a 3.83 ERA, a 1.35 WHIP and 67 strikeouts in 108 innings, making him a marginal fantasy talent.
Description: Minnesota rookie Andrew Albers allowed three runs (two earned) over seven innings Wednesday against the Royals.
Insight: After throwing 17 1/3 scoreless innings in his first two big league starts, Albers gave up 10 earned runs over 12 2/3 innings prior to Wednesday's start. The 27-year-old only has 13 K in 37 innings, so he isn't a fantasy option outside AL-only leagues.
Description: Twins left fielder Josh Willingham has struck out four times and gone 1-for-11 against Indians starter Scott Kazmir.
Insight: Willingham has had a season to forget, hitting .215 with 12 homers in 303 at-bats. He's 10-for-57 (.175) with 21 K in 71 plate appearances since returning from knee surgery. Avoid this matchup and keep Willingham on the bench until he does something positive.
Description: It's unlikely that Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer will be in the lineup next week against Kansas City. SOURCE: LaVelle Neal, Star Tribune
Insight: Mauer, who is out with a concussion, is eligible to return from the disabled list on Tuesday but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. He's been told to take it easy until Tuesday and then he'll be reevaluated. There's no timetable for Mauer's return.
Description: Twins starter Samuel Deduno looked sharp Friday in a win against Cleveland (6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 6 K's).
Insight: Deduno dealt with shoulder pain earlier in the week but it didn't seem to affect him on Friday night. The win snapped a three-game slide for Deduno, who is now 8-7 for the season. He'll make his next start Thursday against Kansas City.
Description: Minnesota righthander Samuel Deduno is listed as questionable for Friday's scheduled start against Cleveland.
Insight: Deduno threw a bullpen session on Wednesday without incident and is expected to start. He's struggled in his last three starts giving up at least four earned runs in each and fantasy owners should avoid him until he turns it around.
Description: Twins outfielder Oswaldo Arcia is questionable for Friday's game against Cleveland with a sore left wrist. he still felt pain during a Thursday batting practice session.
Insight: Arcia has hit safely in nine of the last 11 games, but his average is still hovering below .260 with a .750 OPS. He has hit 10 homers in 272 at-bats which extrapolated over 500 plus at-bats would yield around 20 homers a season.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says the Great Recession complicated the Fed's ability to assess the U.S. job market and made it harder to determine when to adjust interest rates.
WEST PALM BEACH, FL -- (Marketwired) -- 03/21/14 -- Companies that pride themselves on being eco-friendly may have conflicted ideas between marketing with ad specialties and maintaining their green reputation. ...