Twins' first baseman Joe Mauer, who strained an oblique muscle in his side on July 1, had not done any baseball activities until this afternoon at Target Field. The Twins and Phil Hughes take on Tampa Bay this evening.
We chatted Thursday with Twins President Dave St. Peter for a Q&A that will run in Sunday’s print edition. But with the post-break schedule starting Friday at Target Field with a game against Tampa Bay — the first of a 10-game homestand — we thought one particular question was pertinent for the here and now.
Namely: Given the fact that they are still 10.5 games out of first place in the AL Central and 6.5 games back in the Wild Card standings, are the Twins (44-50) still considering themselves potential “buyers” at the trade deadline, are they already resigned to being “sellers,” or will the way this homestand plays out determine the answer to that question?
Keep in mind, the homestand will end July 27; the non-waiver trade deadline is July 31. We presented it to St. Peter with us having difficulty believing the Twins could still be buyers, regardless of how the homestand goes. Here is what St. Peter had to say:
“I think the 10-game homestand is going to go a long way toward determining what course of action we take. Obviously the best thing we can do to add to our team is to get Joe Mauer, Danny Santana and Ricky Nolasco back onto our roster. That’s number one. At the end of the day, I do believe our team is certainly capable of playing better baseball and producing more victories over the course of the second half.
“We’re disappointed with our record. We’ve probably played better than that, but it is what it is. You need to get to .500 before you can even think about contending for a post-season spot. So that’s mission number one, getting back to that .500 mark. … We believe (we’re better). Whether it plays out that way, I guess we’ll find out. But it has to start on this homestand.”