CHICAGO -- After starting the previous 44 games dating back to Aug 1, Twins second baseman Brian Dozier was held out of the starting lineup on Monday against the White Sox.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has been trying to find the right time to give Dozier a day off, but he didn't want to take out one of his best players when they played contending teams such as the A's and Rays last week.
"He's dragging a little bit," Gardenhire said. "We knew that. But we wanted him to play against those teams. So we'll see where we go from here."
Dozier said he never likes to be held out of the lineup, but he was fine with Gardenhire's decision, considering he played so many games in a row. The last time he was held out was from July 30-31, when his back and knee and were bothering him.
"We've been knocking heads the last few weeks about him trying to give me a few days off," Dozier said with a smile. "We kept joking back and forth. I kept saying, 'Don't even ask me.' But today was a good day, especially going into the last two weeks of the season."
Dozier has developed into a bright spot for the Twins, as he ranks fourth among all big league second basemen in extra-base hits (52). Among all Major League players, his 27 doubles dating back to June 16 rank second only to Matt Carpenter (31) of the Cardinals.
Former White Sox infielder Eduardo Escobar started in Dozier's place at second base on Monday.
Pinto having success while learning on the job
CHICAGO -- Every day in the big leagues has been a learning experience for Twins catcher Josmil Pinto so far.
Pinto, who was recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Aug. 31, has made the most of it, especially offensively, hitting .405 with five doubles and two homers in his first 11 games. His biggest contribution came on Sunday, when he hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth inning off Rays reliever Joel Peralta to lead the Twins to a 6-4 win.
But defensively, he's been more of a work in progress, still working on his receiving skills such as pitch framing -- he often moves with the pitch instead of just moving the glove -- and pitch calling.
But Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has been impressed with his work ethic, as Pinto is in constant communication with bench coach and former big league catcher Terry Steinbach before, during and after games.
"Obviously, he's doing fine," Gardenhire said. "He has things to learn. Steiny is right there with him every step of the way. He talks to him between innings about situations and things. He's anxious to learn and do it right. And that's the good thing about having Terry Steinbach as one of our coaches."
Pinto, a native of Venezuela, is also trying to improve his English, as he's working to get better at communicating with the pitchers and his coaches. He's able to do some basic interviews with reporters in English, but he prefers to use a translator for now. But it's another thing he'll work to improve on this offseason, as he's set to head back to his native Venezuela to play winter ball.
"The only thing I've really ever tried to do is learn every day the things people taught me and go out and play the game hard," Pinto said through translator and Twins first baseman Chris Colabello. "Those are the things I can control."
Gardenhire said this month is key for Pinto, as he's been getting constant playing time with Joe Mauer still out since sustaining a concussion on a foul tip on Aug. 19. Mauer has been working out at Target Field, but there's still no timetable for his return, although there remains a chance he could join the team on its current road trip through Chicago and Oakland.
"We think he has the chance to be an everyday catcher," Gardenhire said about Pinto. "With Joe-Joe out, this is an opportunity for him to get playing time. Hopefully, he continues to take advantage of it like he did [Sunday]."
Triple-A manager Glynn joins Twins staff for rest of season
CHICAGO -- The Twins added another coach to their staff for the final two weeks of the regular season, as Triple-A Rochester manager Gene Glynn joined the Twins on their road trip.
Glynn guided Rochester to a 77-67 record and a spot in the International League playoffs, where they lost to Pawtucket in a deciding Game 5.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he was happy to have Glynn on the staff, as the two speak frequently during the season.
"We stay in contact quite a bit," Gardenhire said. "Any time there's player movement up and down or I see they're going through a good stretch or bad stretch, I'll give him a buzz. He lets me know about players. So it's nice having a guy like that with so much experience."
Glynn has good rapport with many of the club's players because many of them played in Rochester over the last two seasons. He's also helping give recommendations such as giving Eric Fryer a chance to start his first game with the Twins at catcher on Wednesday against the White Sox with Scott Diamond on the mound.
"I talked to Gene Glynn about it and I talked to Diamond about it," Gardenhire said. "Those two work well together. So we'll watch those guys up Wednesday and let Fryer catch a game and start a game, which he deserves."