Twins stand pat, keep faith in Jones

Leadoff man, in 1-for-17 slump entering Game 3, has RBI double in seventh

League Championship Series

Baseball

October 12, 2002|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Though his left fielder was fighting a horrendous postseason slump, Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire didn't make a change for Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.

Before last night, Jacque Jones had one hit in his past 17 at-bats, and none since Game 4 of the AL Division Series. He struck out seven times, and his struggles were magnified as the Twins' leadoff hitter.

"I've hit some balls hard," he said. "I sent Garret Anderson back to the track, and Tim Salmon, too. I'm just in a bad stretch right now."

Last night, Jones was 0-for-3 before doubling in a run in the seventh to tie the game 1-1.

Jones batted .300 during the regular season, with 27 homers and 85 RBIs. He's not a prototypical leadoff hitter, with only 37 walks and six stolen bases in 13 attempts during the regular season.

"Good hitters go through bad stretches," Jones said, "and I'm in one right now. The more you try to figure it out, the more you confuse yourself."

Gardenhire apparently didn't consider putting Jones on the bench last night against Anaheim Angels left-hander Jarrod Washburn. Jones was 1-for-7 with four strikeouts lifetime against Washburn.

"I don't worry about our starters," Gardenhire said. "Good pitching can make you not hit. Jacque's going through a little phase. Some very tough left-handers, a couple right-handers who are pretty nasty. He's hitting some balls on the nose, just not getting any hits right now. I'm not worried about Jacque."

Gardenhire's only outfield change came in right, where Dustan Mohr replaced Mike Cuddyer. Gardenhire wasn't pleased with Cuddyer's defense in Game 2.

Salmon update

After testing his right hamstring with a pre-game run, Salmon pushed for his inclusion in last night's lineup. He left Game 2 in the third inning because of tightness in the leg and received a cortisone injection from team physician Dr. Lewis Yocum.

Salmon was 0-for-3 last night.

"He's such an important piece to our offensive continuity that it's good to have him in there," manager Mike Scioscia said.

With no concerns about aggravating the injury, the Angels kept Salmon in right instead of using him as the designated hitter.

"We gave a lot of thought about what would be better for him and the club," Scioscia said. "If he can go and feels good, and Tim feels good about playing in the outfield and keeping it loose, I think that's the way we should go."

Limited amount of Radke

Brad Radke won twice in the Division Series, but he might pitch only once in the ALCS unless Gardenhire gives him a Game 7 start on short rest.

Radke opposes Anaheim rookie John Lackey tonight in Game 4. He pitched Game 5 of the Division Series on Sunday, and Gardenhire used Joe Mays, Rick Reed and Eric Milton ahead of him in the ALCS.

"If it is my only start in this series, hopefully I'll get another couple cracks in the World Series," he said.

Koskie strikes out 4 times

Corey Koskie tied an LCS record by striking out four times last night. It was the sixth time a player had done so, but only the third in a nine-inning game.

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