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Observations from Red Sox’ 5-4 10-inning win: David Ortiz feels ‘all right’ testing his wheels, Rusney Castillo walks off hero 03.26.15 at 5:18 pm ET
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David Ortiz jogs out a pop out in the fifth inning Thursday against the Twins. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

David Ortiz jogs out a pop out in the fifth inning Thursday against the Twins. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The sight of David Ortiz‘s maple bat exploding violently is not what captured the attention of Red Sox manager John Farrell in the slugger’s second at-bat Thursday at JetBlue Park. It was the sight of him legging out a fielder’s choice that drove in Mookie Betts from third base.

The ball dribbled far enough out to the right of second baseman Eduardo Escobar that he flipped onto the shortstop to put out Dustin Pedroia. But Danny Santana’s throw was not in time to get Ortiz at first.

Testing his “wheels” — as Ortiz put it afterward — was a big test for the designated hitter to pass after missing the last 10 days due to general soreness and dehydration that had zapped so much strength from his legs. Ortiz was cautiously optimistic that Thursday’s 5-4 10-inning win over the Twins at JetBlue Park as a step in the right direction for him.

“It felt all right,” Ortiz said after going 0-for-3 with a strikeout. “I’m just trying to get that feeling of running.”

“Good to see them back in the lineup, for one,” Farrell said. “I thought David took some good swings, but we’ve got 10 days remaining and they’re going to get ample at-bats before we break here. The fact is the next step back after a little bit of downtime for both, and I think it’ll be good to get some continuity in our lineup.”

Ortiz wasn’t the only player returning as Mike Napoli batted in a game for the first time since an ankle injury shut him down on Mar. 18. Napoli also struck out in his first at-bat in the second inning but responded with a single in the third. Napoli finished 1-for-2.

“He got down the line well, kept from being doubled up,” Farrell said of Ortiz. “I think it was an indication that the soreness he’s been dealing with, he’s feeling better, and that was the case with some baserunning the last couple of days. So a productive day for both.”

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Read More: 2015 spring training, Boston Red Sox, christian vazquez, David Ortiz
Wednesday’s Red Sox-Twins matchups: John Lackey vs. Kyle Gibson 06.18.14 at 9:43 am ET
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The Red Sox finish their three-game series with the Twins at Fenway Park Wednesday afternoon when they send John Lackey to the mound against Kyle Gibson.

Lackey (8-4, 3.24 ERA) continues to be the Red Sox‘€™ best arm this season after throwing his 11th quality start of the year last Friday. He gave up three runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings in a 10-3 win over the Indians. He struck out five and walked just one. The right-hander has allowed three runs or fewer in nine of his last 10 starts, and is 6-2 with a 2.56 ERA in that span.

Lackey, however, deflected the praise to his offense after his latest win.

“Tonight was more about the offense more than anything,” Lackey said after the game. “The guys really swung the bats great, made a couple of great defensive plays for me, just a good team win.”

Lackey went 1-1 in a pair of starts against Minnesota last season. He gave up five runs — just one earned — in a 5-3 loss at Fenway on May 9, 2013, but shut down the Twins in six strong innings for a win 10 days later.

Lackey is 8-6 with a 3.35 ERA in 17 career starts against Minnesota. He’€™s particularly struggled against Twins slugger Joe Mauer, who is batting .367 lifetime against Lackey with two home runs and four RBIs in 31 career plate appearances.

Gibson (6-5, 3.55 ERA) has been playing arguably the best baseball of his young career as of late. The 26-year-old has a 2.37 ERA in his last six starts and has pitched shutouts in three of his last four outings, including his last two. On Friday the right-hander dominated the Tigers over seven innings, giving up five hits and two walks to go with three strikeouts to improve his June ERA to 1.80. Detroit’€™s Austin Jackson, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez combined to go 1-for-7 against Gibson.

“His ball was moving really nice,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said after the game. “He had them in the defensive mode. You could see them fighting off pitches.”

Wednesday will be Gibson’€™s first career start against the Red Sox and their current roster.

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Read More: john lackey, kyle gibson, Minnesota Twins, Red Sox
Monday’s Red Sox-Twins matchups: Rubby De La Rosa vs. Kevin Correia 06.16.14 at 9:34 am ET
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The Red Sox start a three-game series with the Twins at Fenway Park on Monday when they send Rubby De La Rosa to the mound against Kevin Correia.

De La Rosa (1-2, 3.93 ERA) has been less-than-stellar for the Red Sox in his two starts since his impressive Sox debut May 31. After dominating the Rays in seven shutout innings, De La Rosa has allowed eight runs in 11 1/3 innings in losses in Detroit and Baltimore. The right-hander gave up four runs, three of which came in the first inning, on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings in a 6-0 Red Sox loss Wednesday against the Orioles. He walked two and struck out seven.

“I thought tonight was an important learning experience for him, the way in which he needs to use his fastball,” manager John Farrell said after the game. “Quickly the word spreads around this league on what an individual pitcher will go to. I thought once he started to use his fastball more from the third inning on, he forced some swings and made his changeup and his breaking pitches that much more effective. But like I said, I think it’s more a very good learning lesson tonight.”

De La Rosa has one career start against the Twins, on June 29, 2011. He pitched seven strong innings in that game, giving up one run on six hits, but has only faced two current members of the Twins in his career. Joe Mauer is hitting .333/.333/.667 with a double and a strikeout in three career plate appearances against De La Rosa, while Eduardo Nunez is 1-for-2 against the 25-year-old.

Correia (3-7, 5.60 ERA) hasn’t had much go his way this season, especially early on. The right-hander got off to a dreadful start, going 0-3 with a 7.33 ERA in his first five outings, but has gradually found himself on the upswing. His ERA has been no lower than 5.30 since April 7, but he has had quality starts in three of his last five outings and has a 3.90 ERA in that span.

Correia enters Monday’€™s contest coming off his best game of the season. He held the Blue Jays scoreless over six innings for his first shutout of the season last Tuesday, and picked up his first win since May 20. He surrendered just six hits and one walk and had a strikeout in the 4-0 Minnesota win. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Kevin Correia, Minnesota Twins, Red Sox, rubby de la rosa
Through 17 years, two names and three teams, A.J. Pierzynski has seen this before from David Ortiz 04.09.14 at 8:52 pm ET
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Perhaps it’s overstating it to say A.J. Pierzynski expected David Ortiz to drive a rocket about 100 feet beyond the fence in right field in the eighth inning Wednesday for the game-winning three-run homer in a 4-2 win over the Rangers. But certainly it’s safe to say he wasn’t surprised. After all, Pierzynski has seen this sort of thing for the better part of two decades, dating to when Ortiz — then known as David Arias — was an up-and-coming slugger for the Mariners‘ affiliate in the Single-A Midwest League and Pierzynski opposed him with the Twins’ Midwest League team in Fort Wayne in 1996.

After that season, the M’s traded “Arias” to the Twins as a player to be named for Dave Hollins. After he moved between organizations, Ortiz revealed two things to the Twins — first, that his listed date of birth (February 18, 1975) was inaccurate, and that he had been born on Nov. 18, 1975, and secondly, that despite the fact that his full given name is David Americo Ortiz Arias (with Arias being his mother’s maiden name), he went by the name of David Ortiz.

Pierzynski was unfamiliar with those details. But he knew what he saw immediately in early 1997, when he and Ortiz were teammates with the High-A Fort Myers Miracle.

“My first game I ever played with David, or one of my first, in ’97, when he first came over, we were playing maybe Port Charlotte, the Rangers,” Pierzynski related Wednesday after the fourth win of the season. “Ninth inning, they brought in a lefty, and he hit a walkoff homer to left field. And I had known, playing against him the year before, I was in Fort Wayne and he was in Appleton, and I said, ‘Man, this guy can hit a little bit.’ Then we traded got him and I was like, ‘Man, we got this Arias guy.’ And then we he came over, he was Ortiz, and I said, ‘Man, I think we traded for the wrong guy!’ It was the same guy.”

Indeed it was. And in many ways, Ortiz remains the same guy even now, 17 years later, with Pierzynski reunited in Boston with his former Twins teammate. Not much has changed in the interim.

Wednesday was just another in seemingly countless big moments where the game turned on one of his at-bats late. His three-run homer traveled some 100 feet beyond the Pesky Pole in right and was the 24th career go-ahead homer in the eighth inning or later, his last also coming against the Rangers on June 6 last year.

“David’s special,” Pierzynski said. “He loves the big moment. He lives for the big moment. We saw it again today. Through his ups and downs, whatever it is, David wants to be up there and he’s always wanted that. I’ve known him for 20 years and he’s always wanted to be the guy at bat in those situations.”

Read More: A.J. Pierzynski, Boston Red Sox, David Americo Ortiz Arias, David Ortiz
Allen Webster knocked around in spring debut, Grady Sizemore falls down, passes a physical test 03.01.14 at 2:16 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — If Saturday was any indication, 24-year-old Allen Webster has fallen behind Anthony Ranaudo in the Red Sox pitching prospect race.

Webster, who made his debut with the Red Sox last season in seven spot starts, was roughed up by the Minnesota Twins in his first start of spring training at Hammond Stadium. The Twins beat the Red Sox for the second straight day, 6-2, before a Hammond record crowd of 8,547. Daniel Nava homered from the right side of the plate in the first inning and Grady Sizemore overcame a mild fall before the center field wall to go 1-for-3 in the loss.

After getting Aaron Hicks to ground out to Garin Cecchini at third to open the first inning, Webster allowed three straight hard-hit balls to the outfield that all found the grass. Brian Dozier then crushed a ball to left-center that caused Sizemore to truly test his body when he lost his footing on the warning track just shy of the wall trying to field it. Sizemore stayed in the game.

“He lost his footing when he went down,” manager John Farrell said. “You recognize he’s going to pivot and torque on the leg. He came out of it fine and there were no issues. It’s just good to see him get three at-bats and continue to build.”

Webster then gave up an RBI single to right by Joe Mauer. Josh Willingham followed with a double. Webster then hit Chris Parmelee and walked Trevor Plouffe to force in a run. Lefty Chris Hernandez began warming in the bullpen as Webster appeared as if he wouldn’t make it out of the first. But a sacrifice fly and a fielder’s choice ended the inning with Minnesota up, 3-1.

Manager John Farrell allowed Webster to start the second inning and Webster responded with getting the first two outs quickly before Dozier singled to right to end his day. Webster allowed four hits and three earned runs in his inning and two-thirds of work.

“I just got in there and got a little anxious, left a few balls up, fell behind and they made good contact with it,” Webster said. “I need to get the ball down and get ahead of the batter.”

Webster’s spring debut comes in contrast to that of Ranaudo a day earlier. Ranaudo retired all six batters he faced in two innings, striking out four. He needed just 24 pitches (19 strikes). Webster needed that many to get through the first inning.

As for Sizemore, he singled to right on a grounder past the second baseman with one out in the fifth on his third at-bat of the day. Farrell immediately substituted Mike McCoy in his place as a pinch-runner at first. Sizemore flew out to left to open the game, struck out looking in the third before singling in the fifth.

Drake Britton was a highlight for the Red Sox, as the lefty allowed one hit while striking out four in his two innings.

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Read More: allen webster, anthony ranaudo, Boston Red Sox, grady sizemore
Grady Sizemore starts in center, A.J. Pierzynski, Daniel Nava get first looks of spring at 9:18 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — A.J. Pierzynski gets his first start of the spring and will catch righthander Allen Webster as the Red Sox look to rebound against the Twins after dropping their Grapefruit League opener, 8-2, Friday at JetBlue Park.

“We’ve all seen him many times, just now it’s in our uniform,” John Farrell said Saturday morning at JetBlue Park before taking the crosstown bus ride to Hammond Stadium. “But this is the first step to handling the guys he’s going to be dealing with. Even though it’s not one our of frontline starters right now in Webster but I think first game activity for A.J. will start that transition to us in earnest.”

First pitch under sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 70s is set for 1:05 p.m. at Hammond Stadium.

Also starting for the first time this spring is Daniel Nava, who missed time early in camp with neck soreness. He took batting practice and participated in infield and outfield drills this week and was cleared to play.

Grady Sizemore plays for the second time in three days and will get his first look in center field after playing left field on Thursday against Northeastern.

Here is Saturday’s lineup for the Red Sox:

Grady Sizemore CF

Jonathan Herrera SS

Daniel Nava LF

A.J. Pierzynski C

Mike Carp 1B

Alex Hassan RF

Garin Cecchini 3B

Travis Shaw DH

Brock Holt 2B

Allen Webster P

Read More: A.J. Pierzynski, Boston Red Sox, daniel nava, grady sizemore
Anthony Ranaudo shines, Jonny Gomes leads off, Andrew Miller struggles, Twins spoil Grapefruit League opener 02.28.14 at 4:18 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Leading pitching prospect Anthony Ranaudo looked overpowering in two perfect innings while Andrew Miller struggled as the Minnesota Twins spoiled the official Grapefruit League opener for the Red Sox, 8-2, Friday afternoon in a sunbathed JetBlue Park.

Ranaudo, the 24-year-old righthander who was selected 39th overall in the 2010 supplemental draft, came out blazing. He fanned Minnesota regulars Alex Presley, Trevor Plouffe and Jason Kubel as part of his four strikeouts on the day. He needed just 24 pitches (19 strikes) to get through two perfect innings.

Jonny Gomes batted three times in the leadoff spot in the order, opening the first inning with a line out to short on a 2-1 pitch. He also flew out to left in the fourth and tapped back to the mound in the sixth.

David Ortiz was 0-for-2 with a check-swing on strike three for a strikeout.

The biggest struggles on the day came for the Red Sox relievers. After walking a batter in a scoreless third, Cuban defector Dalier Hinojosa was hit hard in the fourth, allowing four hits and three runs as the Twins took a 3-0 lead. He recorded just two outs in the fourth before being relieved by minor leaguer Robby Scott.

Andrew Miller ran into bad control issues in the fifth. He walked the bases loaded and allowed a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0. He was also relieved by a minor leaguer, Mike McCarthy, who allowed a two-run double to Chris Calobello that put another two runs on Miller’s line. He finished allowing three runs on no hits with a strikeout in two-thirds innings of work.

Other highlights included Mike Napoli singling twice to left field on the afternoon and minor league outfielder Bryce Brentz homering over the center field wall on an 0-2 pitch in the sixth to finally put the Red Sox on the board.

Brock Holt, whose throwing error in the ninth allowed the Twins to make it 8-1, got the run back with a bases-loaded ground out to first in the bottom of the inning to account for the final score. The game took three hours, 10 minutes.

Before the game, all three World Series trophies from 2004, ’07 and last year were on display on the infield and everyone in major league camp was introduced during a 15-minute ceremony honoring the defending World Series champions.

The two teams will meet again on Saturday across town as Allen Webster starts for the Red Sox against the Twins at Hammond Stadium at 1:05 p.m.

Read More: andrew miller, anthony ranaudo, Boston Red Sox, dalier hinojosa
Wednesday’s Red Sox-Twins matchups: Allen Webster vs. Pedro Hernandez 05.08.13 at 10:48 am ET
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The Red Sox will get another look at Allen Webster as he takes Felix Doubront‘s place in the rotation on Wednesday. Pedro Hernandez will start the third game of the series for the Twins.

Doubront is heading to the bullpen to replace the injured Joel Hanrahan, while Webster, one of the Sox’ most promising pitching prospects, will make his second major league start.

The 23-year-old Webster impressed in his first outing in Boston on April 21, striking out five Royals over six innings. He averaged 95 mph with his fastball, at times throwing it as hard as 98 mph. He also used his offspeed pitches confidently, mixing in his curveball and changeup with his two-seam and four-seam fastballs.

Webster allowed three runs, two earned, in that start. Both earned runs came via solo homers in the fifth inning, to Alex Gordon and George Kottaras.

Over 20 innings with Triple-A Pawtucket this year, Webster has 26 strikeouts and six walks. He’s started four games and posted a 2.70 ERA. Control was something of a problem for him in the past, as he averaged more than four walks per nine innings in 24 minor league starts last year. Through the first five weeks of this season, though, he seems to have put those issues behind him.

Hernandez has done a little of everything for the Twins this year. He’s made three starts along with two relief appearances — one in long relief when Vance Worley lasted only one inning against the Mets on April 12, the other when he pitched the ninth inning of an 8-5 loss to the Marlins.

The 24-year-old Hernandez has a 3.92 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP through 20 2/3 innings. Last year, he pitched just one game for the White Sox, which happened to be against the Red Sox on July 18.

In that game, Hernandez lasted four innings, giving up eight runs on 12 hits, three of which were home runs. Cody Ross homered off him twice, and Adrian Gonzalez went deep once.

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Read More: allen webster, Minnesota Twins, Pedro Hernandez,
Closing Time: A painful, ugly mess as Twins beat Red Sox 05.07.13 at 10:12 pm ET
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It was night when injury was added to insult for the Red Sox.

Ryan Doumit doubled, homered and scored twice as the Twins handed the Red Sox their fourth loss in five games, 6-1, Tuesday night at Fenway Park.

Wilkin Ramirez singled home Ryan Doumit in the fifth inning to break a scoreless tie, one batter after a collision that injured a pair of Red Sox starters. David Ross collided with Will Middlebrooks while chasing a Chris Parmelee foul pop near the Twins dugout, behind the on-deck circle.

‘€œDavid Ross has a left quad contusion right above the knee area,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “When he slid, both he and Will, the shin guard kind of peeled back a little bit and he slammed into the wall at that point, so he’€™s day-to-day. It’€™s not anything in the knee. Structurally, that’€™s checked out fine. But he started to get some swelling in that inning and we got him out of there.

‘€œWill is undergoing X-rays and CT scans on that right side. When he slid on his left side, he kind of whipped over and slammed into the wall. [As a precaution], we got him out of the game. He took the next at-bat, didn’€™t feel anything. He stated he could’€™ve gone further but as a precaution we got him out of the game.’€

Ross would stay in the game for one batter before coming out with a strained left quadriceps while Middlebrooks came out after the sixth inning with pain in his right side. The double dose of injury news comes one night after the Red Sox lost their closer Joel Hanrahan to a strained right forearm.

Ryan Dempster (2-3) was the tough-luck loser as his offense and fielders failed him, early and late, respectively. Lefty Scott Diamond (3-2) stifled the Red Sox on three hits over seven shutout innings.

‘€œA very good outing by Ryan Dempster,” Farrell said. “Unfortunately, not much to show for it on our end, and that’€™s not taking anything away from Diamond, who lived on the edge and stay out of the middle of the plate, even when he got in a couple of fastball counts. He located well.

‘€œIn the time he was in the there, I don’€™t think we had a guy past first base. Other than that, it was a solid outing by Ryan Dempster.’€

During a four-run Minnesota eighth that blew the game open, Farrell appeared ready to get his first ejection as skipper, arguing a call at first when he felt Doumit ran inside the baseline, causing a Jarrod Saltalamacchia error that continued Boston’s misery in the inning.

‘€œWe execute the out at home,” Farrell said. “The return throw is low as he’€™s trying to throw around the runner Doumit. He steps on [Mike] Napoli‘€™s foot, clearly indicates he’€™s inside the base path. The explanation to me was ‘€¦ I’€™m still trying to figure out the explanation. I’€™ll just leave it at that. That 45-foot lane is there for a reason. He wasn’€™t in it. By the rule, he should’€™ve been out.’€


‘€¢ Injuries mounting very fast. There’s no immediate prognosis on the Middlebrooks or Ross injuries but the Red Sox can ill afford a repeat of 2012 when injuries to starting position players midway through the season depleted their depth and eventually took its toll. The Red Sox are already dealing with injuries to Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey while hoping Napoli and David Ortiz hold up over the course of the season.

‘€¢ Scott Diamond looked like Cole Hamels. The lefty, mixing his 89 mph fastball with a wide variety of offspeed pitches, kept the Red Sox batters off balance all night.

‘€¢ Saltalamacchia continues to struggle badly. He over-swung at an 81 mph slider down and in during his first plate appearance in place of Ross. Salty did connect for his fourth homer of the season, an opposite field solo shot over the Monster to open the ninth.

‘€¢ Before getting injured, Will Middlebrooks’€˜ struggles continued, going 0-for-2 with a strike out, dropping his average to .192 on the season.

‘€¢ Pedro Ciriaco woeful in the field. Life has not been kind to Red Sox third basemen. Middlebrooks has struggled in the field this season and his two errors on routine grounders to open the eighth opened the flood gates for the Twins, who blew the game wide open.

‘€œShort term, not a concern,” Farrell said of the club’s depth situation at third base with Middlebrooks’ status uncertain. “That was uncharacteristic of Pedro tonight. He has shown to be a very dependable defender. Two miscues are unlike him. Long term, we don’€™t think Will’€™s situation is more than day-to-day at this point. We’€™ll certainly get a better read when the test results come back. My thoughts haven’€™t gone down that path yet.’€

‘€¢ Lefty Craig Breslow couldn’t get anyone out, literally. After coming in for Dempster, Breslow allowed three hits, one walk and two runs, one earned, as Saltalamacchia committed the third Red Sox error of a brutal four-run eighth.

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Read More: Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, David Ross, Minnesota Twins
Tuesday’s Red Sox-Twins matchups: Ryan Dempster vs. Scott Diamond at 9:29 am ET
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Ryan Dempster will face off against one of the only other Canadian starting pitchers in the majors, Scott Diamond of the Twins, at 7:10 p.m. on Tuesday.

Dempster picked up his second win on May 2 as the Sox beat the Blue Jays, 3-1. He struck out just four, his lowest strikeout total of the year, but allowed only one run on four hits and three walks over six innings.

With the Sox bullpen struggling of late, the team will hope for Dempster to pitch as far into Tuesday’s game as he can. This year, he’s twice gone five innings, twice six and twice seven, last finishing the seventh inning on April 21 against the Royals.

Dempster has started just three games against the Twins in his career, two of them last year with the Rangers. He struck out 13 over 14 innings in those two starts and allowed just two runs, picking up wins in both games.

Diamond has put together a string of three solid starts since starting off on shaky ground this season. He’s pitched at least six innings in each of his last three starts, and most recently gave up two runs over six, striking out three and walking one, as the Twins beat the Tigers, 6-2, on May 1.

Diamond emerged as a decent starter for the Twins last year in his first full season in the big leagues. Over 27 starts, he posted a 3.54 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. His strikeout numbers were underwhelming (just 4.7 per nine innings, the second-lowest rate in the American League) but he balanced that out with the lowest walk rate in the AL, walking 1.6 batters per nine innings.

Diamond has never pitched against the Red Sox. The only current Sox who have faced him are Jonny Gomes and Shane Victorino, both of whom are hitless against him in three plate appearances each.

Apart from Jamey Carroll, who owns a .467 OBP against him in 15 PAs, Dempster has fared well against most current Twins. Justin Morneau has a solo home run against him, but Joe Mauer has had trouble with Dempster, striking out five times in seven appearances against him.

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Read More: Minnesota Twins, Ryan Dempster, Scott Diamond,
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