Eric Hinske couldn’t have put it better. As he sat in the visitor’s dugout inside the Metrodome and watched Minnesota’s Justin Morneau take batting practice with a set of fake sideburns attached to his head, Hinske shook his head.
"I guess when you hit around .400, you get your own sideburns give-away day," Hinske said.
That’s exactly what Thursday was: Joe Mauer Sideburns give-away day. Torii Hunter and Morneau were two of the Twins sporting Mauer’s trademark burns during the pregame workout.
Hinske and the other Blue Jays did have more important things to talk about, though. He and others dicussed with infield instructor and third base coach Brian Butterfield how the turf at the Metrodome plays and they talked about how easy it is to lose a fly ball in the air because of the white dome. Minnesota has quite the advantage playing at home. That’s easy to see just by looking at the Twins’ record: 39-15 at home versus 28-31 on the road.
Other news and notes: Justin Speier’s MRI on Wednesday showed there was no structural damage to his elbow. The injury only involves his forearm, which is good news. Still, I wouldn’t expect him back for another month or so. … Scott Downs will indeed start on Saturday. … Gustavo Chacin will make a fourth rehab start, this time with class-A Dunedin, on Monday. Then he’s scheduled to slide back into the rotation on Saturday.
Uh, oh: Minnesota’s rookie phenon, Francisco Liriano, received an MRI of his own on Thursday. His revealed a mild strain to the ulnar collateral ligament caused by weakness in his rotator cuff. There’s that ol’ UCL thing again. Sound familiar? That’s the same ligament that sidelined Chacin and A.J. Burnett for more than four months combined. That doesn’t sound like very good news for Twins fans.