Ex-Rays Harris (at DH), Young in lineup, spotlight for Twins
Last year, SS Jason Bartlett and RHP Matt Garza got to play in the postseason with the Rays, while their former Twins teammates - along with INF Brendan Harris and OF Delmon Young, the two key players who went to Minnesota in the big trade - could only watch.
Now it's the other way around, with Harris and Young making their postseason debuts tonight at Yankee Stadium, and the Rays home watching.
Harris, a utility/part-time infielder who hit .261 with six home runs while making 94 starts between shortstop, second and third, is in an odd role - the DH in the Twins lineup.
It's something Harris did six times in September againsty lefties (and only one other time in his career), but not exactly where you'd expect to see him on the postseason stage.
"Yea, I know ... ,'' Harris said. "I've been doing it off and on the last three weeks.''
He got off to a good start, singling in his first at-bat.
Young has stepped up in the last few weeks for the Twins, taking advantage of increased playing time following the injury to 1B Justin Morneau (which shifted Michael Cuddyer from the outfield to first base) to put up the kind of numbers the Twins expected when they made the November 2007 deal, hitting .348 with four homers and 17 RBIs over his last 22 games.
"I'm playing,'' Young said.
The involved players have said they aren't concerned how the trade has looked. But, Harris joked: "No pressure to get to the World Series. so we'll see what happens.''
Harris said what seemed obvious, that after the thrilling 12-inning Game 163 win over the Tigers on Tuesday night, they were just happy to be here Wednesday. "It was a great atmosphere last night, and turn around and about 12 hours later (actually closer to 18) we're taking BP out here, so it's pretty fun,'' Harris said. "It was a quick turnaround, but it was worth it.''
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said they want to make it worthwhile: "We're not satisfied with just getting here. It's been a big accompishment from where we were to get here, so I don't want to take anything any from my guys for that. I believe they believe we have a chance. Our guys are excited. We haven't backed away from too many things this year, especially the last three-four weeks. They haven't backed away from anything. They're not satisfied with just getting in the playoffs now. They want a piece of this thing.''