Drew Butera caught last night.
It may seem insignificant, he's not an everyday player, but if the Twins are serious about moving Mauer from the dish, Butera is going to see more playing time.
"He’s prepared when he’s asked to play every fifth day or so," said bench base Scott Ullger, who was filling in for manager Ron Gardenhire.
Gardenhire left the game due to illness on Saturday.
Nathan got the save in a 4-3 nail-biter.
"For now," said Ullger. "Joe is back in the closer’s role."
Minnesota was also able to bounce back after a crushing loss as well.
The following are three important developments in Minnesota.
Tom Schreier is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand or from official interview materials from the Minnesota Twins.
Jeff Francis gives up a home run to Drew Butera in the fourth.
After blasting a ball to the warning track in left field in the first, Butera's second connection found a way to to the seats on the fourth.
"It was a little different at-bat," Butera said of his second plate appearance, when he hit the home run.
"I was ahead in the count in my second time at-bat, so I was able to get a little more extended, but pretty similar pitches."
It was Butera's second home run of the season.
Ullger said Butera's work ethic allowed him to succeed in a backup role.
"Drew works really hard," says Ullger of Butera. "He overworks, in extra batting practice and catching. Today he was out there throwing before the game because he hadn’t thrown to second in a while.
"As a backup player you have to overwork yourself. You can only get so much BP, but Drew really takes it to the next level."
"That’s the thing, I’ve gotta make myself ready, just in case, every day," said Butera of his preparation. "[I] try to do the things I can to make myself ready.
"It’s a little bit extra of everything: extra blocks, extra throws, extra swings, extra reps in the weight room just to keep myself strong and sharp."
Butera's hard work certainly crystallized with the home run yesterday.
Nathan already had 250 saves, he earned one in his first year in San Francisco, but No. 250 in a Twins uniform was significant because it came after his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery.
"I’ve been through that Tommy John surgery and he came back really well," said Carl Pavano, who went seven innings in his start. "He had a little bit of a hiccup, which we all have in that surgery and now it looks like he’s returning to himself."
Nathan was happy to get back into the closing role.
"Getting that first one out of the way is definitely nice," he said, "especially with the way it’s been..."
"...pretty tough in the ninth inning for us lately."
Nathan says he tries to treat the save like an eighth inning hold situation.
"It’s still the same job, you’ve got to get three outs and try not to give up any," he said.
"Obviously, the stuff going on outside of the field is different because of the music playing and the crowd gets louder in the ninth. Everything seems a little bit bigger in that inning.
"Usually it’s advertisements going on in the eighth inning."
After a tough 2-1 loss on Friday, Blyleven had his No. 28 retired on Saturday and the Twins won the game for him.
"Big getting that win," said Michael Cuddyer. "He cares so much about this organization. He would always appreciate this day, but it’s a little more sweeter with a win."
The Twins have been winning after disheartening losses season.
On June 25 they lost to the Brewers 11-1 and won the next day. Two days later they lost 15-0 to the Dodgers and won the next day. Most recently, on July 2 they gave up a 7-0 lead and lost 8-7 to the Brewers.
They won the next day.
"That’s a tribute to our team and our pitching staff, [to] come out and shut them down again," said Ullger after the game.
"That was a crushing blow last night, obviously, and we came back and got the job done today."
The key now for the Twins is to take care of the ninth inning.
They are currently six games back of Cleveland in the AL Central.