Los Angeles (52-36) at Minnesota (48-38)

Cloudy Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 73° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Thu Jul 14, 2005
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Bret Boone will make his debut with the Minnesota Twins as they begin a four-game series with the visiting Los Angeles Angels.

Boone was acquired Monday from Seattle eight days after he was designated for assignment by the Mariners. The three-time All-Star second baseman has struggled this season, batting .231 with seven homers and 34 RBIs in 74 games.

It got so bad for Boone that he was benched for four games in June to work with Seattle hitting coach Don Baylor on his mechanics. He hit just .257 (9-for-35) in 10 games after being reinserted into the lineup, prompting the Mariners to cut their losses.

“I’m not saying that Bret Boone is going to be a savior, but he might be a guy that can help,” Minnesota general manager Terry Ryan said. “There’s a lot at stake for him, obviously.”

Boone will get an opportunity to start for Minnesota, which has used four different players at second base. He has experience in a pennant race, enjoying some of his best seasons on Seattle’s 2000 and 2001 playoff teams.

Minnesota is hoping the trade will provide a boost similar to when Shannon Stewart was acquired from Toronto in 2003. The Twins were 44-49 before acquiring Stewart and went on to win their second straight AL Central title.

“Sounds awesome,” Twins closer Joe Nathan said of the Boone acquisition. “He’s going to do nothing but help us, and hopefully he’ll get back to his old form. Hopefully it’ll be like the Shannon Stewart trade.”

Minnesota is nine games behind the Chicago White Sox in its quest for a fourth straight Central crown. Though the Twins lead the AL wild card race, they still have their sights set on making a run at the White Sox.

“Hopefully we can get back in and make it a good race,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Los Angeles is in a more comfortable position, leading Texas by five games in the AL West race. However, the Angels stumbled into the All-Star break by dropping four straight at home to last-place Seattle.

The season-high losing streak does not have the Angels overly concerned.

“We’ve been there, we know what it takes to get it done,” Los Angeles first baseman Darin Erstad said. “So you don’t panic. You just understand the situation and keep taking it day-by-day. It’s just a matter of executing.”

On the verge of getting healthier, the Angels are looking forward to this weekend. Center fielder Steve Finley and shortstop Orlando Cabrera are expected to get activated from the disabled list at some point during this series.

Los Angeles has had six different position players spend time on the DL, including All-Star right fielder Vladimir Guerrero. The club believes it will be fine once it gets to full strength.

“You’re never going to have a perfect team. I think we have some important components in place for a championship club,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “I don’t think it makes sense to do anything that doesn’t make you better now or in the future.”

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Starting Pitchers

J. Washburn Det vs. K. Lohse Mil
8-8 Record 9-13
3.20 ERA 4.18
94 K 86
51 BB 44
1.33 WHIP 1.43