Mientkiewicz's words prophetic

Twins first baseman 'knew it all along'

Knight-Ridder Newspapers

MINNEAPOLIS -- Maybe Doug Mientkiewicz knew it all along. Maybe his dismissal of the White Sox after the Twins completed a three-game sweep of Chicago wasn't premature after all.

After Minnesota beat the White Sox 5-3 Thursday to take a 31⁄2-game; lead in the AL Central, Mientkiewicz wrote off Chicago in a postgame television interview, saying, "They're done.''

The comment started a small firestorm in the media, and got the first baseman a closed-door session with manager Ron Gardenhire.


But a week later, Mientkiewicz's words proved prophetic, as the Twins won their 10th consecutive game and the White Sox fell 7-0 to the Yankees. That and Detroit's 15-6 victory over Kansas City gave Minnesota its second consecutive division title.

Mientkiewicz said Tuesday his comments were not an attempt to slam the White Sox, rather, he merely voiced something he realized in the second game of the series.

"I had a White Sox player come up to me in the second game,'' Mientkiewicz said. "He told me, 'Go ahead and win this thing.' That series could have turned on one swing in the second game. They've got a hell of a lot more talent than we have, but talent doesn't always win.

"It wasn't a knock on them. I think the world of Frank Thomas, and Magglio Ordonez is a great player. I just felt none of our big guns were getting enough credit. Torii, Radke, Lohse, Rogers, the list goes on and on.''

Teammate Torii Hunter was not fazed by Mientkiewicz's comment.

"He probably just went off the schedule, saw they played New York and realized we had a chance,'' the center fielder said. "You know, the adrenaline was flowing, and Dougie's been known to say things.''

Mientkiewicz, who has been playing through sometimes-intense pain because of a wrist injury, anticipates sitting out for several of the five remaining regular season games. He played 18 games in a row with the injury to his left wrist after taking off three days to rest the injury. He has been cycling off his inflammatory medication, but had an especially bad day with the pain on Tuesday.

He was scheduled to cycle back onto his medication Tuesday night. Mientkiewicz, who plans to have surgery in the offseason, said the value of giving his wrist a break outweighs fine-tuning his game before the playoffs.


"It all changes once the playoffs start anyway,'' he said.

Mientkiewicz is 19 for 63 (.302) in the 18 games he has played with pain. The Twins went 15-3 in the stretch.

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