Rincon not worried about playoff struggle

By Dave Campbell

Associated Press

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Juan Rincon's stellar season might have been remembered most for the way he finished it -- with a four-run eighth-inning against New York that led to Minnesota's playoff elimination.

After going 11-6 with a 2.63 ERA in 82 innings as the main setup man for closer Joe Nathan, the right-handed Rincon was uncharacteristically hittable in that Game 4 -- a 6-5 Twins loss in 11 innings. He got only one out and let the Yankees tie the game with four hits -- including a three-run homer by Ruben Sierra.

But don't think Rincon is still worried about that.


"It's already in the past. It's already in the books," he said. "So now you have to write another story -- turn the page. We'll be fine. So of course I didn't want to give up the home run and all of that stuff, but it's just part of the game."

Manager Ron Gardenhire isn't concerned, either.

"He's got a good smile on his face. He's back here working his tail off," said Gardenhire, who made a point to talk to a despondent Rincon in the clubhouse after that game. "He was having a hard time and was very upset. Rightfully so. We all were."

DONE DEAL: The Twins finalized Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana's contract, when their insurer completed a review of his physical and approved a policy on the $40 million, four-year deal both sides agreed to on Feb. 14.

Santana had not officially signed the contract as of Friday afternoon, general manager Terry Ryan said, because the team didn't yet have a hard copy for him to sign. But the specific figures were agreed upon and exchanged with the players' union.

When he approves the deal with his signature, perhaps Santana can start getting his golf game in shape. Because of the unresolved contract, he wasn't able to participate in the team's annual charity tournament.

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