MINNEAPOLIS — Normally, 2B Ben Zobrist will put up a fight when told he is geting a day off.
“Didn’t (Friday) night,” he said before Saturday’s game with the Twins.
Manager Joe Maddon said Zobrist’s body language said he needed a rest, and the veteran didn’t argue.
“They just want me to kind of relax, and hopefully I’ll feel more relaxed (today) and get back on track,” Zobrist said.
Zobrist enetered Saturday in an 0-for-15 slump, and Maddon wants to keep him as fresh as possible for the final 15 games of the season.
“I just think he’s a little bit heavy-legged right now,” Maddon said.
Zobrist has looked frustrated lately, tossing his bat on occasion.
“When things start getting frustrating and you start getting too emotionally wrapped up in what’s happening, that’s when you know you mentally need the rest, and I think physically, too, after playing 21 out of 22 days,” he said. “I think at this point of the season I was pretty tired.”
Price no worse for the wear
It was out of character for Maddon, who works for an organization that counts warm-up pitches by relief pitchers, to let LHP David Price throw 127 pitches against the Red Sox during his last start.
“There were all kinds of sirens,” Maddon joked. “The thing about that is, I’m not as concerned because of his body of work prior to that wasn’t so heavy. If that was 127 after a full season of David being David, where he had been pitching seven, eight innings at a time and had gone 110, 120 pitches several other times, that would have been a concern.”
Price, who starts this afternoon, said Saturday his arm felt fine.
“I felt great the next day. Honestly, there was no difference,” Price said. “I didn’t feel any different in my bullpen. I haven’t felt any different playing catch in my three previous days. I feel like I take care of myself, I feel like I’m a very well-conditioned baseball player, and I want to be out there for as long as possible.”
One reason Maddon let Price continue pitching was because he felt Price wasn’t working too hard for his outs.
“You can have a real stressful 100 and a less stressful 120, you really can,” Maddon said. “I felt as far as 127s go, the stress level wasn’t as heavy on him.”
RHP Jesse Crain (right shoulder strain) said he felt fine Saturday and will throw to hitters Monday afternoon. Maddon said Crain could join the bullpen if all goes well Monday.
“When he gets a hitter out there and then he’ll crank it up a little more, and then the next day after that is really going to tell us what we got,” Maddon said.
So the final hurdle for Crain will be how he feels Tuesday.
LHP Jake McGee, RHP Joel Peralta and RHP Fernando Rodney each threw 13 pitches during their outings in Friday’s win, an interesting number since they were pitching on Friday the 13th.
“So maybe 13 is our lucky number. We’ll see,” Maddon said.
Maddon is not a fan of the bunt, but with runners on first and third during the seventh inning Friday, he had Zobrist bunt. Zobrist bunted the ball in the air and the Twins turned a double play, doubling Yunel Escobar off third base.
David DeJesus was picked off first base to end the inning. Twins LHP Caleb Thielbar came in to face Zobrist and got out of the inning on three pitches.
“We had first and third with nobody out, and with three pitches we got three outs and nobody left on base and no runs scored,” Maddon said. “That’s incredible. That’s just kind of par for the more-recent course.”
Maddon said RHP Chris Archer is scheduled to make his final three starts of the season. ... The pitching matchups for this week’s series with the Rangers: RHP Matt Garza vs. RHP Alex Cobb, RHP Nick Tepesch vs. RHP Jeremy Hellickson, LHP Derek Holland vs. Archer and RHP Yu Darvish vs. LHP Matt Moore.