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May 11, 2024 2:26 am

Former Jays farmhand to face them as starter for Twins

Simeon Woods Richardson

Minnesota Twins right-hander Simeon Woods Richardson will be pitching to clinch the series Saturday afternoon against the host Toronto Blue Jays, the team that traded him nearly three years ago.

Woods Richardson (1-0, 1.74 ERA) and infielder-outfielder Austin Martin were traded as minor-leaguers to the Twins on July 30, 2021, for starting pitcher Jose Berrios.

The Blue Jays are scheduled to start right-hander Kevin Gausman (2-3, 3.78) on Saturday. Gausman is 1-4 with a 6.35 ERA in 11 career starts against Minnesota.

The Twins won the opener of the three-game series 3-2 Friday night behind seven strong innings from right-hander Joe Ryan. The Blue Jays failed to take advantage of eight almost-as-strong innings from left-hander Yusei Kikuchi.

Martin faced his former organization on Friday, starting in left field and going 0-for-3.

“We’re really driven and focus on just getting better,” Martin said before the game. “The goal, I would say for both of us, was never just to make it to the big leagues, but to be there and be productive players and be able to produce and help this team win games. That’s the most important thing for us, and that’s the same approach we’re going to take coming into this weekend.”

Martin was drafted fifth overall as a shortstop by the Blue Jays in 2020, and Woods Richardson came to Toronto in 2019 as part of a trade that sent right-hander Marcus Stroman to the New York Mets.

“They’re both contributing at the major league level,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I think they’re both gaining comfort at this level, on this team, as guys that are ready to come in and not just be here but produce.

“To see two guys come over and get them in a trade and then see them here helping us win games and playing important roles, it’s what you’re looking for.”

Woods Richardson, who has never faced Toronto, is coming off the best outing of his career, a no-decision Monday against the visiting Seattle Mariners. He allowed no runs, one hit and one walk with a career-best eight strikeouts over six innings. Minnesota won 3-1.

Woods Richardson said Martin can be counted on to “take some great at-bats. I’m going to go out there and execute as best as I can, and the cards will fall where the cards fall.”

Carlos Santana hit a solo home run Friday for the Twins, who have won 16 of their past 18 games.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa had three hits, including a solo shot for the Blue Jays, who have lost 11 of 15.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was 2-for-4 for Toronto. Over his past 11 games, the first baseman is 16-for-44 (.364) with three doubles, a home run and six RBIs.

George Springer (illness) did not play Friday. Davis Schneider took his spot as the leadoff hitter and was 0-for-3 with a walk. Kevin Kiermaier was also out due to illness for Toronto.

There have been suggestions that the struggling Springer be moved in the lineup. Blue Jays manager John Schneider deflected any suggestions that Davis Schneider was being given a tryout atop the order. He had been used once there last season.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays continue to waste some good pitching from the starters.

“There have been wins that we’ve left on the table, for sure,” John Schneider said. “And, there have been times where we should have scored more runs than we did, even if you don’t win the game.”

–Field Level Media

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