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May 7, 2024 2:05 am

Twins look to shut down Jorge Polanco, Mariners again

twins, mariners

The Minnesota Twins traded Jorge Polanco to the Seattle Mariners during the offseason, but their affection for the 30-year-old veteran has not waned.

“He’s one of my favorites,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said of Polanco. “The organization here owes him a lot.”

But Minnesota would like to hand him another loss.

The Twins will go for back-to-back wins against Polanco and the Mariners when they meet in Minneapolis on Tuesday night for the second installment of a four-game series.

Minnesota is coming off a 3-1 victory in the series opener on Monday night.

The game included a poignant moment for Polanco, who spent his first 10 major league seasons with the Twins before they traded him as part of a cost-cutting move.

As Polanco headed to the plate for his first at-bat as an opposing player at Target Field, Twins catcher Christian Vazquez walked toward the mound. Vazquez stopped halfway, turned around and saluted Polanco, and Twins fans gave a loud ovation.

Polanco acknowledged mixed emotions as he returned to his former home field.

“It is a little bit strange coming to the visitors’ side,” he said. “It does feel good to be back.”

It would feel even better to Polanco, who went 1-for-4 and scored Seattle’s only run on Monday, if he can help his new team even the series.

The Mariners will turn to right-hander Emerson Hancock (3-3, 4.75 ERA) on Tuesday. The 24-year-old former Georgia Bulldog is set to make his seventh start of the season, and he will look to make a good impression, as his rotation spot could soon be reclaimed by injured teammate Bryan Woo.

Hancock is looking to bounce back from a turbulent outing his last time out. He gave up five runs (one earned) on five hits in 3 2/3 innings against the Atlanta Braves to take a loss last Wednesday.

As Woo nears a return, Hancock said he is not thinking long term about his spot in the starting rotation.

“I think the biggest thing is just try to give us a chance to win every time I go out there,” Hancock said after his latest start. “Everything else is out of my control. Just go out there, attack the zone and just try to give us a chance to win.”

This will be Hancock’s first career appearance against Minnesota.

Twins right-hander Bailey Ober (3-1, 4.55) is set to make his seventh start of the season on Tuesday. The 28-year-old is looking for his fourth victory in a row after beating the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels and Chicago White Sox in his past three starts.

Ober has made three starts against Seattle in his career. He is 2-0 with a 4.20 ERA in those outings, and he has walked two and struck out 15 in 15 innings.

The Twins won the series opener by playing small ball. Baldelli said he appreciated that approach, and he hopes to see additional smart baserunning and timely hitting going forward.

“There were a few different things that we did (Monday) that I liked,” Baldelli said. “I liked the aggressiveness running the bases.

“We did some really good things on a day where we were going to have to manufacture runs. We were going to have to string together a few good at-bats and make it happen.”

–Field Level Media

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