Unable to find help at a palatable cost for his ailing pitching staff, Twins general manager Terry Ryan traded for Cubs first baseman Phil Nevin on Thursday night to bolster a lineup that leads the majors in batting average.
Nevin, acquired with cash for a player to be named, is expected to be in uniform for Friday night's opener of a three-game series against the Yankees, probably batting seventh as the Twins' designated hitter.
At first glance, the deal might seem puzzling, coming one day after the Twins learned that the latest cortisone shot in veteran right-hander Brad Radke's right shoulder did not help enough to allow him to play catch several days later on Wednesday -- casting considerable doubt over Radke's status for the rest of the season.
But a deal for any kind of reliable help before Thursday's deadline for setting playoff rosters might have been a victory, considering the challenges associated with trading after the July 31 non-waiver deadline.
"I was open to either avenue, whether it be pitching or position player," Ryan said. "I don't think it's going to harm us at all to have another bat. This guy's certainly a proven major league hitter, and he's got power."
Nevin hit .245 with 21 home runs and 64 runs batted in combined for Texas and the Cubs this season -- .273 with 12 homers and 33 RBIs since a May 31 trade to Chicago.
"I know our batting average is up there, and across the board our raw stats look good," Ryan said. "But we could use a little thump in our lineup."
Especially if a continually thinning starting rotation figures to give up a little more thump down the stretch, with two rookies (Matt Garza and Boof Bonser), a struggling veteran (Carlos Silva) and an uncertain Scott Baker -- Radke's replacement for Saturday's scratched start in New York -- pitching significant innings down the stretch.
REPLAY: Johan Santana (16-5) pitched seven dominant innings, striking out 11, to lead the Twins to a 3-1 victory over Kansas City and salvage the final game after losses to the last-place Royals in the first two games of the series.
DH Rondell White hit his fourth homer of the season to help a struggling offense score just enough to win a game that put the Twins back to just a half-game behind the White Sox in the AL wild-card race entering April.