Inside Pitch: Twins Sign Nevin

In this edition of Twins Inside Pitch, the Twins add a legitimate bat to their lineup in the signing of Phil Nevin. They also have added to their roster, promoting Chris Heintz, Scott Baker, and Alexi Casilla to the big league team. Heintz and Baker make their way via Rochester, while the 22-year old Casilla was recently on New Britain.

The Twins apparently have decided to try to hit their way into the playoffs.

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.

NOTES, QUOTES:

  • The Twins announced after Thursday's game that RHP Scott Baker, C Chris Heintz and 2B/SS Alexi Casilla would be brought up from the minors on Friday as major league rosters expand from 25 to 40.

  • The Twins announced Thursday night that injured LF Shannon Stewart (foot) would be transferred from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL on Friday to accommodate the addition to the roster of Double-A INF Alexi Casilla, who is to be promoted when rosters expand Friday.

  • RHP Brad Radke insisted to reporters that he'll pitch again this season despite medical news that cast doubt over the final month of what he has said will be his final season. Radke, who had a second cortisone shot in his ailing shoulder last weekend, was unable to play catch Wednesday because of pain, and the team scratched him from Saturday's scheduled start in New York.

  • Cy Young stuff? LHP Johan Santana on Thursday forged a tie for most wins in the majors when he earned No. 16, beating the Royals, and lowered his AL-leading ERA to 2.95. He also leads the majors with 207 strikeouts and leads the AL in opponents' batting average (.220). Santana is undefeated in his last 21 starts at home, dating to August of last season. He's 14-0 during that streak.

  • C Mike Redmond, batting third in place of C Joe Mauer, who got a day off Thursday, had at least three hits in a game for the fifth time this season. Redmond is batting .372 (29 for 78) from the No. 3 spot in the order this season -- 22 points higher than Mauer, the major league batting leader.

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