In this edition of Inside the Dugout, Brad Radke has yet to make his decision about his future final. After being swept by the Oakland Athletics in the Division Series, the Twins are already getting ready for the 2007 season, and picking up Torii Hunter's option was a step in the right direction.
He had come to the decision more than a year ago, but when the day finally came to say it officially, Brad Radke
couldn't say the word. At least not on this day.
"Right now it's just hard for me to fathom," said Radke, who postponed his expected retirement announcement after the Twins' Game 3 elimination from the postseason.
"I think I just really didn't want it to end," said Radke, who pitched four innings in the second start of one of the most improbable injury comebacks in recent memory. "When you're out there in April and May and June, you're like, 'I've got a few months left.' But when you get down to the end, you just can't believe it's already here."
Radke, who turns 34 this month, suggested at one point he might just be delaying an inevitable announcement. "I think I'm just making excuses," he said. "I think I know what my decision's going to be."
But the high-running emotions of what could be his final start of a 12-year career with the Twins, along with the jarring, nosedive end to the season, left him visibly affected and at times appeared to lead him to leave open the possibility of returning next season.
"You always have second thoughts. It's human nature," he said. "I'm not going to make a decision now. But it'll come here very soon. It's a difficult decision. I felt pretty good the last couple weeks. I never thought I would feel this way about my shoulder. ... It's just a difficult decision."
"I feel like I probably could go out (and pitch) next year, but I don't want to go out and decide not to have surgery and then blow out. That's not the way I wanted to go out. I wanted to go out on my own."
That's part of where the second thoughts come in, he said. Radke, who has pitched for two years with a torn labrum in the shoulder, spent most of this season in constant pain before finally being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his shoulder socket on Sept. 1. He had gone 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA in August pitching with that injury.
Three errors contributed to five unearned runs as the Twins lost 8-3 to the Oakland A's in Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Friday, getting swept out of a postseason series for the first time since 1970.
Right-hander Brad Radke, whose inspiring comeback from a stress fracture in his shoulder socket barely a week earlier earned him the playoff start, lasted four innings before leaving the game trailing 4-1.
The Twins committed five errors total in a generally sloppy series and lost for the 13th time in their last 15 playoff games dating to 2002.
NOTES, QUOTES:CF Torii Hunter reiterated after Friday's elimination game that if the Twins want to keep him beyond this season, he wants a multiyear contract that takes him into the opening of the new stadium in 2010. He said he doesn't want the team to pick up his $12 million open for next year if it doesn't want to negotiate a multiyear deal. However, the Twins announced Tuesday that they are picking up the option, and they no doubt will discuss the possibility of a new contract during the offseason. The five-time Gold Glove winner had 32 home runs with 98 RBIs this season.Oakland fans booed each player in the Twins' lineup as they were introduced before the game, except CF Torii Hunter, whose Game 2 fielding gaffe allowed the A's to score the go-ahead runs. He got a loud ovation, responding to the sarcastic cheers with an exaggerated doffing of his cap. He then responded during the game with a home run in the fourth inning and a double off the base of the center-field wall in the sixth.1B Justin Morneau followed his MVP-caliber, breakout season with a big-hitting series against Oakland, but it wasn't enough to extend the Twins' briefest postseason run in 36 years. Morneau's three-hit performance in Game 3 was one of the few Twins highlights in Oakland's three-game sweep. In all, he went 5 for 12 (.417) with three extra-base hits, including two home runs. "It doesn't matter," he said. "All that matters in the postseason is if you win games. Hitting a home run down by six runs doesn't mean a whole lot."RF Michael Cuddyer had a seven-game postseason hitting streak -- third longest in team history -- until going 0 for 4 on Friday. He's 11 for 31 (.355) in his last eight postseason games.Until Friday, the Twins had not been swept in a postseason series since losing 3-0 to the Baltimore Orioles in the 1970 American League Championship Series. The Twins have played nine postseason series since 1970, winning five straight and then losing four straight -- with 13 losses in their last 15 postseason games.1B/DH Phil Nevin, 35, doesn't know if his career ended with Friday's loss, but he's been around the game long enough to believe he'll never experience another five weeks in baseball like his five with the Twins. "Whatever happens, to be able to experience that team. ... Obviously, I didn't experience winning a World Series, but to be able to experience that celebration as a team, that's pretty special," said Nevin, who went 0 for 3 in the first postseason series of his 12-year career. "I was part of something that probably hasn't ever happened. I don't know if you can ever match that again."
BY THE NUMBERS: 0 -- Number of times the Twins led in the Division Series against the A's.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was tough to swallow watching those guys celebrate. We got outplayed. Simple as that. When I saw them jumping up and down it was tough but they deserved it. They outplayed us. I hate it. We hate it. It stunk." -- CF Torii Hunter after the Twins got swept by Oakland in the Division Series.