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View from the other side: Twins questions for Maija Varda of Twinkie Town

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The Jays traveled north (well mostly west, but north too) to Minneapolis to play the Twins.

85th MLB All Star Game Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

We have game two of our series with the Twins tonight.

I sent off some questions to Maija Varda of Twinkie Town and she was nice to send back some answers.

Byron Buxton has a toe injury? Can you explain? How long until he’s back? And are Twins fans worried that he isn’t going to become the player we expected?

Byron Buxton was originally put on the DL with migraines during the Puerto Rico series. Basically, the Twins hadn’t played for awhile because three games against the White Sox were snowed out at Target Field, so I think the team just didn’t want to keep going with a short bench and also give Buxton an opportunity to get some minor league at-bats in. Well, during his rehab stint, Buxton fouled a ball off his toe really badly. They had to drill a hole through his big toenail and he can’t run. I doubt he’ll be back before the Blue Jays leave town.

Can we have a scouting report on the starting pitchers we are likely to see?

I was sick Monday so I’m answering these a bit late, so we already saw Lance Lynn. That’s basically Lance Lynn for you.

Tuesday night the Twins are sending Kyle Gibson to the mound. Gibson has been a pretty up-and-down guy for most of his career so far, but seems to have had something click around mid-to-late last season. His last start this year against the Yankees, Gibson gave up only one hit over 6.0 innings and struck out a career-high ten batters. That performance was especially amazing when you consider the absolute voodoo hex the Yankees have had over the Twins for the past couple decades (Gary Sanchez hit a walk-off home run off Fernando Rodney, so it’s not like the Twins even won).

Wednesday’s game is the most exciting in terms of starting pitching, because the Twins announced Monday they are calling up their top pitching prospect Fernando Romero to make his major league debut. Romero has had a 2.57 ERA over 21.0 innings so far this season in Triple-A. He has a mid-90s fastball and a high-80s starter. I’m excited to see what he can do, especially considering how bad the Twins have been playing. Hopefully he is better than Fernando Rodney.

Miguel Sano is having a big of a slow start, what’s going on with him? Can you ask him not to break out of it for the next three games?

Well, as we have now seen, Miguel Sano isn’t even playing due to a hamstring injury, and I doubt he’ll be back before the Blue Jays leave town, probably because you asked so nicely. As for Sano slumping, it’s hard to say because he’s only played in 20 games on account of all the snow-outs the Twins have had an the injury and such. However, last August he fouled a ball off his leg (these damn foul balls), and missed basically the rest of the season. Sano ended up requiring surgery to implant a titanium rod in his leg, which kept him from being able to walk for a couple months. If you’ve seen Sano, he’s a big guy, and not being able to do much... well, Sano enjoyed himself by the looks of it. He didn’t come into spring training camp in the best of shape.

Joe Mauer seems to be having a good start, minus the power you might want to see. What do you think happens after this year? Do the Twins re-sign him? Does he retire? Where does he fit among the All Time great Twins?

It’s been sort of a pattern for Joe is recent years to start off strong, and then wind down a little bit towards the end of the season, so I’m not surprised. It’s just Joe being Joe.

As far as after this season, I think Joe re-signs with Twins on a short deal. If the Twins don’t sign him, I think he retires. Heck, he may just retire after this season, and I’ve heard rumors that is his plan. Mauer has always been a huge family guy, and he has young twin daughters who I know he wants to be around more. He’s also very proud of the fact his grandparents have attended nearly every home game in Minnesota for his entire career. I just don’t see his desire to keep playing worth uprooting his family or being away from them that much. I also think he’d be afraid his family would kill him if he played for another team.

Mauer is one of the greatest Twins of all time. Probably top four or five. The Twins will definitely retire his number. I think one day he will get into the National Hall of Fame too. People, even myself sometimes, forget how good of a player he was in his prime.

Does Fernando Rodney finish the season as the Twins closer? Does he finish the season with more saves or more blown saves? If we asked nicely could you never have him pitch against the Yankees again?

Jesus Christ I hope not. He already has more blown saves than saves. The Fernando Rodney Experience is a total trip.

What do Twins fans think of Paul Molitor and the job he does as manager? Our TV broadcasters will spend the next 3 days talking about him like he’s some cross being Earl Weaver and (insert name of far nicer genius manager here). By the 6th inning Monday I’ll be tired of hearing about him.

Most Twins fans seem to like him, though the Twins’ super slow start has a certain contingent of them grumbling. I think Molitor has been fine. He’s been very open minded about the new strategies and directions of the Twins’ new front office (led by Derek Falvey and Thad Levine) have taken over the past year, which is good. The Twins were really falling behind in the times there for a bit. Molitor still has some of that old school-ness to him, but he’s listening to the new staff members brought in around him.

The Twins are just off a ten game losing streak. What’s the mood there? Were/are you think about possible playoffs or were you thinking more 2019 anyway?

The mood is not good. Most fans thought the Twins had a really good offseason. They didn’t make any huge splashes, but they really took advantage of the slow market and made some good deals that won’t hurt them in the long-run.

Now, everything is coming crashing back to reality and people are questioning if the Twins actually had that good of an offseason? Most fans were originally hoping the Twins would make the wildcard game again this year (my hopes had been even higher because I had too much coffee or something), but now not so sure. I personally think the loss of Sano and Buxton -- especially Buxton -- has been hurting. Buxton is sort of the X factor the Twins need. He was out for a bit last year as well, which also coincided with the team’s biggest slump. His defense is sorely, sorely missed.

If I said we kind of considered you guys quasi Canadians would you consider that a compliment or an insult? I was there for games a few years ago and I really enjoyed the people and the park (maybe because Bautista was so good there) and there was an English pub just a few blocks from the ballpark (though a friend of mine found the Long Island Ice Teas a bit too potent).

I would consider it a compliment. The rest of this country doesn’t seem to understand hockey.

Thanks Maija.