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Sowers looks for answers

By Sheldon Published: June 4, 2009

   MINNEAPOLIS: Jeremy Sowers has spanned the performance spectrum from top to bottom, and he's pitched only four times all season. ¶
   His fifth appearance, a start against the White Sox, is scheduled for Saturday at U.S.Cellular Field, where he hopes to avoid a meltdown in command that got him yanked from has last outing against the Yankees. ¶
   Sowers was in total control of the game, when he walked the first three batters in the sixth inning and was excused for the rest of the day by manager Eric Wedge. Until then Sowers, had limited New York to one run and three hits. ¶
   Wedge is clearly upset with Sowers, saying, ""It's the big leagues. You can't just work through five innings and implode. Maybe you don't have the same stuff after the fifth, but you can't just give them the game.'' ¶
   Sowers thinks he was trying to nibble at the outer edges of the plate, though there was little reason for him to change his approach. ¶
   ""When I was on the mound, I wasn't thinking about anything but throwing strikes,'' he said. ""But I started getting behind in the count and was trying to be too fine. Obviously, that is not the way to do it. Unfortunately, that stalled the game and stalled my outing.'' ¶
   Sowers was taken apart by the White Sox May 12, in his second start after being summoned from Columbus, when Jim Thome homered twice and Jayson Nix went deep once in four innings. ¶
   ""I was working from behind in the count in that game and left some pitches up in the zone,'' Sowers recalled. ¶
   He was sent back to Triple-A but made an impact in his first outing after returning by throwing five scoreless innings May 25 against Tampa Bay, ultimately getting credit for a win. ¶
   ""When you're down eight runs, the idea is to throw strikes, and the pressure is a little less in that situation,'' Sowers said. ¶
   Now that injuries have robbed the Tribe of three starters, Sowers appears to have a secure job for at least the rest of this month, if he can be reasonably effective. ¶
   ""Sure, that takes the edge off a little,'' he said. ""But you never really know how short the leash is. And you don't want to be thinking that if you have a bad outing, you can just go out the next time and try to change it.'' ¶
   Sowers understands the bottom line as it applies to commanding the strike zone, which has been the hurdle he must overcome. ¶
   ""When we're going bad, it's because we're not throwing strikes and getting ahead in the count,'' he said. ""When we're going good, we're not getting behind and we're throwing strikes.'' ¶
   BIG DAY -- Chris Gimenez got his first major-league start and made the most of it, hitting a home run with nobody on in the seventh inning off Twins starter Scott Baker then adding a single in the ninth. ¶
   ""It definitely was a nice way to go,'' Gimenez said. ""I wish the circumstances had been different and we'd won. But it was good to get that (first home run and first hit) out of the way.'' ¶
   Gimenez wasn't certain the ball had cleared the fence and was running all out, rather than watching the flight of the ball. ¶
   ""I was kind of in a state of panic running around the bases,'' he said. ¶
   The ball was recovered by Twins officials and given to him. ¶
   ""This is what you dream about when you're a kid, getting a home run for your first hit,'' Giimenez said. ""It was a lot of fun. I had a blast.'' ¶
   Gimenez has been a multi-position player in the minors and started Thursday's game at first before switching to catcher for the eighth inning. ¶
    HAFNER ON HAND -- Travis Hafner's plane from Charlotte -- where Columbus was playing -- got him to the Metrodome about half hour before first pitch. ¶
   His rehab assignment is over, and it is time to determine whether he will be activated from the DL or go to Arizona and play against minor leaguers. ¶
   ""Everything is going well,'' he said. ""My shoulder feels pretty good. Lonnie (head trainer Lonnie Soloff) examined me when I got here. They'll figure something out.'' ¶
  Asked if he expected to be activated for tonight's game, Hafner said, ""I think so.'' ¶
  He had not talked to manager Eric Wedge yet. ¶
   OTHER STUFF -- Shin-Soo Choo is batting .341 in his past 22 games. *elip Seven of Luis Valbuena's 12 hits have been doubles, including one Thursday. *elip Tribe batters tied their season high by striking out 13 times. *elip Minnesota starter Scott Baker, who had been striiking out batters at the rate of 6.7 per nine nine innings, struck out 10 in seven innings, a rate of 12.9 per nine innings. *elip Seven earned runs is the most allowed by Fausto Carmona since he gave up seven Sept. 13 of last year against Kansas City. ¶
   FARM FACTS -- Joe Smith (right rotator cuff strain) made his third rehab appearance at Columbus and threw another scoreless inning, giving him three. This time, he gave up no hits or walks and stuck out two, as the Clippers beat Charlotte 6-4. *elip Nate Recknagel doubled, singled and drove in a run, but Kinston lost 4-2 to Wilimington. ¶

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