KC@MIN: Perkins induces groundout for 20th save

MINNEAPOLIS -- With his All-Star ballot due on Tuesday, Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire is hopeful Minnesota will have two representatives at this year's Midsummer Classic in New York.

Gardenhire noted that managers are able to vote for their own players -- otherwise he wouldn't vote.

"I'm serious," Gardenhire said. "If they tell me I can't vote for my own people, it doesn't make it a legit vote. If they don't trust you enough to vote for the right guys, then I wouldn't vote. If you don't want me to vote for Joe Mauer as a catcher, you're an idiot, so don't hand me a piece of paper that says Joe Mauer can't be the All-Star catcher."

While Mauer is essentially a lock for yet another All-Star bid -- the sixth of his career, and the cause of Gardenhire's blunt honesty -- the manager also hopes to see closer Glen Perkins earn a bid.

"He's got my vote," Gardenhire said. "I think he should be good. His numbers match up right at the top as far as closers go."

Mauer went 0-for-2 with two walks and a run in Saturday's 6-2 win over the Royals.

In 31 appearances this season, including a scoreless ninth on Saturday, Perkins has 20 saves, which was tied for ninth in MLB entering the day and tied for fifth in the American League. The Stillwater, Minn., native has allowed seven runs in 30 2/3 innings with a 2.05 ERA, and he's blown two saves. He's struck out 43 of the 116 batters he's faced (37 percent) and issued only seven walks.

Thielbar has solidified himself in Twins' bullpen

MIN@WSH: Thielbar hurls two shutout frames in relief

MINNEAPOLIS -- Left-handed reliever Caleb Thielbar has been through the baseball ringer. But now in the Major Leagues with his hometown team, Thielbar has solidified himself as a consistent performer.

The Randolph, Minn., native went from pitching with the St. Paul Saints of the Independent Professional Baseball Federation to a bullpen ace who hasn't allowed a run in 14 appearances this season.

"That's pretty cool and another really good story," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Thielbar's career path. "But he's been really good up here, not just marginal, he's been throwing the ball really well. He's at that point where I'm not afraid to bring him in against big boys at any time of the game now."

In 15 2/3 innings -- including an inning in Friday night's 9-3 loss -- Thielbar has allowed only five hits and has held opponents hitless in six straight appearances.

"We talked about [Thielbar] this morning and whether or not he's going to get some more meaningful innings or whatever that means," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "I guess that means moving him back towards the back of that bullpen."

Gardenhire commended the way Thielbar handles himself in all aspects of the game and noted he has a little something extra special to him.

"He's quiet and he's got a little funk to him," Gardenhire said. "He's got a nice breaking ball. You hardly know the guy's around. He goes about his business pretty good."

Twins shake up lineup to rest sore players

KC@MIN: Plouffe drills a two-run shot to center field

MINNEAPOLIS -- As Kyle Gibson made his highly anticipated debut at Target Field on Saturday, the Twins shook up their lineup as manager Ron Gardenhire tried to accommodate some sore players.

Third baseman Jamey Carroll returned to the lineup after a few days off. It marked his first start since June 21 at Cleveland. Carroll went 2-for-4 in the 6-2 win over the Royals.

With Carroll at third, Trevor Plouffe (batting fifth) filled in as the designated hitter and switched positions in the order with Oswaldo Arcia (batting sixth). Plouffe hit his sixth homer of the year, a two-run shot in a five-run first inning, and had a sac fly in the second, while Arcia was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

All of the juggling was in an effort to rest catcher Ryan Doumit -- who caught a game on Friday night for the first time since injuring his ankle Sunday at Cleveland -- and Josh Willingham, who is still nursing a sore knee.

"Moreso than anything else, my other guys are a little beat up here in Willingham and Doumit, just coming off his ankle catching a game last night for the first time," Gardenhire said. "Willingham is a little sore from last night, running around out there in the outfield with his leg. Just trying to figure out the lineup best I could and Jamey needs to play some. It will be good defense. Jamey can pick it over there, I hope, but that wasn't the sole reason just because we're kind of limited in what we've got."

Ryan not ready to discuss potential deals

Twins GM Ryan on the farm system, developing team

MINNEAPOLIS -- With the trade deadline fast approaching, Twins general manager Terry Ryan isn't about to discuss any potential trades just yet.

With the July 31 date just over a month away, Ryan isn't going to comment on how many calls he's receiving or making.

"I don't think it's healthy," Ryan said. "People get a little jumpy at this time of year."

Despite how trade talks may affect the clubhouse, Ryan did say he will entertain calls from other teams, especially if it means a potential benefit for the team.

"So if I got a call today and somebody asked me about a player, I am going to talk to him. It could happen tomorrow, it could happen a month from tomorrow. If someone wants to make a trade tomorrow and it sounds like something we ought to pursue, we should pursue it. That's all. How many calls you make or how many calls you receive, sometimes it's just B.S., sometimes it's feeling out, sometimes giving direction."

But he still maintained that even though the Twins aren't on top of the AL Central, there's still plenty of time for things to turn around for the ball club with a full month left before any talks need to be made final.

"It's June 29 and we're seven games back," Ryan said. "One good week and all of sudden you're four back. You've got to wait."