Wintry weather postpones Jays-Twins; twinbill set
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Toronto Blue Jays and the Minnesota Twins were given an unexpected day off because of the weather.
They sure needed the extra time to warm back up from the night before.
The Blue Jays-Twins game Wednesday was postponed more than seven hours before it was scheduled to begin, due to the unseasonable cold causing a spring storm to produce blowing snow all afternoon with some accumulation predicted at night.
Since this week is Toronto's only trip to Minnesota, the teams will play a day-night doubleheader Thursday.
The forecast was calling for a high temperature of about 42 degrees Thursday but clear and dry conditions.
The Blue Jays beat the Twins 9-3 Tuesday without precipitation problems, but the first-pitch temperature was 35 degrees.
''We've got a roof up there in Toronto, so we don't get exposed to it that much. You've just got to be mentally tough,'' Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said after the game.
Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow had trouble gripping the ball and didn't finish the fourth inning. He escaped with only two runs allowed.
''I didn't feel helpless. I was still trying on every pitch. But nothing was working,'' Morrow said.
Third baseman Brett Lawrie didn't let the cold stop him from hitting a grand slam in the ninth inning, but he still felt it.
''It just kind of hits you. It takes a little bit of getting used to,'' Lawrie said, adding: ''Get your cold gear on and man up.''
One potential casualty of the cold was designated hitter Adam Lind's back. He left the game Tuesday with tightness and has a history of back trouble. The Blue Jays held out center fielder Colby Rasmus Tuesday because of hamstring tightness that forced him out Sunday at Baltimore.
The cold could also work against R.A. Dickey's knuckleball, which thrives in humid, hot conditions. The Blue Jays switched their rotation to start Dickey in the matinee Thursday and use Dustin McGowan for the rescheduled game, which will start six hours after the first one.
The Twins kept Kyle Gibson as their starter for the afternoon game, meaning Mike Pelfrey will take the mound Thursday night after having this turn bumped back. Pelfrey will try to bounce back from two rough appearances to start the season.
Another pitcher in need of a rebound is reliever Jared Burton, the primary setup man. After posting a 2.18 ERA in 64 appearances in 2012, Burton had his ERA rise to 3.82 in 71 appearances last year. He was charged with nine losses.
This season, he has allowed six hits, eight runs and three walks in five innings, including Lawrie's grand slam Tuesday.
''I don't know what's going on with him right now. He's not pitching with a lot of confidence,'' manager Ron Gardenhire said, adding: ''He's got good stuff. He's got a track record. So we've just got to figure out a way to get him right.''
Burton said he's having trouble controlling his pitches, another byproduct of the April cold.
''I think pitchers and hitters will both tell you that it's tough at the beginning of the year with the weather and everything. I've just got to do a better job of getting ahead of guys. I'm behind everybody, and it's a lot easier to hit when you're ahead in the count,'' he said.
Burton expressed confidence he'll bounce back.
''I feel fine. I'm healthy. I'm just human. We're under a little bit of a microscope and when we struggle it shows. I'll figure it out. We all go through these phases. It's just a matter of stopping a slump and starting a streak,'' he said.
NOTES: Since Target Field opened in 2010, the Twins have had nine weather-induced postponements, plus one game suspended by rain and finished the following day. Three of them came last April. ... Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen and shortstop Jose Reyes both played for Class A Dunedin on rehab assignments Tuesday. Reyes could rejoin the Blue Jays Friday at Cleveland, but Janssen is a little behind him.