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Matt Capps returns, but not as Twins closer

The Minnesota Twins have closer Matt Capps back in the lineup, or rather, they have reliever Matt Capps back in the lineup. On Monday, Capps returned for a ninth-inning appearance against the New York Yankees, though he wasn't trying to earn a save, as the Twins were already well-behind in that game. He pitched well, giving up two hits but not allowing a run in what would have been a save had the Twins been leading in that one.

Still, he might be getting fewer appearances in the ninth inning and more time prior to that, as Glen Perkins is going to remain the closer, according to manager Ron Gardenhire. It seems like there's plenty of reasons for this, but the biggest is likely that Minnesota doesn't want to rush Capps back with extended playing time with the season so close to its end and the team firmly out of the playoff race. The Pioneer Press had a quote from Gardenhire on it:

"We'll bring Capps in whenever we can," Gardenhire said before the Twins' game Tuesday night against the Yankees. "We just want to try to get him some innings. He's capable of getting us out of an inning. More than anything, we just want him to finish out the season healthy."

It helps that Gardenhire has been pretty good, too. He's secured the win in his last four appearances, and has done so in eight of his last 10, as well. Capps was on the disabled list from July 16 to just before Monday's game. On Tuesday morning, Capps did say that there was some soreness in his shoulder, so it's probably a good thing that he'll be limited for the remainder of the season. A lengthy offseason of soreness is not worth getting a few extra pitches in when the team is well out of the postseason race.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.