MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The rumors were spreading fast and furious in the Minnesota Twins clubhouse over the last few days about where Jim Thome and Jason Kubel would be finishing their seasons.
The Twins completed a deal to send Thome back to Cleveland on Thursday, but Kubel was still waiting to see if he would remain with the team that drafted him in 2000.
While Thome seemed to handle the speculation in stride, Kubel admitted that it was wearing on him. There was talk that the Chicago White Sox had put in a claim on him, but both teams have declined to comment. The waiver deadline expires on Friday at noon EDT.
Kubel expressed frustration while being questioned about reports that he had been placed on waivers and said he has not spoken with manager Ron Gardenhire or GM Bill Smith about the situation.
“It kind of makes it tough to come here and prepare for a game and start talking to everybody about what no one is supposed to know,” Kubel said after the Twins lost to Baltimore 6-1.
He was peppered with questions in the clubhouse after the game, even though there remains a very real possibility that he will finish this season with the Twins.
Asked if it is affecting his performance on the field, Kubel said, “There’s just a lot of things going through my head. I can’t pinpoint on one thing.”
Gardenhire said the uncertainty was weighing on more than just Kubel and Thome. He watched his team get outscored 24-4 over a four-game series against the Orioles, who have the worst record in the AL, and afterward said it is possible that the rumors surrounding two of the team’s most popular players were taking their toll.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of stuff going on on the sidebars with all this waiver stuff,” Gardenhire said. “Really, once you get between the lines you just play baseball and we’re just not doing it very good right now. There’s definitely a lot of stuff floating around.”
Smith steadfastly refuses to comment on rumors about player transactions, but he sympathized with the plight of those in the crosshairs of the rumors in today’s competitive 24-hour news cycle.
“I’m sure it has been tough on players,” Smith said. “It’s tough on individuals and it’s tough on teams. And unfortunately it’s part of the game.”
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