|ESPN.com: Buster Olney||[Print without images]|
|Since his arrival in the majors in 2001, Ichiro's style has never wavered.|
|Ichiro acknowledges fans after 4,000.|
"Regardless, everything that we did today is what's wrong with us," said Melvin, his voice getting louder with each sentence. "We didn't add on early. We didn't make big pitches when we had to. We didn't come through in situational at-bats.
"Ugly, ugly game for us, and it's been going on for a while."
Mujica said he had been bothered by muscle discomfort in his upper back near his right shoulder and did not injure himself Wednesday. He said he wasn’t worried, but that opinion was not necessarily universally shared.
Matheny, who had gone to the mound when catcher Yadier Molina had noticed something amiss with Mujica, said, "It looked like he just didn’t feel right.
"When you see that, you’ve got to go find out. We’ll just continue to keep our eyes on it. We’ll give him days (off) when we can. We’ve given him a few.
"We’ll let the medical team get their hands on him again and see what we have to deal with." Mujica, bound with ice bags, said, "Those trainers are taking care of me like a baby. Ice everywhere."
Can Mujica make it six more weeks? "If the trainers start treating me better, I can maybe go two more months," joked Mujica.
"Let’s see how I’m going to feel tomorrow and talk to me about it. I’m not concerned about it."
Lost in the focus on Manuel was Halladay's indictment of some unnamed teammates.
"Guys being at places on time, being on the field on time, taking ground balls, taking extra BP," Halladay said when asked what was specifically lacking under Manuel's leadership this season. "All of those little things that nobody thinks make a difference. It's been very good so far [under Sandberg]."
Halladay didn't name names, but there's an obvious plan in motion to get veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins more engaged in team activities and less concerned about breaking some of those individual team records that are within his reach.
Sandberg also has the challenge of getting closer Jonathan Papelbon and starter Cliff Lee more engaged in what he hopes to accomplish as the manager. It was clear at the trade deadline that those two would not have objected to going elsewhere, but they are still here. They have the talent to be part of the solution, and it is up to the new manager to make sure they do not become a gigantic clubhouse problem.
Mauer joined a laundry list of catchers diagnosed with concussions in recent weeks. Alex Avila of the Detroit Tigers is on the concussion DL, as are Yorvit Torrealba (Colorado), Carlos Corporan (Houston) and John Jaso (Oakland).
"Every team in baseball would like to have Joe Mauer behind the plate, I guarantee you that," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Catcher is a pretty important position. He's so important back there: calling a game and running a game. Then you have a guy that can hit, too."
But he can hit while playing first base, too, something Mauer started doing during an injury-plagued season in 2011, when he was limited to 82 games by leg and neck injuries. The concussion has renewed that topic of discussion.