05/18/11 12:50 AM ET
Manuel has fond memories of Killebrew
By Nate Latsch / Special to MLB.com
"When I saw that today I was very sad," Manuel said prior to Tuesday night's game against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. "At the same time, when I started thinking about the laughter and some of the things he did, the fact that I've known him a long time and all that, I'd say the best thing about how I got to know him was in my first Spring Training, my first big league camp, I was lockered between him and Bob Allison. They were the big Twins star players. Even to this day, I can't believe that. I got to know them that way. Both of them were very good friends of mine."
Manuel was a 25-year-old rookie with the Twins in 1969 when Killebrew was in his 16th season in the big leagues, a 33-year-old who would end up winning the American League Most Valuable Player Award after putting up career highs of 49 home runs and 140 RBIs.
Manuel, who batted .207 in 83 games that season, watched and learned and hung out with veterans like Killebrew and Allison.
"I can tell you stories," Manuel said.
The 67-year-old manager told a couple on Tuesday, about moments on and off the field, during his pregame chat with reporters.
"I used to pull the boat for him and Allison," Manuel said. "They were scared to wade in the lake in Kissimmee. There were some alligators in there, otters and things like that in there that would bump up against your leg. They would get scared. So I would take the fish chain and hook it to the boat and I'd wade and pull the boat."
That was just part of being a rookie, Manuel said.
And he still remembers seeing Killebrew blast home run after home run. Killebrew, who finished with 573 home runs, hit 90 in the first two years he and Manuel played together.
"I used to take it for granted," Manuel said. "He'd hit 40 [home runs]. I think 49 was the most I'd ever seen him hit. But I took it for granted because I expected him to hit them. He was that good."
Manuel and Killebrew maintained a friendship long after their playing days were over, and Killebrew would visit Manuel whenever the manager would come to Minnesota, including the three seasons (2000-02) when he managed the Cleveland Indians.
"He was a great person," Manuel said. "Tremendous. He'd do anything for you. I never ever heard him say anything bad about anybody. Never. In all the years I'd been around him."
Stutes clutch Monday, injured on Tuesday
ST. LOUIS -- Phillies rookie reliever Michael Stutes was called on in a big spot on Monday night.
With one out and runners on first and second in the bottom of the seventh inning in a 3-1 game, manager Charlie Manuel turned to Stutes in relief of Cliff Lee.
The first batter he faced? Three-time National League Most Valuable Player Albert Pujols.
After three 93 mph fastballs, Stutes threw a slider in the dirt to run the count to 3-1. But the next pitch, another slider, turned into a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play that allowed the Phillies to escape the inning still trailing just 3-1.
"It was pretty cool," Stutes said. "I just went in there and tried to throw the ball over the plate. That's one of those guys you grew up watching on TV, and it was pretty exciting to get to face him."
When Pujols made his Major League debut in 2001, Stutes estimated that he was probably in seventh grade. Now 24, the rookie right-hander grew up watching Pujols smack around opposing pitchers for the past 11 seasons.
"As far as I can remember that guy's been dominating the league," Stutes said. "I'm glad I got him."
It was the eighth appearance of the season for Stutes, who lowered his ERA to 3.18. In 5 2/3 innings, he has allowed two runs on three hits, struck out four and walked four. Opponents are hitting .158 against him.
"For a rookie coming up, putting him in there, he's done a good job for us," Manuel said before Tuesday's game. "He's been consistent. He comes in, he's cool, he stays calm. He's done good."
Stutes described his rookie season as "exciting."
"It's something you look forward to," he said. "The reason you play the game is to try to get up here and stay up here for as long as you can. I can't complain."
Stutes appeared in Tuesday's game but left while facing his first batter, Lance Berkman, due to a strain of his right side.
Stutes said he felt great warming up in the bullpen, but felt something wrong after throwing his second pitch. After the third pitch, it got worse and he came out of the game.
"It's in the middle of my back," he said. "They don't really know. I guess tomorrow I'll see a doctor."
Manuel said he was hoping to use Stutes for two innings on Tuesday.
"He had a burning in his lower back -- like he said -- he felt it tighten when he threw a pitch," the manager said. "He said the next one he threw he felt a sharp burn in his back. They'll check him out and let us know something tomorrow."
Mayberry getting plenty of playing time
ST. LOUIS -- Outfielder John Mayberry Jr. was in the Phillies lineup on Tuesday for the third consecutive day with Shane Victorino still out.
Mayberry went 1-for-6 in the previous two games, but had one home run, two RBIs, two runs scored and two stolen bases.
"He's got to show that he can play regular and hit in a big league lineup," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
In his first 29 games this season, Mayberry was hitting .271 with three doubles, two home runs, seven RBIs, six runs scored and three stolen bases.
Manuel called on Mayberry to steal second after he reached base on a fielder's choice in the second inning on Monday, and the move paid off. The 27-year-old, who did not steal a base in 50 games over his first two seasons, was successful against Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, a three-time Gold Glove winner.
"I think John is very talented," Manuel said. "... I knew he had the speed and he gets good jumps at first base. If you look at Triple-A last year, I think he stole 20 bags."
Mayberry had 68 stolen bases during his six Minor League seasons, including 20 in 2010, and was caught just 16 times.
Nate Latsch is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.