Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the American League Central.
Balky back and all, the Twins are absolutely thrilled to call Joe Crede their own. The former White Sox third baseman who was so huge during the 2005 postseason -- and who feasted on Minnesota pitching last season -- is on a roll after a slow start, putting up 15 hits, 10 RBI and four home runs in his last 12 games. This might be tough for White Sox fans to stomach, but here is what Crede said about his Twins teammates after his grand slam ended a 13-inning marathon against the Tigers: "These guys have been great so far this year. It's going to be fun to see what this team can do.''
It's worth noting that after a hot start, Crede's replacement on the South Side -- Josh Fields -- has hit a dip, going hitless in his last nine at-bats. Fields, 26, was hitting .306 on April 17, but his average has dropped to .235 and he has just two home runs and 12 RBI in 30 games. Crede, 31, is hitting .237, and has five home runs and 13 RBI in 25 games. Manager Ozzie Guillen warned us not to expect Crede-like defense from Fields. So this shouldn't come as a surprise: Crede has one error and a .985 fielding percentage -- tops among AL third basemen; Fields has five errors and a .943 percentage -- only the Mariners' Adrian Beltre, with seven errors and a .929 fielding percentage, has worse numbers among AL third basemen.
The Twins got Crede -- coming off an All-Star season for a relative steal, thanks to that bad back, signing him to a one-year, $2.5 million contract that includes $4.5 million in performance bonuses. Fields is earning $410,000.
Crede's former Sox teammate Magglio Ordonez became upset after plate umpire Paul Schrieber put a hand on his shoulder to usher him away after a disputed call. Dontrelle Willis -- in the first start by a Tigers left-hander this season -- made his long-awaited debut in that same game against the Twins. He allowed four runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out none, but walked just two. Willis and the Tigers are taking this as a positive step.
A hideous five-run seventh inning seemed a fitting end to the Royals' five-game trip out West. In the five losses, the Royals were outscored 28-9. Making matters more frustrating, the five-game skid comes immediately after the Royals caught everyone's attention in the Central with a six-game winning streak. The open a seven-game homestand tonight. The Royals are 11-6 at home and 7-10 on the road.