Results tagged ‘ Twins ’

Quick thoughts from Day 3 of camp

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

Jim Thome meet Tsuyoshi Nishioka.

The Twins veteran slugger arrived at camp on Sunday morning and got a chance to take batting practice with his new teammate on one of the back fields of the Lee County Sports Complex.

Hitting coach Joe Vavra greeted Nishioka shortly after he arrived on the Minor League side of the complex and told him he’d be hitting with Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel and Thome. As more than 15 Japanese reporters and many of the Twins beat writers gathered around the cage, Thome remarked that he’d never seen this much media around a cage for Day 1 of batting practice in his 22 Spring Trainings.

Other than Thome’s arrival and Nishioka joining some of his teammates to work out, there wasn’t much news of the day. Francisco Liriano did some long toss on Sunday and said his shoulder felt good. He’s expected to throw a bullpen session in a couple days.

I’ll have more stuff later on the website as well as a blog post with some photos from the first few days of camp.

And we’re off….

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Day 1 of the Twins’ Spring Training is now officially underway as the pitchers and catchers are getting set for their first official workout.

Everyone always counts reporting day as the kickoff of spring, but not every Twins pitcher and catcher has to show up at the Lee County Sports Complex in Fort Myers on that day. Really the work gets started this morning with manager Ron Gardenhire getting the first meeting underway at 9 a.m. ET and then the groups dispersing to get the first workout underway.

It looked like everyone would be in attendance for the first workout, judging by looking around the clubhouse. Everyone that is except for right-hander Yorman Bazardo, a non-roster invitee, who general manager Bill Smith said would be reporting late due to a travel issue.

A few quick thoughts from yesterday’s report day and this morning before workouts:

— Jose Mijares looks to be in good shape, perhaps even a few pounds lighter than he was at the end of last season. Gardy stopped Mijares in the clubhouse to tell the lefty how good he looked. After many springs where Mijares has shown up out of shape, it’s certainly a positive sign to see him looking like this at the start.

–Joe Nathan, Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins, Matt Capps, Brian Duensing Francisco Liriano and
Anthony Slama are among pitchers scheduled to throw in the bullpen
today.

— Joe Mauer and Tsuyoshi Nishioka met each other for the first time yesterday in the clubhouse when Nishioka walked over to the catcher and said “Hello, nice to meet you.” And so the Twins star and the star in Japan got their official introductions out of the way.

All right, off to watch the workouts. More from camp later.

2011 will be John Gordon’s final season

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

John Gordon has been the voice of the Minnesota Twins for the past 24 seasons, but 2011 will be his final one in the booth.

Gordon, 70, will broadcast his 25th and final season in 2011, he told the Naples Daily News. The Twins radio voice since 1987, Gordon made his announcement on Tuesday morning while speaking to the Men’s Fellowship at Community Congregational Church in North Naples.

“It’s time,” Gordon told the newspaper. “I’ve had a wonderful career, but it’s time for me to move on to another phase of my life.”

It had already been announced that Gordon will be reducing his workload to 90 games for the 2011 season, after working 150 games this past season. He’ll still be joined by partner Dan Gladden to make up the Twins’ primary radio broadcast team. Ted Robinson and Bob Kurtz will also return and call 25 games each while Kris Atteberry will do about 45 games in a play-by-play and analyst role.

In addition to the 90 regular season games, Gordon is also expected to call around 15 Spring Training broadcasts as well.

Twins president Dave St. Peter said back in December when the broadcast changes were announced that Gordon had wanted to spend more time with his family outside of the booth and that was the reason for the reduced schedule. Now, Gordon will get set to enter what will be his 25th and final season as the voice of the Twins.

But Gordon told the Naples Daily News his hope is that his time with the Twins will end the same way it began –with him calling a World Series win.

Delaney claimed by Rays

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS — Right-hander Rob Delaney, who was designated for assignment this week when the Twins picked up left-hander Dusty Hughes, has been claimed off waivers by the Rays.

Delaney made one appearance for Minnesota last season, giving up one run
on two hits in one inning. He was 7-9 with a 4.73 ERA in 61 appearances
with Triple-A Rochester in 2010.

Changes at Target Field

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS — The batter’s eye at Target Field will look slightly different when the Twins open up the 2011 season.

Twins president Dave St. Peter said Friday that the team plans to remove the black spruce trees that are currently behind the center field wall. Hitters, for both the Twins and visiting teams, have complained that the trees have been a distraction and make it difficult to see the ball coming out of the pitcher’s hand.

The team also plans to install a new “almost honeycomb-like” material on
the backdrop that will help to reduce the glare for hitters, which was a
problem during late afternoon games.

“It’s more of a safety issue for players,” Twins general manager Bill Smith said. “That is one of those things that you really don’t know until you get into a park and start playing. The glare, you can project what the glare will be but you don’t know until you start playing. We certainly want to make it safe for the players.”

St. Peter said that the team is still working on determining what to do with the trees. He mentioned it’s possible that they could be relocated to a different parts of the state

Twins claim Hughes off waivers

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS – The Twins have added another experienced arm to their bullpen competition this spring, claiming left-hander Dusty Hughes off waivers from the Royals on Wednesday.

Hughes, 28, was 1-3 with a 3.83 ERA, 24 walks and 34 strikeouts over 56 1/3 innings for the Royals in 2010. He pitched in 57 games last season, which gave him the second highest number of appearances among rookies in the American League. The left-hander, who was an 11th round pick by the Royals in 2003, was designated for assignment by Kansas City on Jan. 20.

To make room for Hughes on the 40-man roster, the Twins have designated right-handed pitcher Rob Delaney for assignment. Delaney made one appearance for the Twins last season, giving up a run on two hits in one inning. He was 7-9 with a 4.73 ERA in 61 appearances with Triple-A Rochester in 2010.

Nick Punto is a Cardinal

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS — Nick Punto’s days in a Minnesota Twins uniform have officially come to an end.

The versatile infielder has signed a one-year contract with the Cardinals. According to the St. Louis Dispatch, the contract is worth $700,000.

The Twins declined Punto’s $5 million option back in October, paying him a $500,000 buyout instead. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wanted to bring back Punto, 33, to use in a utility role and to give the team protection in the middle infield in case of injuries, but the club appears to have reached its payroll limit after signing veteran starter Carl Pavano this week.

In seven seasons with the Twins, Punto batted .248 with a .323 on-base percentage, 12 home runs and 89 stolen bases. But Punto’s value came primarily from his defense and Gardenhire often proclaimed that Punto was his best defensive infielder at whatever position he played — whether it was second base, shortstop or third base.

The Twins have other options for their utility infielder role, including Matt Tolbert who is a switch-hitter like Punto and can play the same three defensive spots. Tolbert is quick, although he doesn’t possess the same defensive prowess as Punto, who was considered to be one of the best defensive infielders in baseball.

Along with Tolbert, the Twins also have Trevor Plouffe as an option at shortstop should the team need a steady fill-in at that spot. Another potential option could be infielder Luke Hughes, who had a short stint with the team this past season.

Coaching switcharoo

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

The Twins coaching staff will not have any personnel changes for the 2011 season, but there will be two coaches who are swapping roles.

Scott Ullger will take over as the Twins bench coach after spending the last five seasons as the club’s third base coach. Steve Liddle will be the Twins’ new third base coach, having previously served as the bench coach since the 2002 season.

The switch has nothing to do with the performance of either coach. Ullger wants to eventually manage one day and the feeling is that this would be a good opportunity for him to work closer with manager Ron Gardenhire.  Liddle also has previous experience as a third base coach, having served in that role at Triple-A in the Twins system, so the change should be a smooth one.

“Gardy talked to both guys and I think they are both excited about it,” said Twins general manager Bill Smith. “It’s something a little new and it will change the routine a bit. Both guys have great abilities in both of those roles and this is the route we’re going to go.”

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Matt Guerrier to the Dodgers?

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS – The Twins bullpen is expected to have a much different look for the 2011 season since the club could lose a number of key contributors from last year’s relief corps through free agency.

On Wednesday, the Twins appeared to say goodbye to the first pitcher from their large group of free agent relievers.

According to multiple reports, right-hander Matt Guerrier is on the verge of signing a three-year, $12 million contract with the Dodgers.

Guerrier, 32, spent seven seasons with the Twins and played a key role for the club in the late innings over the past few years. He posted a career 3.38 ERA in Minnesota over 472 innings while twice leading the league in appearances. He’s thrown at least 69 innings in each of the last six seasons and since 2007, Guerrier has worked 311 2/3 innings.

Guerrier was a Type A free agent, but the Twins didn’t offer him arbitration, meaning they won’t receive any draft picks as compensation for his departure.

Trade for Hardy nearing?

By:Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Twins and Orioles are in talks about a possible trade that would send shortstop J.J. Hardy to Baltimore but just how close a deal may be is unclear.

The Baltimore Sun first reported Wednesday that the two sides were in “serious negotiations” about a trade involving Hardy. The two teams have talked previously about a deal involving Hardy, as the Orioles have been aggressively pursuing an upgrade at shortstop.

A move to send Hardy to Baltimore would signal that the Twins are confident that they can sign Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka to a deal before the Dec. 26 deadline expires and perhaps a deal could be close to being completed. If the Twins move Hardy, it’s likely that Nishioka would be the starter at second base and Alexi Casilla could be the starting shortstop.

The Orioles are one of a few teams that have talked to the Twins about Hardy. The Twins were also in discussions with the Pirates on a trade for Hardy last week and Pittsburgh is still interested in the shortstop.