Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Pregame: Twins 'fresher' after break from BP

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: August 11, 2013 - 11:56 AM

CHICAGO -- The Twins are on the field taking batting practice, unusual for a Sunday. But they had not been on the field for a full BP session since Wednesday in Kansas City, so Ron Gardenhire decided to change the routine.

Actually, "we planned it this way, but they had an out -- if we won yesterday, they weren't going to hit today," the Twins manager said.

Batting practice is a near-daily ritual for the Twins and every team, but "it becomes a grind. I hate it when it becomes a grind," Gardenhire said. "That's why on day games, we got away from it."

He's noticed a positive effect for having bypassed the 45-minute-long session on the field. "I think guys are fresher right now. Getting off the field has made these guys fresher -- they're moving around pretty good," Gardenhire said. "You can see it, there's a little jump in their step."

Each Twins position player takes swings in the batting cage every day, whether or not they take a full BP. But with the schedule packed with 48 games over the next 50 days, Gardenhire is trying to conserve his team's energy as best as he can. All the day games make a difference, too, and they've played in the afternoon all three days here. That's because players typically arrive at the ballpark five hours, sometimes even six, before a night game, but more like four hours before a day game. So BP is a way to eat up some of the down time when they play at night.

The Twins' weeklong trip ends today; they've gone 3-3 so far, with a chance to post a winning record on their second straight trip. Here are lineups for the series finale:

TWINS

Dozier 2B
Carroll 3B
Mauer C
Morneau 1B
Willingham DH
Arcia LF
Colabello RF
Thomas CF
Bernier SS

Correia RHP

WHITE SOX

De Aza LF
Beckham 2B
Ramirez SS
Dunn 1B
Konerko DH
Garcia RF
Gillaspie 3B
Flowers C
Tekotte CF

Quintana LHP 

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