Staff Directory 102061883

Phil Miller

Reporter | Minnesota Twins and MLB
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Phil Miller has covered the Twins for the Star Tribune since 2013. Previously, he covered the University of Minnesota football team, and from 2007-09, he covered the Twins for the Pioneer Press.

A native of Pekin, Ill., Miller attended the University of Utah, and worked for 26 years at The Salt Lake Tribune, spending five years as assistant sports editor, and later as a reporter covering communities, college football and basketball, and the NBA's Utah Jazz.
Recent content from Phil Miller
Nelson Cruz played around with teammates Eddie Rosario (left) and Willians Astudillo during a Twins workout Sunday at Target Field.

Cruz will return. Here's why he'll take pay cut after 40-homer year

Nelson Cruz, the veteran designated hitter, set a franchise record for slugging percentage in a big offensive season.
Twins first baseman C.J. Cron pointed to third baseman Miguel Sano after he fielded a grounder by Yankees left fielder Giancarlo Stanton in Game 1 of

Kepler to rest injured back; Cron might need thumb surgery

While Max Kepler should be OK next spring without any further treatment on his nagging back, the Twins fear the same might not be the case for first baseman C.J. Cron.
Twins players, including injured center fielder Byron Buxton (middle), wore some grim faces during the ninth inning of an ALDS Game 3 loss to the Yank

1-2-3 and they're out: Twins lament quick end to team's fine season

The players were packing up Tuesday and coming to terms with a disappointing ending to a memorable season.
Eddie Rosario later hit a home run to get the Twins close, but he remained on his knees after being thrown out at first base in the fifth inning of th

Swept again: Twins' playoff losing streak hits 16 games, 16 Octobers

The highest-scoring team in Twins history went weakly into the winter with 5-1 loss to the New York Yankees on Monday, extending a baseball-record streak of postseason defeats that dates to 2004.
Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz took the floor in the clubhouse in Yankee Stadium after Saturday’s ugly Game 2 loss.

Cruz tried to inspire Twins with clubhouse speech after Game 2

"When a guy like that speaks, everybody listens and perks their ears up and takes it in, because he's been in a lot of different situations," pitcher Kyle Gibson said.
Twins starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi talks to reporters during a news conference during the ALDS.

Twins need a hero: Odorizzi primed for a win-or-else challenge

In what could be his final start for the Twins, his team is asking nothing less from Jake Odorizzi than this: Save our season tonight against the Yankees at Target Field.
Eddie Rosario played right field, not his usual spot in left, at Yankee Stadium this weekend. “It’s no big deal,” he said.

Misstep in June eventually led to Rosario playing right field

Eddie Rosario started each of the first two games in the American League Division Series standing in front of the short porch in Yankee Stadium.
Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Cody Stashak gave up two home runs in the sixth inning, including one to New York Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner.

Twins turn in 'bad game at the wrong time' in Game 1 in N.Y.

Friday's 10-4 loss was the Twins' 14th consecutive postseason defeat, setting a major league record for October futility, and their 11th in a row to the Yankees.
Didi Gregorius and Gleyber Torres celebrated after they scored, along with Cameron Maybin

Yankees turn eight walks into five runs in beating Twins

The Twins were relatively happy about how they swung the bats Friday in the opening game of the ALDS at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees were ecstatic about the way they didn't.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli answered questions during a news conference at Yankee Stadium on Thursday afternoon ahead of Friday's ALDS Game 1

Baldelli's way: New generation of leadership brings new results

First-year Twins manager Rocco Baldelli simply asks that players be themselves, stay prepared, and give it their all during the games. "Rocco wants you to be yourself," outfielder Eddie Rosario said.
Testing his injured right ankle, Twins rookie second baseman Luis Arraez fielded grounders in the drizzle at Yankee Stadium on Thursday. The Twins mus

Arraez looks more likely to be able to play vs. Yankees

Rookie infielder Luis Arraez is less than a week removed from being carted off the field following a collision at Kansas City.
This is the pop fly on which Luis Arraez sprained his ankle during Saturday's game at Kansas City.

Arraez improves with treatment; Twins send four players home

Three days after Luis Arraez suffered a sprained right ankle that threatened his availability for the AL Division Series, the treatment is having an effect.
Eddie Rosario of the Twins was greeted at home by Nelson Cruz after homering off Yankees pitcher J.A. Happ on July 24.

Start times set for first two games of Twins-Yankees series

First pitch of Friday's game from Yankee Stadium will be at 6:07 p.m. Central time and televised on MLB Network. Saturday's game has an earlier start and a different network — 4:07 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.
Twins third baseman Luis Arraez is taken from the game after an injury during the seventh inning of a game Saturday.

Arraez has Grade 1 ankle sprain; Twins will wait on playoff roster decision

No structural damage was found in Luis Arraez's right leg after Saturday's infield collision. The Twins must inform MLB which 25 players will face the Yankees in the AL Division Series by 9 a.m. Friday.
The Twins' Jake Cave, left, is congratulated by teammate Jonathan Schoop, right, following his solo home run during the first inning

Twins lose season finale 5-4 but win MLB home run title with 307

Minnesota now holds the title as baseball's most prolific home-run-hitting team, having hit three in their 5-4 loss to the Royals to overtake the Yankees on the season's final day.
Six innings after hitting his 46th home run, Jorge Soler smacked his 47th, a two-run shot off Tyler Duffey to tie the score at 3-3 Saturday.

Twins reliever Tyler Duffey's scoreless streak comes to an end

Until Saturday, Tyler Duffey hadn't given up a run since July 28, a streak of 26 consecutive scoreless appearances and 23⅔ innings.
Twins starting pitcher Jose Berrios delivers to a Kansas City batter during the first inning

Berrios looks sharp as Twins beat Royals for rain-shortened victory No. 100

Jose Berrios pitched like a Game 1 starter Friday night, delivering a performance that the Twins would like to see repeated next week on the road in the playoffs.

Twins believe Kepler will be ready for playoffs

Max Kepler has been in the lineup only twice in three weeks but seems to have made steady progress in his recovery from the soreness near his left shoulder
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli says the team will probably wait until the last second — meaning up through next week — to make its final decisions o

Baldelli's No. 1 priority: Making tough decisions about the postseason

Winning 100 games for the second time in franchise history isn't nearly as vital as making choices that will help set the Twins' 25-man roster for the playoffs, which open next Friday, most likely against the Yankees in New York.
Jonathan Schoop celebrated his two-run home run with Willians Astudillo on Thursday.

Backup brigade leads Twins to 300th home run and 99th victory

The Twins reached 300 home runs and pulled within one win of 100 on Thursday, finishing off a sweep of the Tigers with a 10-4 victory at Comerica Park.
The Twins celebrate after clinching the AL Central on Wednesday

Gonzalez makes Buxton, Pineda part of Twins' bubbly party

Marwin Gonzalez included injured center fielder Byron Buxton and suspended righthander Michael Pineda in on the Twins clubhouse celebration via FaceTime on his phone.
Miguel Sano celebrates with teammates after the Twins clinched the AL Central Division championship on Wednesday night.

Corks popped: Twins win AL Central title

The Twins broke out the champagne a little over two hours after rookies Randy Dobnak and Luis Arraez — who weren't even on the roster a few months ago — helped carry them past the Tigers in the 5-1 victory that clinched the AL Central title.
Sam Dyson

Reliever Dyson has shoulder surgery, could miss entire 2020 season

Sam Dyson had capsule repair surgery in his right shoulder in Los Angeles, and manager Rocco Baldelli said the 2020 season is in jeopardy for the reliever.
Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson walked to the dugout in the eighth inning

Gibson willing to take on new role; Kepler 'making progress'

Kyle Gibson is willing to do whatever it takes to be part of the Twins postseason plans; Max Kepler's playing status has become a bit complicated.
Eddie Rosario celebrated hitting a two-run double in the seventh inning in Detroit.

Rosario answers challenge from Tigers; Twins trim magic number to two

Eddie Rosario made Detroit pay for intentionally walking Nelson Cruz. Rosario belted a crucial two-run double, the winning margin to open the three-game road series.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli took the ball from Trevor Hildenberger after the righthander failed to retire any of the five Royals batters he faced in

Dreadful ninth inning for bullpen does in Twins in 12-5 loss to Royals

Kansas City scored seven runs off Taylor Rogers and two other relievers, but the Twins' magic number fell to four anyway.
Twins catcher Jason Castro couldn't tag out Ryan McBroom on a second-inning sacrifice fly Saturday — the ball popped out of his glove after he appli

Jason Castro not looking to say farewell to Twins

The catcher becomes a free agent after the season, following three years in Minnesota.
Miguel Sano (22) hit a home run into the third deck in left field on Thursday night.

After Gibson bombs, Twins unleash barrage of bombas to beat Royals

Kyle Gibson was yanked in the second inning after seven Royals in a row reached base. Then Nelson Cruz, Miguel Sano and Mitch Garver went to work as the Twins reduced their magic number to six.
Twins third baseman Luis Arraez celebrated with third base coach Tony Diaz after hitting a home run in July.

Third-base coach Diaz is ready — nearly always — with congratulations

Tony Diaz and his powerful players practice their celebratory hand slaps — except in one notable case.
Eddie Rosario (20) was tagged out at third base by Chicago White Sox third baseman Yoan Moncada (10) when he tried to stretch a double into a triple w

Silent night: Twins bats shut down by White Sox bullpen in 3-1 loss

Eight Chicago pitchers combined to hold the Twins to three hits, all of them coming after Minnesota starter Jake Odorizzi, who pitched well, had been removed from the game.
Twins second baseman Jonathan Schoop fielded a ball hit by Cleveland catcher Roberto Perez on Sept. 7.

Schoop can pivot and throw with the best on double plays

Jonathan Schoop has been a part of 60 of the Twins' 124 double plays despite playing only 103 games.
Cleveland's Roberto Perez, right, is congratulated by Franmil Reyes after hitting a three-run home run in the sixth inning

Gibson's relief appearance falters, Twins lose series finale in Cleveland

Kyle Gibson made a surprise relief appearance and surrendered a game-turning three-run homer to Roberto Perez, and the error-prone Twins dropped a sloppy 7-5 decision to the Indians.
Twins relief pitcher Brusdar Graterol

Graterol impresses as a reliever; enough to make it a long-term plan?

Rookie flamethrower Brusdar Graterol has been a starter in the minors for the Twins organization, but he will be used out of the bullpen the rest of this year.
Miguel Sano reacts after hitting a grand slam in the eighth inning in the second baseball game of a doubleheader against the Indians

Grand sweep: Sano's slam sends Twins' magic number to 9

Miguel Sano crushed a tie-breaking grand slam in Game 2 of a Saturday doubleheader, and the Twins all but terminated the Indians' three-year reign atop the AL Central with 2-0 and 9-5 victories.
Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Sam Dyson throws to the Texas Rangers in a baseball game in Arlington, Texas, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019.

Twins reliever Dyson can't throw without pain, likely headed for surgery

Sam Dyson, acquired minutes before the trade deadline in July, threw two pitches in the bullpen on Friday, the first time on a mound in 10 days, and the pain in his right shoulder immediately returned.
Twins DH Nelson Cruz is closing in on Harmon Killebrew’s club record for slugging percentage in a season.

Cruz expresses admiration for Killebrew's consistency

Nelson Cruz never met Harmon Killebrew but the Twins' current home run leader has learned a lot during his time in Minnesota about the franchise's power-hitting icon
The tarp rests on the field after a game between the Twins and Indians was postponed due to the weather on Friday

All arms on deck: After washout, Twins to use bullpen for today's doubleheader

The teams were tied 2-2 in the third inning when heavy storms hit Cleveland, washing out the game. A split doubleheader will be held Saturday. Both ends will be bullpen games for the Twins.
Michael Pineda

Million-dollar mistake: Embarrassed Pineda apologizes for suspension

The financial cost of Michael Pineda's drug suspension will total more than $1 million in salary and bonuses. The pitcher said he would like to remain with the Twins after this season.
Twins starting pitcher Jose Berrios went seven strong innings vs. Washington.

Berrios rediscovers old form, pitches Twins to shutout over Nationals

Mitch Garver hit his 30th home run of the season, and Twins starter Jose Berrios on Tuesday went seven strong innings allowing just two hits.
Center fielder Byron Buxton is one of several Twins who have missed significant playing time this season because of injuries.

Who's still standing? Twins dealing with a roster full of injuries

The Twins are addressing injuries up and down the roster as the season winds down and the AL Central title is on the line.
Ehire Adrianza (13) is late trying to retire Cleveland's Yasiel Puig on a play at first base.

Health concerns mount as Kepler hurt in Twins loss to Cleveland

The sprains and spasms and strains and bruises continue to mount, leaving the Twins' powerful lineup reduced to hobbled volunteers and spare parts.
Byron Buxton

Season-ending shoulder surgery is an option for Buxton

The Twins are bracing for the possibility that Byron Buxton won't see any more action in 2019 because of his shoulder injury.
He’s out! Jason Castro tagged the Red Sox’s Rafael Devers at home in the ninth inning, preserving the Twins’ 2-1 victory and a series win at Fen

Monster play: Rosario's throw cuts down runner, caps Twins' 2-1 win

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Eddie Rosario fielded a blast off Fenway Park's Green Monster and threw out Boston's Rafael Devers at home plate to cap a road trip in which the Twins won eight of 10 games.
After MLB debut in the field, Twins' Miller still eager to grab a bat

After MLB debut in the field, Twins' Miller still eager to grab a bat

Ian Miller admitted that he breathlessly scans each day's Twins lineup, hoping to see his name — but isn't complaining about the wait.
Twins starting pitcher Jose Berrios reacts after giving up a three-run home run to Boston's Mookie Betts during the second inning

Berrios struggles from the very first pitch as Twins fall to Red Sox

Jose Berrios' first offering was belted over the Green Monster, and the culprit — Mookie Betts — hit another homer off him in the second inning to lead the Red Sox to a 6-2 victory.
In two relief appearances since the Twins acquired him from the Giants, Sam Dyson has given up six earned runs in two-thirds of an inning for an 81.00

Twins' Dyson sent home early as tendinitis flares up again

The Twins relief pitcher, acquired at the trade deadline, was sidelined in August by the same issue.
Minnesota Twins closer Taylor Rogers and catcher Jason Castro celebrate their 6-5 victory over the Boston Red Sox in a baseball game at Fenway Park, T

Rogers locks it down for Twins in tight victory at Fenway Park

Thanks to Taylor Rogers, the first day of a 12-game stretch against teams with winning records couldn't have gone any better for the Twins, who beat Boston 6-5 and now own a 6½ game lead in the AL Central.
Twins lefthander Lewis Thorpe entered in the second inning at Boston on Tuesday night and pitched three shutout innings before getting in trouble in t

Thorpe, Dobnak step up for Twins against Red Sox

The rookie pitchers took the Twins into the fifth inning in their series opener at Fenway Park.
Twins relief pitcher Trevor Hildenberger, in April.

After frustrating summer, Hildenberger excited to be back with Twins

Following a two-month shutdown, Trevor Hildenberger was reactivated Aug. 20, and closed the minor league season with 8⅓ scoreless innings. He is confident the mechanical problems have been solved.
For one more month, the Twins need their hitting, pitching and defense to remain stout as they march toward a division title.

What do Twins have to do to make it a September to remember?

It has come down to this: 29 days, 27 games, one AL Central title at stake
The Twins-White Sox series doesn't start until Tuesday night, but by the time it begins the Twins will have been in Chicago for nearly 48 hours alread

Travels with Rocco: Twins prefer to stay awhile on the road

The Twins begin a 10-day, three-city road trip in Chicago tonight. But for most of the players, it's an 11-day trek that began immediately following Sunday's game.
Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano (22) high-fived first baseman C.J. Cron (24) as he crossed home plate on a three-run homer in the fourth inn

Twins make the most of five hits in 7-4 win over Detroit

The Twins increased their lead in the AL Central to 3 1/2 games by hitting two home runs while Martin Perez kept Detroit's offense under control for six innings.
After entering the game as a defensive replacement, Twins left fielder Jake Cave made a leaping catch to rob Ronny Rodriguez of a run-scoring hit in t

Defensive replacement Cave makes run-saving catch for Twins

After entering the game, he robbed Ronny Rodriguez of extra bases.
Jake Cave was congratulated in the dugout after hitting a solo home run off former Cleveland starting pitcher Trevor Bauer on July 13

Cave learns that filling in is a skill

Jake Cave has found ways to keep his timing, and it's showing.
Byron Buxton slides to score against the Athletics in the 12th inning on July 3.

Buxton taking batting practice; Rosario has hamstring issue

Byron Buxton has played only nine games since July 13 while dealing with concussion symptoms, and then a dislocated shoulder joint.
Chicago White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito celebrates his complete game shutout with catcher James McCann

Twins suffer first complete-game shutout in four years as Giolito dominates

Lucas Giolito was in total control from his first pitch to the last Wednesday afternoon, retiring 27 of the 30 batters he faced and striking out a dozen Twins in his 4-0 victory.
The Twins' Max Kepler, right, left Sunday's game after playing center field in the sun for six innings, with a condition described as “heat illness.

Kepler falls ill; Twins say goodbye forever to Texas heat

The Rangers will open air-conditioned, retractable-roofed Globe Life Field across the street next March, and the Twins won't miss fighting the hot-and-humid conditions in this 25-year-old park.
Jorge Polanco was the Twins' hero Sunday, delivering a bases-clearing triple in the eighth inning for a 6-3 victory over the Rangers.

Polanco busts open tie with bases-loaded triple as sizzling Twins sweep Texas

Jorge Polanco broke open a 3-3 tie with an eighth-inning triple off a rookie Rangers pitcher throwing 100 miles per hour on a 99-degree afternoon.
Brusdar Graterol, a 20-year-old Twins pitching prospect from Venezuela.

Twins pay a visit to Brusdar Graterol, promote him to Class AAA Rochester

Thad Levine said they are not going to push the 20-year-old with a 100 mph fastball, but he was still moved up a level Saturday.
Twins infielders Jorge Polanco (11) and Luis Arraez (2) celebrated after Polanco scored during the eighth inning Saturday night.

Twins top Texas despite Jose Berrios' difficulties

The All-Star righthander again couldn't get out of the fifth inning despite being handed a six-run lead before he took the mound.
Twins reliever Tyler Duffey celebrated getting Isiah Kiner-Falefa to fly out with the bases loaded, ending the fifth inning of Saturday night's game.

Tyler Duffey doubles his Twins season victory total in one day

Sam Dyson was initially given the victory Friday night.
Twins third base coach Tony Diaz sends Jorge Polanco home, scoring on a C.J. Cron single in the fourth inning to give the Twins a 10-0 lead.

Winning without drama: Twins take 11-0 lead and cruise past Texas

Wrung out often by the Twins' habit of momentum swings and dramatic finishes, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli pined for an uneventful, wire-to-wire blowout victory. He got it.
Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco has had trouble in the field for a few weeks now, and it really stood out in the two-game series against the Brewers at

Polanco continues string of costly errors at shortstop

Jorge Polance made three errors in the two games iatMilwaukee, including one in the inning when the Brewers hit their game-winning three-run homer.
The Twins' Marwin Gonzalez, right, celebrated with Eddie Rosario after hitting a three-run home run in the eighth inning of a 7-5 victory over the Bre

Biggest bomba? Gonzalez's three-run homer boosts Twins back into first place

The Twins built a lead, watched it disappear in about five ugly minutes, then recaptured it with one tremendous Marwin Gonzalez swing to beat Milwaukee 7-5.
Despite a torn tendon in his left wrist, Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz was hitting in a cage Tuesday and hopes to get off the injured list next

Cruz hits despite arm injury, aims to get off injured list

Nelson Cruz's plan is to test it again a few times during this road trip and do wrist-strengthening exercises, with the expectation of being activated when he's eligible to return on Monday.
Twins relief pitcher Sergio Romo celebrated after the end of the top of the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians.

Twins back alone in first place with 4-1 victory over Cleveland

Jake Odorizzi had a strong start, and the Twins offense came through behind him to end a four-game losing streak and go back up by one game in the AL Central.
Cleveland right fielder Yasiel Puig left the field after striking out against Twins starter Jake Odorizzi in the top of the first inning.

Schedule difficulty favors Twins down the stretch against Cleveland

Worst in AL Central account for 26 of final 45 games.
Randy Dobnak

Journey completed: Twins call up pitcher Dobnak to replace Stewart

Randy Dobnak, a 24-year-old right-hander, started the season at Class A Fort Myers before working his way through the Twins' minor league system with 125 strong innings.

Sano sensed another triple play was possible for Twins

When Atlanta catcher Tyler Flowers came to the plate with the bases loaded Wednesday, Twins coach Tony Diaz signaled third baseman Miguel…
Braves right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a home run on the first pitch of the first inning.

Over early: Twins, Berrios fall behind 11-0, end up losing 12-7 to Atlanta

Jose Berrios hadn't allowed more than three earned runs in a start since mid-May. Tuesday, he opened his first career start against Atlanta by allowing a home run on the first pitch It didn't get better.
Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz followed through with his swing after hitting a solo home run against the Kansas City Royals in the bottom of the

Triple boomstick: Cruz homers three times in Twins rout over Royals

The Twins' designated hitter — already the most homer-iffic DH in franchise history — launched three more rockets into the Target Field seats
Nelson Cruz celebrated with Max Kepler at home plate after Cruz hit a two-run-homer in the first inning on Friday, giving the Twins a 2-1 lead over th

Cruz comes through for Twins when they need it in victory over Royals

Nelson Cruz's home run and pair of doubles helped the Twins win the weekend series opener with the Royals 11-9.
Byron Buxton slides to score against the Athletics in the 12th inning on July 3.

Another crash into the wall puts Buxton on the bench

A day after crashing into the outfield wall in Miami, Byron Buxton's left shoulder on Friday was more tender from the collision. It's the third injury that has knocked Buxton out of the lineup in six weeks.
The bat of the Yankees’ Aaron Judge splintered in the fourth inning, but he got enough wood on the pitch to single to center at Target Field on Wedn

Yankees bust through for series win; Twins' AL Central lead down to two

The Yankees handed the Twins a 10-7 loss on Wednesday night and for the 13th consecutive year won the season series. The Twins' lead in the AL Central is down to two games over Cleveland.
Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks is doused in an ice bath by a teammate after making the game-winning catch in the bottom of the 10th inning.

Big hitting, bad pitching, epic ending by Hicks gives Yankees 14-12 win over Twins

The teams traded late-inning rallies before the Yankees triumphed in the 10th, a game capped by a ninth-inning homer and game-ending diving catch by ex-Twin Aaron Hicks.