Recent content from Phil Miller
The the Twins' shortstop puzzle might lie in Jorge Polanco, a 23-year-old Dominican who was projected, as recently as 15 months ago, to be a second baseman.
Buck Showalter is now a believer in the team that had the worst record in baseball last season, proclaiming the Twins' sweep of the series much more than a fluke.
Jose Berrios shook off allowing three solo home runs to pitch another slid outing, and the bullpen led by Taylor Rogers got the outs needed to send the Twins to a sweep and a 14-5 road record.
Just one Baltimore base runner reached third base Tuesday night against Ervin Santana, who led the Twins to a 2-0 victory over the Orioles.
Miguel Sano's 37 RBI lead the American League, and he's quick to deflect the praise. "Everybody here is hitting really good," he said.
Jorge Polanco and Miguel Sano had four hits apiece, Joe Mauer had his first three-hit game since Aug. 16 and Kyle Gibson was the winning pitcher despite giving up six runs in five innings.
The Twins spend extra time practicing those in-between fly balls, striving for better communication and fewer collisions.
Scouting meetings are so intricately detailed now, they're practically entertainment, at least to a baseball junkie like Twins manager Paul Molitor.
The matter of a makeup date was in the hands of the players, thanks to a collectively bargained MLB limit of three day-night doubleheaders per season without player approval.
Kennys Vargas parked a game-tying pinch-hit home run deep into the seats in the ninth inning. The Twins then drew three consecutive walks and won in 10 innings.
According to FanGraphs' Ultimate Zone Rating, Mauer is 2.4 runs better than an average first baseman. That's already easily the best mark since he moved to the position in 2014, and it leads the American League.
The Twins on Tuesday homered in their 16th consecutive game, but Twins pitchers have also given up a long ball in 10 consecutive home games.
Uncertainty has surrounded the identity of the Twins' starter on each of the first two Saturdays of May, and this Saturday will make it three in a row.
The bullpen, one of the reasons for surprise and optimism though the first four weeks of the season, melted down during last week's six-game homestand.
In the span of three days, new Twins brass decided Kyle Gibson, Danny Santana and Michael Tonkin could not survive subpar starts in 2017.
Ahead of Sunday's much-anticipated pitching matchup of Chris Sale and Ervin Santana, Boston scored eight times in the second inning en route to an 11-1 romp over the Twins.
His first career walk-off homer ruined a late Red Sox rally.
The Twins' top pitching prospect, frequently flawless at Class AAA but mostly disappointing in 14 major league starts, is one of two candidates to be called up for a start.
Joe Mauer blasted a pitch from Matt Barnes over the fence in left-center field for a home run that gave the Twins a 4-3 victory. It was Mauer's first walk-off home run in 6,010 career at-bats.
Three plays in center field - including two hard hits into the wall - eventually prompted Twins manager Paul Molitor to pull Byron Buxton from Thursday's game for his own good.
Kyle Gibson, a fixture in the Twins rotation since his 2013 debut, pitched four more chaotic innings in a substandard season Thursday and was sent to the minors after Thursday's loss to Oakland.
Catcher Chris Gimenez took to the mound to finish the game.
The lefthanded reliever became a casualty of the Twins' sudden shortage of bullpen arms and surplus of bullpen innings, spending roughly six hours in the big leagues before being sent back to the minors.
The Twins' career saves leader pitched two of the Cubs' 1,459 innings last season, appearing in three late July games before a roster crunch cost him a chance to finish the year with the eventual world champions.
Eddie Rosario's three-run homer was the key blow off Tigers reliever Joe Jimenez.
For the 16th consecutive game this season, the Twins on Friday used the same 25-man roster that they've had since Opening Day.
Fans who purchased the Twins' special $99 ballpark pass for every April and May game now have a nice bonus: entry to Target Field on a Saturday night in June, when Wednesday's game is made up.
The Twins left the bases loaded in the first and ninth innings without scoring, with Joe Mauer flying out to center field to end the game for their third loss in four games.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona really wanted to catch up with Derek Falvey, his longtime colleague with the Indians, on Monday, but found it nearly impossible. Every few seconds as they chatted, somebody else came up to greet Falvey, too.
Brian Dozier was only a couple of steps past second base Sunday when he received Gene Glynn's go-ahead when his fly ball to center wasn't handled cleanly.
For the second time in the series, hard-throwing reliever Ryan Pressly gave up a tie-breaking home run in a loss to the White Sox.
Robbie Grossman, Max Kepler and Miguel Sano all homered for the Twins, who finished six-game road trip Thursday with an 11-5 rout over the Tigers. A year after starting 0-9, Minnesota is 6-3.
Rookie Justin Haley, a Rule 5 pick, got 10 outs for the Twins in Thursday's victory in Detroit.
A fourth-inning grand slam by Detroit's Andrew Romine erased the Twins' lead and led to a second loss in a row to the Tigers.
Hector Santiago limited his mistakes Tuesday, but Detroit lefthander Matt Boyd didn't allow a hit until the sixth inning and the Tigers' bullpen didn't allow a run until the ninth.
After at least a half-dozen Red Sox players were stricken by the flu in the past week, it raised some concerns among Minnesota's players about to share the same locations in Detroit.
Rules limiting the number of coaches in the dugout during games have forced assistant hitting coach Rudy Hernandez to watch games from the clubhouse -- where he still makes a difference.
Ervin Santana gave up only two hits and two walks in six shutout innings as the Twins improved their record to an American league-best 5-1 by beating the White Sox.
Brandon Kintzler's nail cracked during spring training, but with three days off between outings, it was never a problem. Sunday, it needed some work while he was pitching.
The White Sox took advantage of Minnesota's mistakes early, clubbed a couple of homers later, and ended the Twins' nothing-but-winning week.
Paul Molitor wanted to make sure Byron Buxton isn't getting too discouraged by his slow start. He discovered he needn't have worried.
Phil Hughes pitched strong, Miguel Sano started at first base and the Twins outfield defense was highlight-reel-worthy. It added up to a 3-1 victory.
Twins manager Paul Molitor has essentially given Brian Dozier — who has successfully stolen second base 13 consecutive times — permission to run whenever he likes.
Consigned to the bullpen after manager Paul Molitor chose Adalberto Mejia for the fifth spot in the rotation, Tyler Duffey is trying to get used to entering a game already in progress.
The Twins sent 11 batters to the plate in the seventh inning - and scored three times on bases-loaded walks - to break a 1-1 tie with the Royals, and pick up their first Opening Day win since 2008.
Hope and renewal are the currency of Opening Day, and while the Twins are trying to sell both, it's not clear they have the inventory on hand to satisfy many of their fans.
When the 23-year-old takes the field Monday, he will become the Twins' 11th Opening Day shortstop in the past 12 years, an amazing list that doesn't even take into account the seven other shortstops who manned the position somewhat regularly during that span.
Star Tribune Twins reporter Phil Miller takes a look at the 25 men who'll open the season with the team.
Derek Falvey walked into the Twins' dining room in Fort Myers, Fla., last week, and noticed something foreign, yet eerily familiar on the television: a Cleveland Indians game.
The basement of Twins pitcher Hector Santiago's home in the western suburbs of Phoenix looks like a sports bar on "Hoarders," a densely packed Hall of Fame starter kit.
Park is likely to be added to the Twins' 40-man roster Thursday, the winner of a competition with Kennys Vargas to capture the designated hitter role he lost last season.
Manager Paul Molitor said roster moves are coming that will provide "a fair amount of clarity" about the remaining roster competitions. The designated hitter situation doesn't appear to be among them.
For the second spring in a row, Duffey is part of a two- or three-way competition for the final spot in the Twins rotation, and for the second spring in a row, it's come down to the final week of camp.
Ervin Santana, who left Twins camp two weeks ago to join the Dominican Republic team in the World Baseball Classic, struck out six Orioles in a four-inning stint.
Phil Hughes surrendered a home run to George Springer on his first pitch of the day against the Astros and lasted only two innings. His spring ERA jumped to 6.75.
Buddy Boshers' young daughter keeps the Twins' bullpen contest in perspective. "She keeps me pretty busy, from the time I walk through the door."
Brian Dozier slugged his first home run of spring training and Phil Hughes pitched five strong innings as the twins defeated Tampa Bay 4-2.
Adalberto Mejia shut down the Cardinals to continue a strong spring.
But the first baseman did manage to record his first RBI of the spring.
The Twins' top minor leaguer of 2016 has speed to burn, but that's not all.
Ryan Vogelsong, 39, likes where he's at right now.
It can't be easy being Dee Gordon's younger brother. You're trying to live up to your first-round-pick identity and get to the big leagues, and all anybody wants to do is make comparisons.
ByungHo Park, John Ryan Murphy and Dan Rohlfing hit home runs and Tyler Duffey gave up one run in three innings during his first start of spring training.
To restore his potency at the plate, Miguel Sano tinkered with his mechanics this offseason, namely working with former major leaguer Fernando Tatis
Each will throw an inning vs. Twins in an exhibition.
Chris Gimenez was thrilled to fight off a couple of sliders Monday and then line a single up the middle, which drove in the game-winning run in the 10th inning.
Twins manager Paul Molitor is impressed with the new coach's willingness to consider unconventional approaches — including new ways of examining statistics — in different situations.
Hector Santiago retired eight of the 11 batters he faced in 2⅔ scoreless innings, five of them via strikeouts, before departing to play for Team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic as the Twins rallied for a 4-2 victory over the Nationals at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
Ryan Pressly has gradually gained experience with the Twins, figured out how to attack hitters, and put himself on the precipice of becoming a bullpen virtuoso — and perhaps a star.
The question of where to slot the three-time batting champion is becoming a ticklish matter as Joe Mauer reaches the later stages of his career.
ByungHo, as he wants to be called, homered for the second time.
For Buxton, that means improving his running game, and particularly against lefthanders. He has the speed to successfully steal against lefties, but he admits, not always the guts.
When the Twins' young righthander returned home for the winter in Sulphur, La., his family surprised him with a keepsake that he wanted no part of keeping.
"We can't believe we're not dead," Mike Quade said after his SUV was rammed from behind by a car going close to 50 miles per hour.
Competition in Fort Myers for spots in the Twins rotation and bullpen, along with DH and bench roles, could be fierce. The team opens Grapefruit League play Friday vs. the Rays.
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