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TEAM NOTES

Dimensions unchanged, drink rail being added at Target Field

  • Article by: La VELLE E. NEAL III
  • Star Tribune
  • October 4, 2012 - 1:18 PM

UPDATE: The Twins announced Thursday afternoon that a drink rail will be added near the right-field foul pole, replacing some seats in that part of Target Field.

No changes will be made in the dimensions of the playing field.

TORONTO - The Twins will hold a news conference on Thursday to announce they are presenting plans to the Minnesota Ballpark Authority to upgrade the right field bleachers.

Will that be all they do to the ballpark this offseason?

Indications are that the club has been kicking around the idea of re-planting black spruce trees behind the center field wall. Target Field debuted in 2010 with 14 trees in front of the batter's eye in center, but players complained that they were a distraction, so they were removed before last season. Fans expressed their disapproval of the removal.

It's not clear if the club has discovered a way to have the trees there without affecting hitters.

Twins President Dave St. Peter, in an e-mail, would not confirm that the trees are coming back.

"No decision has been made," he wrote. "We continue to conduct an internal review of the ballpark and potential modifications for 2013 and beyond."

Looking ahead

The Twins had to add an extra section of stalls to their spring training clubhouse in Fort Myers for all the pitchers they brought in to camp in February.

"We brought like 28,000 pitchers to camp," manager Ron Gardenhire said, "and we used them all. That's not good."

Actually, it was 33, the most that the Twins can remember.

Will they go with the same approach next spring? They expect to lose a few pitchers, such as Scott Diamond to Canada and perhaps Glen Perkins to Team USA, to the World Baseball Classic. So the Twins and other teams might bring a few extra pitchers into camp anyway.

The Twins ended up using 25 pitchers this season. And they aren't afraid to bring in a bunch of arms again if they believe they can help the team.

General Manager Terry Ryan noted that the last pitcher they signed for camp was Casey Fien, on Jan. 3. And Fien, called up to the Twins in July, has pitched well enough to be in the mix to open the 2013 season in the majors.

"If somebody recommended a guy, more often than not I'm going to be responsive and take a run at him," Ryan said.

Diamond takes drive, loss

Toronto's Rajai Davis led off the bottom of the first inning Wednesday with line drive that struck Diamond in the left calf. But it caromed over to first base, where Chris Parmelee fielded it for the out.

But Diamond's calf began to bother him in the third inning and he was removed after the fifth.

He took the loss, falling to 12-9 this season, despite holding Toronto to two runs, five hits and a walk while striking out three. About 30 friends and family members from his hometown of Guelph, Ontario, cheered him on.

"I let my Canadian heritage shine a little bit by kick-saving it over to first base," Diamond said of Davis' liner.

Etc.

• It apparently didn't take long for former Twins infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka to find a new team. According to a Sankei Sports report, Nishioka has an agreement in principle with the Hanshin Tigers of the Japanese Central League. Nishioka returns to Japan after two terrible seasons with the Twins.

• Joe Mauer was the designated hitter Wednesday, his 147th game of the season and the most in his career. "I think everyone is pleased with that mark," Ryan said. "That was one of the questions coming into the season."

• Toronto shortstop Omar Vizquel played in his 2,968th and final game. The 11-time Gold Glove winner is retiring, and the Blue Jays honored him with a video tribute and by allowing him to throw out the first pitch.

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