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DOn’T BE SHY: Three-time American League batting champion Joe Mauer tried to hand an autographed ball back to 3-year-old Preston Snyder during the first day of TwinsFest.

KYNDELL HARKNESS • kharkness@startribune.com,

Twins tighten up Target Field security for upcoming season

  • Article by: Phil Miller
  • Star Tribune
  • January 25, 2014 - 12:29 AM

Major League Baseball has given teams until 2015 to beef up security at ballpark entrances, but the Twins aren’t waiting. The first metal detectors should be in place by Opening Day.

“It will be phased in, but our goal is to have magnetometers fully implemented no later than June 1,” Twins President Dave St. Peter said Friday. “We’ve already started the process internally, and we’ll be training staff soon.”

Ultimately, fans and most employees will be required to empty their pockets and walk through the magnetometers to enter Target Field, St. Peter said, as well as have their bags and backpacks searched. The Twins are exploring ways to keep the new policy from creating long lines and backups at each gate.

“Anything that creates the perception that it’s more difficult to get into the ballpark, that we’re creating a hassle for the fans, that’s concerning,” he said. “But we have to accept the realities of our world. One of my greatest fears has always been terrorism and the possibility of it interacting with sports. You see a situation like the Boston Marathon, I would take comfort, and I think our fans will, that we’ve done everything we can to prevent that at Target Field, that we’ve created the safest possible environment.”

The team has no plans to further restrict what fans can bring into the park — food and bottled water are OK, for instance — but policies are still being developed.

“We want to make this as simple and painless as possible for fans,” St. Peter said. “Ultimately, we hope common sense is the rule.”

Albers move all but done

Andrew Albers’ assignment to a team in South Korea is all but official, General Manager Terry Ryan said. The Twins have reached a compensation agreement with the Hanwha Eagles, and the paperwork should be complete in the next few days.

Which is a little bittersweet for the Canadian lefthander.

“It’s tough. It’s a tough decision because of how well I’ve been treated by the Twins,” said Albers, who spent the final two months of last season in the starting rotation, going 2-5 with a 4.05 ERA. “But at the same time, it’s an opportunity that’s really hard to turn down.”

The Twins added free agents Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes during the offseason, leaving only one spot open in the rotation. Offered a contract worth close to $1 million, Albers said, he couldn’t pass it up.

Jack is back

Former Twins pitcher Jack Morris has been added to the Twins’ television and radio broadcast teams for this season.

Morris, the 1991 World Series MVP for the Twins, will be one of the pregame and postgame analysts on Fox Sports North and will be among those filling in for TV color commentator Bert Blyleven when he isn’t scheduled.

He will also co-host the “Ron Gardenhire Show” at 9:30 a.m. Sundays on KTWN (96.3-FM), as well as the weekly “This is Twins Territory” show that will air from 10 to 11 a.m. on Sundays during the regular season.

In 2013, Morris was a radio commentator for the Toronto Blue Jays, one of the teams he pitched for during his 18-year career. He worked on Twins radio broadcasts from 2005 to ’11 and then did some work with Detroit Tigers.

Etc.

• The Twins have sold about 17,000 seasons tickets so far this offseason, down from the 19,000 full-season equivalents they sold a year ago. Roughly 85 percent of last year’s customers renewed their tickets this year, St. Peter said.

• Miguel Sano said a month of rehab has convinced him that no surgery will be necessary on his right elbow, which grew sore last season. “My elbow feels pretty good,” said the Twins third base prospect. “There’s no pain.”

• The Twins plan to wear their powder-blue uniforms from 1984 again this season, scheduling a turn-back-the-clock game in June.

• Among the giveaways planned this year are three All-Star-related bobbleheads and a Ron Gardenhire gnome. The team is planning postgame fireworks after each Friday game from May to August.

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