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.

Twins' "Italians" back earlier than they hoped

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: March 15, 2013 - 5:01 PM

The Twins are nearing full strength again with the return, as Terry Ryan put it yesterday, of the Twins' Italians -- "A guy from Massachusetts and a guy from Florida."

Chris Colabello and Drew Butera both sounded far more happy for what they experienced at the World Baseball Classic than disappointed that they're not heading to San Francisco for the semifinals. "To experience it myself, there's really no words to describe it," Butera said. "We didn't go into the thing expecting to lose. We wanted to win, just like everybody else."

They came closer than most people expected. As Colabello points out, the Team Italy had "a lead against every team we played against at some point, and a lead late against most of them." But after advancing to the second round in Miami, the Italians were finished by some late-inning pitching and defensive letdowns in losses to the United States and Dominican Republic.

Both players are on the traveling roster for tonight's game at JetBlue Park against the Red Sox, but neither is in the starting lineup, having just returned to Fort Myers after almost two weeks away. Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau didn't make the short drive at all. But the three center field candidates -- Aaron Hicks, Joe Benson, and Darin Mastroianni -- are all playing again, with Benson serving as designated hitter. He has hits in five of his last seven at-bats, including a double and triple. It could be a pivotal night for the center field candidates, and probably for starting pitcher Liam Hendriks, who has allowed six runs in his last six innings.

Tonight's lineups:

Twins -- Hicks CF, Carroll 3B, Parmelee 1B, Doumit C, Arcia RF, Benson DH, Dozier 2B, Escobar SS, Mastroianni LF. Hendriks P, potentially followed by Duensing, Hernandez, Robertson, Perdomo and Walters.

Red Sox -- Jacoby Ellsbury CF, Jonny Gomes LF, Dustin Pedroia 2B, Mike Napoli 1B, Jarrod Saltalamacchia C, Will Middlebrooks 3B, Mike Carp DH, Ryan Sweeney RF, Pedro Ciriaco SS. Felix Doubront P.

Tonight's game is televised in Minneapolis on Fox Sports North Plus, beginning at 6 p.m. CT.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago WSox - WP: S. Carroll 6 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: Z. McAllister 2
Atlanta - WP: M. Minor 11 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 6
NY Yankees - WP: S. Greene 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: C. Tillman 0
Arizona - WP: W. Miley 2 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 0
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 10 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2
Miami - LP: M. Dunn 4 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: V. Black 5
Boston - LP: J. Peavy 2 FINAL
Houston - WP: J. Fields 3
Minnesota - WP: K. Correia 9 FINAL
Colorado - LP: T. Matzek 3
Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 10
Detroit - WP: R. Porcello 5 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 1
Washington - WP: R. Detwiler 5 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: J. Diekman 3
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Wilson 6 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: J. Hoover 5
LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver 5 FINAL
Texas - LP: M. Mikolas 2
San Diego - LP: K. Quackenbush 0 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: K. Jansen 1
Oakland - LP: J. Chavez 2 FINAL
Seattle - WP: H. Iwakuma 6
Colorado 3 FINAL
Philadelphia 3
Houston 2 FINAL
Toronto FC 4
Columbus 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 4
Chicago 1 FINAL
New England 0
Sporting Kansas City 2 FINAL
Montreal 1
Chivas USA 3 FINAL
Vancouver FC 1
Real Salt Lake 0 FINAL
Los Angeles 1
Winnipeg 34 FINAL
Montreal 33
Ottawa 11 FINAL
Edmonton 27
Calgary 34 FINAL
Toronto 15
Brt Columbia 26 FINAL
Saskatchewan 13
Atlanta 93 FINAL
Indiana 74
Washington 91 FINAL
Tulsa 74

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What are you most looking forward to during All-Star festivities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT