Hunter can only wait and wonder

CLEVELAND - With their playoff hopes fading and Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline approaching, a few Twins players are wondering if they are going to be traded.

That includes Torii Hunter, a potentially big catch for a team if General Manager Terry Ryan decides to build for 2008 and beyond because of the latest losing skid.

Hunter, who is making $12 million this season, wants to re-sign with the team, but there have been no discussions between the Twins and Hunter's agent, Larry Reynolds, since early April. The Twins have a five-game losing streak, and their chances of reaching the playoffs are dwindling. So Hunter, even though he doesn't like it, has prepared himself for a trade.

"There's nothing to stress about," he said. "If they think we're out of it and me being a free agent, possibly, and they don't want to sign me, then it's actually good.

"There's other teams that want you. It's not that the Twins don't want me, but it's smart for them to do that."

Hunter has a limited no-trade clause in his contract enabling him to list five teams he can't be dealt to. Those teams are the Red Sox, Cubs, Tigers, Devil Rays and Blue Jays.

If traded, Hunter said he would be willing to work out a long-term deal with that team if he likes the situation.

"It depends on what team it is," Hunter said. "Who they are. Where they are right now and where they are going to be in the future. If we're not talking here, I'll talk to someone else, I guess."

It's still a tough time for Hunter, who recently sat down with manager Ron Gardenhire to discuss his future and other team issues.

Gardenhire knows Hunter and other Twins are worried about being traded. Second baseman Luis Castillo, reliever Juan Rincon and outfielder Lew Ford and others are also potential candidates to be traded.

"Just staying in touch is what I try to do around here right now," Gardenhire said. "I make sure I'm out in the clubhouse. As I explained to them, there's nothing you can do about it if it's going to happen."

Ryan might deal

Ryan, while making his weekly appearance on Chad Hartman's show on KFAN radio, said there's a good chance he might swing a deal before Tuesday's 3 p.m. deadline.

"I would think so," Ryan said. "I don't know why we wouldn't. There isn't anything right now I can say that is imminent. I don't know why we wouldn't in the next couple of days, unless everything breaks down."

Ryan said he would like to fill needs for the present and future but admitted those types of deals are hard to pull off.

"I'm going to go about this for a couple days and if something makes sense we are going to pursue it," he said.

Lofton back with Indians

Old Twins nemesis Kenny Lofton was traded from Texas to the Indians on Friday and, to no one's surprise, bunted for a base hit during the Indians' six-run third inning.

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