Hunter reportedly turned down $45 million

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 3, 2007 - 11:50 PM

Before Torii Hunter announced that he would wait until season's end to negotiate a new contract, he had discussions with the Twins that quickly hit a roadblock.

Before Torii Hunter announced that he would wait until season's end to negotiate a new contract, he had discussions with the Twins that quickly hit a roadblock.

A person familiar with the discussions said Monday that the Twins made Hunter an offer late last month -- for three years and $45 million.

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan declined to comment, but with Hunter less than a month from free agency, the sides appear far from an agreement.

Hunter, 32, is believed to be seeking a five-year, $70 million deal, similar to the one J.D. Drew signed with Boston last winter.

Hunter, who is making $12 million this year, has won six consecutive Gold Glove awards. After hitting 31 home runs last season, he is batting .291 with 27 homers and 96 RBI.

The Twins apparently made their three-year offer Aug. 24. The next morning, Fox television reported that Hunter had turned down what was believed to be a four-year deal worth about $14 million per season.

That day in Baltimore, Hunter told the Star Tribune the Twins "didn't offer me nothing like that" and said he'd wait until season's end to negotiate to keep from becoming a distraction.

He skipped last Thursday's groundbreaking ceremony for the new stadium, citing his uncertain future with the team.

Surgery for Reyes?

Dennys Reyes shut down a throwing session after experiencing more pain in his left elbow, and today the Twins will help the reliever get a second opinion from Los Angeles Angels orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum.

Reyes, 30, said he has a slight tear of his triceps muscle and some bone chips. Yocum performed Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery on Twins lefthander Francisco Liriano, among others.

"I know what I have, but I want to know how I can get this fixed," Reyes said. "I've never had surgery before, so I don't know."

Reyes has posted a 3.99 ERA in 50 appearances, and he said he felt "a little let down" after testing the elbow Sunday.

"I was hoping to be able to throw this season," Reyes said, adding that his priority is being 100 percent healthy for next year.

Blackburn debuts

After arriving from Class AAA Rochester on Sunday, Nick Blackburn needed just six pitches to get through a full inning in his major league debut.

Blackburn, 25, gave up a leadoff single to Kenny Lofton but got Asdrubal Cabrera to ground into a double play before Hunter made a sprawling catch in the left-center field gap to end the Cleveland ninth.

Blackburn went 7-3 with a 2.11 ERA in 17 starts for Rochester, but with the Twins' bevy of starting pitching prospects and some health issues in the bullpen, his future might be as a reliever.

The Twins put Blackburn's locker right next to Joe Mauer's, which is amusing because the two look strikingly similar. Blackburn is 6-4, Mauer is 6-5 and both have short, dark hair with prominent sideburns.

"He's a good-looking guy, isn't he?" Mauer said, smiling.

Etc.

Lew Ford was recalled from Rochester and is expected to rejoin the Twins today. He's been out since Friday, when he fouled a ball off his right foot. Ryan said the veteran outfielder is day-to-day.

Glen Perkins (strained left shoulder) will play catch today, and if he experiences any pain, he could be shut down for the season. Perkins said he's not sure what to expect.

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