BOSTON - The Twins are so determined to bolster their lineup for next season, there were indications Thursday they would even consider signing Barry Bonds.
The San Francisco Giants have announced they will part ways with Bonds at season's end. The all-time home run leader wants to play next year, but soon he'll be a free agent looking for a job.
The chances of Bonds signing a free-agent contract in Minnesota are still remote, but the market could be limited. Bonds, 43, has battled knee problems, and most expect him to sign with an American League team so he can be a full-time designated hitter.
Several AL teams already are set at DH. The Red Sox have David Ortiz, the Yankees have Jason Giambi, the White Sox have Jim Thome, the Indians have Travis Hafner, and the Blue Jays have Frank Thomas.
The Twins can't speak about Bonds right now without tampering, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire left some strong hints Thursday when asked about the team's DH wishes for 2008.
One perception is the Twins need a DH who can also play solid defense in a pinch. On the days Joe Mauer needs a break from catching, for example.
So a classic DH, in the Ortiz mold, might not work, right?
"I guarantee we would find a way," Gardenhire said, laughing. "We had [Ortiz] once. I'm not tampering. I'm just saying: I would find a way."
The Twins entered Thursday ranked 25th in the majors with 704 runs scored. With eight home runs from the DH spot, they were tied for last among AL teams with Seattle. Minnesota's on-base-plus-slugging percentage from the DH spot, .738, ranked 12th in the AL.
"If we go out and find a DH who is just a DH, that would be fine," Gardenhire said. "What Mauer needs, on his days away from catching, is to sit on the bench and relax.
"Everybody keeps saying he's hurting his legs squatting. Maybe that takes its toll, but every time he's hurt himself, it's been on the bases."
Gardenhire was then asked, hypothetically, what he thought about getting a DH who hits more home runs than anybody but doesn't have the greatest clubhouse reputation.
"Hypothetically, I think we could try to make just about anything work," he said. "I think if people come here and get with our system, I think they'd enjoy it."
Seriously, though, Bonds? Indications around the Twins are, yes. Maybe they'll never get him, but that's how serious they are about scoring more in 2008.
Meet the Monster
Jason Kubel had never played at Fenway Park until Thursday, when he started in left field, patrolling the famous Green Monster.
Kubel was with the Twins last season when they visited Boston, but his knees were too sore to play.
"I imagine it's going to be like playing in Yankee Stadium, with all the history," he said.
|Tampa Bay - LP: J. Odorizzi||2||FINAL|
|Boston - WP: J. Lester||6|
|William & Mary||74||FINAL|
|North Dakota St||83|
|South Dakota St||60||FINAL|
|San Francisco||75||1st OT 0:15|
|South Dakota St||58|
|San Jose St||75||FINAL|
|(5) West Virginia||71||FINAL|
|San Diego State||63|