Jim Souhan: Torii Hunter talks of retirement and more

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 3, 2011 - 1:42 AM

The former Twins outfielder spoke about his future, retiring as an Angel or even a Twin, and the lack of warmth of GM Bill Smith.

hide

From left, Angels left fielder Vernon Wells, center fielder Peter Bourjos and right fielder Torii Hunter waited for a pitching change against the Twins on Friday.

ANAHEIM, CALIF. — Torii Hunter said he's considering retiring after the end of the 2012 season.

In an exclusive interview Friday, the Angels outfielder and former Twins star revealed that injuries and an early season slump led him to contemplate his future and that if he didn't retire with the Angels, he'd consider finishing his career in Minnesota.

He also lamented the nature of his departure from the Twins, discussed the importance of playing through injuries hours before Joe Mauer bailed out of the Twins lineup because of a cold, said Michael Cuddyer's contract situation reminds him of his unproductive negotiations with Twins GM Bill Smith, and described Twins management as having a ''small mind."

''I am going to retire an Angel," he said. ''Next year is my last year, and I'm going to retire an Angel. I'm going to evaluate it this offseason. That's when I'll know. It's 60-40, to the positive, that I'll keep playing."

Early this season, Hunter, 36, slumped while playing despite a quadriceps injury.

''I feel good now, but I was hurt the first two months, and I was just evaluating everything, like, man, I can't move," Hunter said. ''And then it just went away, and now I feel good, so now I'm on the positive side again.

''You don't want to see your skills diminish. You don't want to linger."

Hours after Hunter discussed the importance of playing with pain, Mauer begged out of the Twins lineup because of a cold. Hunter was not referring specifically to Mauer when he discussed the subject.

''I always tell people, I'm old school," Hunter said. ''I have an old soul. I play hard no matter what. I play hurt no matter what. I feel if I'm out there my presence will help my team. I didn't put up great numbers, but at least I was in there ...

''I wanted to be the guy who stayed in the lineup. Because I know how to play hurt. Now I'm healthy and able to help my squad, and we're making a push."

Hunter was a homegrown star and popular Twins outfielder when he left the Twins in free agency after the 2007 season. Cuddyer finds himself in an almost identical situation.

Hunter said he would have stayed with the Twins had he been offered a four- or five-year deal. Smith offered three. Recently, the Twins offered Cuddyer a two-year contract worth $16 million, even though Cuddyer is making $10.5 million this season and has been the Twins' best player.

Hunter said the Twins made an offer to him ''just to show people that I turned it down, to make me look bad. Same thing here. Cuddyer is going to make less, as a free agent? I told him before, 'They'll make an offer and people will say, 'You turned down the money, you could have stayed, you're money-hungry.' "

Hunter described Smith as cold.

''He had no heart, no compassion, no nothing," Hunter said. ''Because he wasn't the one who brought me in. [Former GM] Terry Ryan brought me in. Terry Ryan was my dad, my guy. When Bill Smith took over and we had a conversation, I wasn't feeling it. There was no chemistry, nothing between us. It was like I had never played with the Twins."

Noting that the Angels traded for Mark Teixeira during a pennant race in 2008, Hunter said: ''Sometimes I think they have that small mind over there, in that organization. I just feel they never went and got that big piece. Shannon Stewart worked out just fine for us [in 2003], he helped us out a lot, but getting Teixeira, that's big."

Hunter has been embraced by the Angels and their fan base.

''The Angels have been great to me," Hunter said. ''I love the Twins, love the fans, love Minnesota, but the Angels adopted me and I have nothing but positive things to say about this organization.

''So if I sign an extension, they'll get first dibs. I want to retire an Angel. If I can't, then why not Minnesota?"

Considering Mauer's softness, Hunter's relationship with Smith and the Twins' implosion, the better question might be, ''Why?"

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and weekdays at 2:40 p.m. on 1500ESPN. His Twitter name is SouhanStrib. • jsouhan@startribune.com

  • TWINS 13, L.A. ANGELS 5

    Up next: 8:05 tonight at L.A.

    Angels • TV: FSN (1500ESPN)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
7:05 PM ET123456789RHE
MinnesotaK. Gibson (11-10)000
BaltimoreC. Tillman (11-5)000
@theBallpark
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati 1 Top 7th Inning
Pittsburgh 3
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Miami - J. Cosart 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Boston - A. Webster 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cleveland - T. Bauer 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Detroit - K. Ryan 6:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt
Texas - R. Ross Jr. 6:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Colorado - T. Matzek 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Gonzales
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 27 4th Qtr 8:54
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 17 3rd Qtr 12:58
(2) Alabama 20
Rice 10 3rd Qtr 10:02
(17) Notre Dame 28
(10) South Dakota St 18 3rd Qtr 9:25
(24) Missouri 28
Fla Atlantic 7 3rd Qtr
(22) Nebraska 31
California 31 3rd Qtr 8:09
Northwestern 7
Marshall 28 3rd Qtr 12:53
Miami-Ohio 3
UC Davis 0 3rd Qtr
(11) Stanford 38
Arkansas 21 3rd Qtr
(6) Auburn 21
(16) Clemson 0 1st Qtr 12:11
(12) Georgia 0
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 2nd Half 20:00
Seattle 1
New England 2 1st Half 20:00
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 6:30 PM
Montreal
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Chicago
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 6:00 PM
Indiana
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close