ANAHEIM, CALIF. - Torii Hunter is in the final year of his five-year, $90 million contract with the Angels. He likes Orange County and hopes to keep playing here, but asked Wednesday if he's open to returning to the Twins next year he said, "Always. That's my home."
"If it comes down to that -- if we don't get anything done with the Angels, and they don't need me here or whatever -- then yes, it's something I would consider," Hunter said. "It's as simple as that."
Hunter, 36, entered Wednesday batting .310 with four homers and 14 RBI. This is his third season playing right field for the Angels. The Twins have left fielder Josh Willingham and center fielder Denard Span under contract through 2014, and some of their best prospects are outfielders, including Ben Revere, Joe Benson, Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Arcia, so it's uncertain if they would make a strong push to re-sign Hunter.
But he certainly has his place in their history. A first-round draft pick in 1993, he played parts of 11 seasons for the Twins, batting .271 with 192 home runs and winning Gold Glove Awards in center field every year from 2001 to '07.
These days, the Twins can't seem to get Hunter out. He has a 13-game hitting streak against his former team and had four RBI hits in the first two games of this week's series, including two home runs. When the Angels threatened in the fifth inning Tuesday, the Twins pitched to Albert Pujols with an open base before intentionally walking Hunter -- now that's respect.
Giving the wrist a rest
Justin Morneau was back in uniform Wednesday after returning from Minnesota to have his wrist examined, but he's not expected to swing a bat until at least Friday.
Morneau said his MRI exam showed no structural damage but did show tendinitis and some fluid. Dr. Thomas Varecka, who performed surgery to stabilize a tendon in the wrist last October, told Morneau this is a normal part of the healing process. The sheath that stabilizes the tendon typically goes through an adjustment period a few months after the surgery.
"He's not sure exactly how long it'll be until it's better," Moreau said. "It just needs to get to the point where it's tolerable and not something that lingers. We've been doing a lot of treatment, just trying to get that swelling out of there. That's the biggest thing that's causing the pain. Once we get that under control, hopefully we'll be able to manage it by limiting the number of swings."
Valencia has stiff back
Danny Valencia's back stiffened up during Tuesday's game, so he didn't start Wednesday's game against Jered Weaver. Valencia was 3-for-12 with two career homers off Weaver, so he tried talking his way into the lineup, but the Twins hoped to use Thursday's day off to give him a two-day rest going into the Seattle series.
"We gave him some Weaveritis medicine, and he should be fine," manager Ron Gardenhire joked.
Since Sean Burroughs was designated for assignment Wednesday, the Twins had Trevor Plouffe start at third base. Plouffe never had played that position in the majors, but he did play 76 games at third in the minors."