After another one-run loss, a winter of fixes for the Twins

After another last-place finish, the Twins will start addressing their weaknesses. And there are many.


Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Omar Vizquel

Photo: Nathan Denette, Associated Press

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TORONTO - As the game between the Oakland Athletics and the Texas Rangers played on televisions in the visitors' clubhouse Wednesday, Twins players looked ahead -- despite the fact they had one more game to play in their season.

"Everyone has to get better at certain things," outfielder Denard Span said.

There were pitching problems, fielding problems, pitching problems, offensive droughts -- and more pitching problems. The Twins never spent a day at .500 and were 10 games out of first place by mid-May.

Wednesday, they ended the season the way it began -- by getting swept in a series, as Toronto edged them 2-1. The Twins lost three one-run games to the Blue Jays and finished 66-96 -- the first time they have had consecutive seasons of at least 96 losses. The season began with a road sweep by another AL East team, the Orioles.

After the loss, Twins players dressed quickly and filled out declaration forms to return to the United States. And there were vows to make the season last longer next year.

"A heck of a year by a few guys," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "[Joe] Mauer had a good year and [Josh] Willingham and guys like that. Plouffey [Trevor Plouffe] hit some home runs, Some good things happened but, as I told the guys in there, not enough good things.

"You keep working at it. Go home this winter and keep working on what we all need to improve on, the little things that each player is going to look back on and think about. We'll be better and get back to where we need to be. It's a long process, but it doesn't have to be a long process."

The Twins' busy offseason starts early Thursday morning, when General Manager Terry Ryan will hold the first of several meetings with members of the coaching staff.

After two last-place finishes in the AL Central, changes could be coming to the staff. The organization thinks highly of Class AAA Rochester manager Gene Glynn and hitting coach Tom Brunansky and might decide to mix in a couple of new perspectives to the big-league team.

Ryan is scheduled to join owner Jim Pohlad and President Dave St. Peter on Friday for media sessions. There's a chance that he will officially take the interim tag off his GM title and announce his commitment to turning things around, after replacing Bill Smith in the role a year ago.

"As soon as that is finalized, you will be the first to know," Ryan said.

Ryan acknowledged that the roster needs more than just tweaking. In addition to starting pitching, the Twins are unsure what their starting middle infield combination will be next season. If they trade Span for starting pitching, their range in the outfield will be affected negatively.

And the Twins aren't settled on Plouffe at third base. He belted 24 homers but batted .236 and wasn't consistent in the field.

"He's a work in progress," Ryan said.

The Twins have some quality players, but they also have many holes to fill. After watching them lose 96 games, everyone knows that.

What's unknown is how they will go about augmenting the roster to go with what is expected to be an altered coaching staff.

Mauer, heading into an offseason in which he doesn't have to worry about recovering from an injury or illness, said he believes that the Twins just need a few moves to turn things around.

"I think they have the right man for the job," Mauer said of Ryan. "He's been there and done it. He's put together some really good teams here in the past. I think they have the right man in charge."

Ryan was asked if the team was better off than it was a year ago.

"No," he said flatly. "We're in the same spot, last place. Just like we were last year. That's not good."

And that will likely lead to some new faces.

"We'll just see how the winter goes," said Gardenhire, who is expected to return as manager, "and go from there."


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MinnesotaK. Gibson (11-10)000
BaltimoreC. Tillman (11-5)000
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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 5 Top 7th Inning
St. Louis 1
Cincinnati 0 Top 1st Inning
Pittsburgh 0
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
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
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
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 6 2nd Qtr 4:03
Massachusetts 0
West Virginia 3 1st Qtr 3:47
(2) Alabama 3
Rice 0 1st Qtr 3:50
(17) Notre Dame 7
(10) South Dakota St 7 1st Qtr 6:15
(24) Missouri 21
Fla Atlantic 7 1st Qtr 4:15
(22) Nebraska 7
California 7 1st Qtr 1:00
Northwestern 0
Marshall 7 1st Qtr 4:20
Miami-Ohio 0
UC Davis 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 0 1st Qtr 12:30
(6) Auburn 0
(16) Clemson 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
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
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
(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
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
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
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
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
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
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
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
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(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
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
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
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
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(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
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
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 1st Half 44:55
Seattle 0
New England 4:00 PM
Toronto FC
Columbus 6:30 PM
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
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
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Chicago 6:00 PM
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