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.

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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."

  • TORONTO 2, TWINS 1

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Boston 0 Top 9th Inning
Pittsburgh 4
Toronto 2 Top 9th Inning
Baltimore 8
Washington - WP: T. Roark 3 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: B. Colon 9
NY Yankees 1 Bottom 7th Inning
Tampa Bay 3
Cincinnati 0 Bottom 7th Inning
Chicago Cubs 6
Chicago WSox 4 Bottom 4th Inning
Kansas City 3
Cleveland 2 Top 6th Inning
Houston 1
Detroit 0 Bottom 7th Inning
Minnesota 2
Milwaukee 1 Bottom 6th Inning
St. Louis 2
Los Angeles 0 Top 6th Inning
Colorado 5
San Francisco 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Arizona 0
Seattle - R. Elias 9:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Texas - N. Tepesch 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Kazmir
Philadelphia - A. Burnett 9:10 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
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