Questions aplenty, answers few for Twins

The Twins began their Winter Caravan with inquisitive fans wanting information that the manager simply didn't have.

OWATONNA, MINN. - One fan asked about the Twins' situation in center field. Another wanted to know about the shape of the rotation.

Fan after fan posed questions Monday to manager Ron Gardenhire that touched on potential 2013 trouble spots at a packed Owatonna restaurant during the first day of the team's annual Winter Caravan.

The trouble was, Gardenhire had a tough time coming up with definitive answers for all those questions.

"I know that's going to happen," Gardenhire said. "I know questions are going to be about center field, about the pitching and all those things."

He paused before adding: "The crazy thing about it right now is there's not a lot of answers. We have some people who are qualified to get us there. We have to wait to spring training to see what they can do."

Gardenhire -- with new bench coach Terry Steinbach, infielder Brian Dozier, television announcer Dick Bremer and mascot TC Bear -- began the day at K-TWIN (96.3-FM) studios in Minneapolis and Northfield Middle School before hitting up the lunchtime crowd at Plaza Morena Campestre Grill in Owatonna. From there, the group finished the day at the Kato Ballroom in Mankato.

The caravan is supposed to fuel Twins fever before the team takes off to Florida for spring training next month. The fan base, however, might be looking for chicken soup for their baseball souls after enduring 195 losses during the two previous seasons, and an offseason without a high-impact free-agent signing or blockbuster trade to provide immediate help.

The Twins did trade outfielders Denard Span and Ben Revere for three pitchers, two of whom are expected to begin this season in the minors. Gardenhire told the audience it didn't feel good to see Span and Revere leave, but the Twins had to do something to get pitching for the future.

He then said Aaron Hicks, Darin Mastroianni and Joe Benson are in the mix to start in center field.

Gardenhire said he has received assurances from General Manager Terry Ryan that he can bring Hicks, the 2008 first-round draft pick who hasn't played above Class AA, north with the club if he earns the job this spring.

The Twins spent the offseason collecting pitchers. But none of the club-record 34 pitchers coming to camp are considered to be a frontline starter. And Gardenhire revealed that Nick Blackburn is injured and out of the derby for a rotation spot. The righthander will have surgery Wednesday on his right wrist and will spend around six weeks in a cast.

There still are free-agent pitchers available, but the Twins have not been linked to them.

"I don't believe [we'll add someone else] but that is not to say [Ryan] won't if some people we can sign fall into our laps," Gardenhire said. "I wouldn't doubt that we would take a run at them if that happened."

Dozier -- who wasn't called up in September despite playing 84 games for the 2012 Twins before getting sent back to the minors Aug. 15 -- talked about spending a month in Venezuela, playing both shortstop and second base.

That's another issue, by the way. The Twins don't know who will man the key middle infield spots.

"I now feel comfortable at either position," Dozier said.

Steinbach's children are in college, so he is fleeing his empty nest to be Gardenhire's bench coach. He also will help catchers with calling games.

Steinbach told a story about how, after a good night at the plate with Oakland his rookie year, he was berated by Athletics manager Tony La Russa for calling a poor game.

"It was a good training situation," Steinbach said. "There is more to catching than swinging the bat."

Gardenhire erupted when he heard that.

"I can't wait for you to call Joe [Mauer] in my office and rip him!" Gardenhire said. "Joe is 5-for-5 and you call him in and say, 'You stunk tonight.' I've got something to look forward to!"

There was plenty of humor on the first day of caravan, but Gardenhire, in the final year of his contract, also talked about pitchers throwing deeper into games, fewer mistakes in the field and more wins.

Some of the offseason moves were clearly made with the future in mind. Nevertheless, Gardenhire will travel the region during the caravan trying to convince fans that the team will be better this season.

"I do have to assure them that we will put forth a good effort to get back to our winning ways," Gardenhire said, "and I want them to understand that Terry has made a lot of moves this winter and is pushing hard for us to not wait until 2014. It's now.

"People expect it now. We're in a new ballpark, and they want to win now. That is my job, to get them back there in the hunt."

  • related content

  • Wrist surgery sidelines Blackburn for six weeks

    Monday January 14, 2013

    Nick Blackburn will have surgery at the Mayo Clinic on Wednesday to repair a ligament in his right wrist and is expected to miss the beginning of the season.

  • Key Twins dates

    Monday January 14, 2013

    Jan. 25-27: TwinsFest, Metrodome

  • Ron Gardenhire

  • The Minnesota Twins Kicked off their 53rd annual Winter Caravan on M...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 98
Boston 88 FINAL
Washington 101
Orlando 102 FINAL
Charlotte 94
Memphis 103 FINAL
Miami 95
Indiana 110 FINAL
Brooklyn 85
New Orleans 100 FINAL
Chicago 107
Atlanta 90 FINAL
Milwaukee 85
Philadelphia 71 FINAL
Utah 88
New York 81 4th Qtr 11:23
Sacramento 91
Minnesota 48 3rd Qtr
Golden State 58
NY Islanders 3 FINAL(SO)
Buffalo 4
Detroit 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
New Jersey 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 3
Boston 2 FINAL
Columbus 6
Winnipeg 4 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 3
Washington 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Dallas 4 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Nashville 4
Anaheim 1 FINAL(SO)
Arizona 2
Chicago 5 FINAL
Colorado 2
Edmonton 0 3rd Prd
Calgary 3
San Jose 1 3rd Prd
Los Angeles 2
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
UAB 58 FINAL
North Carolina 89
IUPUI 55 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Santa Clara 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 73
Oakland 56 FINAL
Maryland 72
Gonzaga 87 FINAL
BYU 80
Mercer 77 FINAL
Georgia 86
San Francisco 77 FINAL
Pacific 71
Wright State 55 FINAL
Ohio State 100
Presbyterian 65 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Brescia 42 FINAL
Western Ky 89
Tennessee St 46 FINAL
Tennessee 67
Kennesaw St 45 FINAL
Illinois 93
Colorado State 58 FINAL
New Mexico St 57
Portland 61 FINAL
San Diego 58
Wayland Baptist 63 FINAL
Utah State 75
Bristol University 59 FINAL
Weber State 109
Sacramento St 74 FINAL
Utah Valley U 49
Southern Utah 45 2nd Half 0:20
UNLV 79
SD Christian 50 FINAL
San Diego St 72
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 4th Qtr 2:00
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
UCF 64 FINAL
Houston 50
BYU 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 78
Pacific 92 FINAL
San Francisco 54
St Marys-CA 62 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
San Diego 87 FINAL
Portland 65
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: Do you like the Twins' offseason moves so far?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close