Hartman: Gardenhire stresses back to basics for Twins

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 24, 2013 - 11:39 PM

After 195 losses in two seasons, the Twins manager will stress defense and aggressiveness in spring training.

This is a big week for Twins baseball, with the team's Diamond Awards gala Thursday night and TwinsFest running Friday through Sunday at the Metrodome. So it's a good time to recount a recent conversation with manager Ron Gardenhire, who hasn't been available to the media much this offseason.

"Yeah, we've had a couple of tough years [63-99 in 2011 and 66-96 last season] where some injuries got us and the pitching last year, but we really didn't play good baseball," Gardenhire said. "I take a lot of pride in that for our baseball team, and we didn't catch the ball very well and we didn't do a lot of things that we have to do a lot better.

"But we still have to ... get back to playing the way we play, and that's kind of taking it to the other team and getting after them a lot better. That's what I have to instill in spring training, that we're going to be back to aggressive baseball and catching the ball and doing things right."

Gardenhire credited Twins General Manager Terry Ryan for adding some pitching depth and creating competition in an area where the team badly needs improvement.

Gardenhire said he won't know a lot about the ability of the pitching additions, such as Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey, Rich Harden and Vance Worley, until he sees them in spring training. But he is happy that the Twins already have some established relievers in Glen Perkins and Jared Burton.

"We've got some arms and have signed some people that can come in and get some people out," Gardenhire said. "We like the two guys at the end -- Burton and Perkins threw really well back there -- but you have to protect them and you can't beat them up too much. That means a lot of guys have to help you get to them.

"That means the starters. The more innings the starters take care of, that really saves your bullpen and you can maintain a strong bullpen. But it's going to be up to our starters to get us into the second half of the ballgame and then we can protect the bullpen and use them right."

Replacements needed

Gardenhire has to find some replacements for recently traded outfielders Denard Span and Ben Revere. They were dealt to Washington and Philadelphia, respectively, for pitching help.

"To get good players you have to make some trades, and unfortunately we had to use some of our center fielders," Gardenhire said.

"Guys like [Aaron] Hicks are going to get their opportunity, [Darin] Mastroianni is out there, [Joe] Benson is out there. We've got some talented, talented people; now we just have to make them find the right fit out there. We're lucky in this organization that we have some depth out there."

Justin Morneau is set at first base, but the rest of the starting infield is a work in progress.

"I think third [base] is going to be Trevor Plouffe," Gardenhire said. "He better take over that job and run with it. He hit some home runs [24], and I think he had one of those years where now we have to see what he can do for a full year. He has to catch the ball better, and we've talked a lot about that.

" ... We're going to get some competition in there, but I expect him to run with that job. In the middle we have some pretty good players, we just have to find the right combo up the middle to make it work."

Asked to name one young player who might light it up in spring training, make the team and give the Twins something they lacked last season, Gardenhire mentioned 2012 Twins Minor League Player of the Year Oswaldo Arcia. He hit .328 with 10 homers and 67 RBI as an outfielder at Class AA New Britain last season.

"The one guy that I've liked all along is Arcia," Gardenhire said. "I've watched this young man swing the bat, the kid from Venezuela, he can flat out swing it. He grabs the bat. I really like the way he approaches it. I think he's really going to be a good hitter. He's been one of my favorites to watch down there when we bring him over and let him take some swings for us [at spring training]."

U academic prowess

University of Minnesota athletes continue to do great in the classroom. Twenty-two of the 25 men's and women's teams at the university finished with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better in the fall semester.

The football team, for the second consecutive year, reached 3.0, as did the men's and women's hockey teams and the men's and women's track squads. The Gophers baseball team had a 3.11 GPA.

Thirty-one men and women student-athletes at Minnesota achieved a perfect 4.0 GPA or better.

The improvement in grades has been amazing since Lynn Holleran took over the academics for the athletic department. The Gophers rank academically with the best in the Big Ten.

Jottings

• Trent Lockett, the former Hopkins and Arizona State basketball standout, has started 16 of 17 games for Marquette this season. Lockett is averaging 6.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 25.8 minutes per game.

• Former Gopher basketball player Colton Iverson continues to play tremendously for Colorado State. The senior forward/center leads the Rams in scoring at 14.5 points per game and is second on the team with 9.3 rebounds per game.

• Another Gophers transfer, junior guard Justin Cobbs, is second in scoring for the University of California Golden Bears at 14.8 points per game, and he leads the team in assists at 4.1 per game.

• Deephaven native and former Wisconsin Badger Jake Gardiner is close to returning to the Toronto Maple Leafs after suffering a concussion while playing during the NHL lockout. Gardiner was a standout high school player at Minnetonka.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 7:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 7:30 PM
Houston
Milwaukee 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
Golden State
Florida 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Colorado 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Carolina
Washington 6:00 PM
Columbus
Anaheim 6:30 PM
Montreal
St. Louis 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Edmonton 9:30 PM
San Jose
St Thomas (TX) 61 FINAL
Rice 72
Stony Brook 6:00 PM
Canisius
Temple 6:00 PM
Delaware
FIU 6:00 PM
Long Island
Lehigh 6:00 PM
Quinnipiac
South Alabama 6:00 PM
Richmond
Seton Hall 6:00 PM
South Florida
Ga Southern 6:00 PM
Stetson
Yale 6:00 PM
Vermont
Cleveland State 6:00 PM
Virginia
Wright State 6:00 PM
Western Carolina
Nicholls 6:30 PM
Louisiana Tech
Morgan State 6:30 PM
Rider
Idaho State 6:30 PM
South Dakota St
Oakland City 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
Eureka 7:00 PM
Bradley
Appalachian St 7:00 PM
Charlotte
Connecticut 7:00 PM
Duke
Southern Miss 7:00 PM
Jackson State
Coastal Carolina 7:00 PM
Ole Miss
Montana State 7:30 PM
South Dakota
LSU 8:00 PM
UAB
Ohio 8:05 PM
Evansville
CS-Dominguez 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Walla Walla 9:00 PM
Idaho
DePaul 9:00 PM
Oregon State
Nevada 9:00 PM
Pacific
Portland State 9:00 PM
San Francisco
CS-Bakersfield 9:05 PM
Utah State
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Niagara 76 FINAL
Cleveland State 58
High Point 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 81
Towson 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 74
Presbyterian 50 FINAL
Charlotte 66
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Bradley 59
Northwestern Coll 58 FINAL
Drake 102
Vanderbilt 67 FINAL
Marquette 80
Temple 4:00 PM
Howard
Southern Miss 4:00 PM
Ole Miss
UMBC 4:00 PM
Rider
Miami-Florida 5:00 PM
UCLA
St Mary-KS 5:00 PM
South Dakota
William & Mary 5:00 PM
Wofford
Troy 5:30 PM
Evansville
Loyola Marymount 6:00 PM
USC
St Francis-PA 6:00 PM
Duquesne
Indiana-Southeast 6:00 PM
IUPUI
Delaware State 6:00 PM
Detroit
Tenn Temple 6:00 PM
Gardner-Webb
West Virginia St 6:00 PM
Radford
Fairfield 6:00 PM
Seton Hall
Dartmouth 6:00 PM
New Hampshire
Ball State 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 6:00 PM
Tennessee St
Trine 6:00 PM
Western Mich
Tenn Tech 6:30 PM
Lipscomb
Samford 7:00 PM
Tulane
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Ark-Little Rock 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
CS-Northridge 7:30 PM
Northern Ariz
Santa Clara 8:00 PM
Oregon
(19) Oklahoma St 8:00 PM
Weber State
Washington 8:00 PM
San Diego State
Cal Poly 8:00 PM
New Mexico
(10) Louisville 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
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 Ervin Santana signing by the Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close