“It’s interesting, we’re sitting here at 20-11 and 8-10. I never … I really felt good that we’d at least have a winning record in the Big Ten, and we didn’t,” the Gophers coach said. “We’re 2-2 in the last four games. If we can pick it up and play well in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament and set the tone for us and feel good about ourselves, then I think we can go deep in the Big Ten tournament.”
• Rob Moor, CEO of the Timberwolves, said the club is definitely going to make every effort to sign center Nikola Pekovic, who is a free agent, even though his salary might jump from $4 million to as much as $10 million. … On another subject, Moor said that current President of Basketball Operations David Kahn is not signed for next year, but the club has an option on his services for the 2013-14 season.
• The United States defeated Canada 9-4 in the World Baseball Classic on Sunday, eliminating Canada from the competition. Twins stars Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer and Glen Perkins all played key roles. Both Morneau and Mauer went 2-for-4 and scored a run. Perkins pitched one inning of relief and gave up one run. Morneau hit .636 in three games for Canada.
• De Vries is a big supporter of new Twins bullpen coach Bobby Cuellar. “I love Bobby, I worked with him the last couple of years in Triple-A,” said De Vries, the former Gophers pitcher from Eden Prairie. “I think he’s a great guy. I think he knows a lot about pitching and is going to be a real asset to the team and the organization this year.” … According to Baseball America, the Twins have six of the top 100 prospects in all of baseball: They are third baseman Miguel Sano (No. 9); outfielders Byron Buxton (10), Oswaldo Arcia (41) and Aaron Hicks (72); and pitchers Alex Meyer (59) and Kyle Gibson (68).
• Approximately 1,000 tickets remain available for the Twins season opener with the Detroit Tigers at Target Field. Justin Verlander is expected to pitch for the defending American League champions. … Despite a decline in attendance, the Twins paid more than $15 million in sales and use taxes in 2012. The team has paid more than $51 million in sales and entertainment tax to the state of Minnesota, Hennepin County and the city of Minneapolis over the first three seasons at Target Field.
• Look for the Twins to honor the great Mariano Rivera, who announced that this is his last season, when the legendary closer and the Yankees visit over the 4th of July.
• Former Twins player, manager and broadcaster Frank Quilici will be honored in his hometown September 18 when he is inducted into the Chicago Sports Hall of Fame.
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