Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Someone break the news: Mastroianni's on the team

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: March 31, 2013 - 8:38 PM

Darin Mastroianni's parents did the math, even if their wary son didn't trust it. When the Twins made their final cuts on Friday, Paul and Bonnie Mastroianni called "and they were like, 'Congratulations!' " the Twins' outfielder said. "But I was like, 'Well, no one's told me yet!' "

He boarded the Twins' plane to Minneapolis after Saturday's game in Fort Myers, and nobody stopped him. So even the skeptical Mastroianni is starting to believe he might be a member of this team.

"I looked around, and there were 25 guys [on the flight], and I was one of them. I never made it past the first round of cuts in spring training before, so it's a great feeling," the 27-year-old Mastroianni said. "But I was still kind of waiting to get called into [Ron Gardenhire's] office [and told], 'Hey, you made the team, congratulations.' I never thought I was guaranteed a spot, and I tried never to take anything for granted. But maybe I was just going to be one of the outfielders. It's surreal."

It's also quite an accomplishment, one that Mastroianni admits he never really believed he could achieve when he was drafted by Toronto in the 16th round in 2007. "It's something I've had as a goal my entire life. I set it, but I never imagined actually accomplishing it," he said Sunday after moving into his Target Field locker. "Now I've got two things left I want to accomplish -- play in the playoffs, and stay here all year. Hopefully, we can bang out all three of these this year."

Mastroianni said he noticed a different attitude almost immediately after the final out of the Twins' final exhibition game Saturday against the Red Sox.

"It's like we flipped a switch. Once that game was over [against] Boston, you could kind of feel it in the clubhouse, and you could feel it on the way to the airport, and on the plane," Mastroianni said. "When we touched down here last night, it was, 'All right, it's time to rock and roll. Fun and games are over, spring training is done. It's time to flip the switch.' We're going to have [Justin] Verlander on the mound against us, we've got Vance [Worley] going, and we're looking forward to a great season."
 

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