Twins' New Britain farm team gets new stadium

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 5, 2014 - 12:21 AM

The Twins were not consulted about the plans of their Class AA affiliate, the New Britain Rock Cats, to move into a $60 million stadium in Hartford, Conn., for the 2016 season, a deal announced in the state’s capital Wednesday. But Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said the Twins understand why owner Josh Solomon is making the move, and will likely support him.

“They’ve got a pretty good opportunity, it sounds like,” Antony said of the Rock Cats’ agreement, according to the Hartford Courant, to pay annual rent of $500,000 in the new ballpark, located about 15 miles east of their current suburban home. “They’ve had some battles in New Britain that they haven’t been able to resolve. Give them credit, they want to keep the team in Connecticut.”

Will the Twins, who have been affiliated with New Britain since 1995, go with them? It’s too soon to say; Minnesota’s two-year player development contract expires at the end of the season, and Antony said negotiations have not begun on an extension yet. It’s conceivable that a team with a new stadium, especially one located 100 miles from Boston and 125 from New York, might attempt to lure a more popular major league club. New Britain’s souvenir stands still sell “New Britain Red Sox” T-shirts, after all, since the team was affiliated with Boston from 1973-95.

Pelfrey’s slow progress

Mike Pelfrey underwent an MRI on his pitching elbow Monday, met with Twins doctors Tuesday, and will travel to Pensacola, Fla., next Monday to be examined by Dr. James Andrews, the surgeon who replaced the ligament in his pitching elbow two years ago. The Twins won’t make any decisions or announcements about the righthander’s prognosis until then, Antony said.

But he hinted that Pelfrey’s problem might be more serious than the Twins had thought.

“He has something going on with that elbow,” Antony said. “We’ve got him on anti-inflammatory [medications], but I think there’s more to it than that, and the doctors do as well.”

Antony said Pelfrey has experienced tingling in his fingers since spring training, “but he didn’t say anything about it. He didn’t think it was a big deal, because he said he had that [tingling] before he had Tommy John [surgery].” When he mentioned the tingling to an athletic trainer, “we said come up [to Minnesota] right away,” Antony said. “We were hoping it was inflammation and irritation on the UCL [ligament], but I think they’re exploring to see if it’s something more than that.”

Etc.

• Outfielder Sam Fuld will take early batting practice Thursday, then head to the airport, assuming his concussion symptoms don’t reoccur. Fuld, on the concussion list since May 8, will join New Britain in Binghampton, N.Y., and begin his rehab stint Saturday. “The best thing about him is, he’s finally got a smile on his face,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. Given the Twins’ shortage of center fielders, was any thought given to simply activating Fuld in the majors? “No chance. It’s not fair to him,” Gardenhire said. “He needs to see live pitching.”

• Gardenhire said the Twins’ front office intends to discuss whether Danny Santana, their highly rated shortstop prospect now playing center field, might make the position change permanent. But the manager pointed out that the Twins already have a top prospect penciled in for the position in another year or two: Byron Buxton.

“Down the road, I think we all know what we’ve got coming,” Gardenhire said. “What’s long-term for [Santana], we’ll have to discuss that. Right now, he’s in the big leagues and he’s doing fine.”

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