Hartman: Former manager Kelly finds plenty to like from Twins

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 13, 2014 - 6:49 AM

The former manager is impressed by the offense and believes Joe Mauer will hit .300 again.

Former Twins manager Tom Kelly is convinced this year’s team can compete with anybody, as long as it continues to pitch like it has recently.

The two-time World Series champion, who did television commentary on Twins home games last week, also said he is convinced that Joe Mauer, who hit .187 during a 22-game stretch recently, will break out of his recent slump and hit .300 this season.

“He got three hits [Wednesday] so let’s hope he’s on the upside here, going up,” Kelly said Thursday. “It’s hard to believe he’s not going to hit .300. He has always been that. So he has had a little rough go but getting the three hits yesterday, that certainly bodes well. Let’s hope he keeps going forward.

“I would be surprised if he doesn’t [turn it around].”

Kelly, who worked with Mauer on his first base defense this spring, was asked to evaluate the three-time batting champion’s play at his new position.

“How many errors does he have over there?” Kelly asked rhetorically, since the number is zero. “He must be doing all right then.”

On the topic of the Twins pitching, Kelly said: “I think we’re very, very competitive, especially when we pitch good. When we pitch good, I believe we can beat anybody. But that’s always the question, whether we’re going to pitch good enough, or any ballclub for a matter of fact. If you don’t pitch good you’re going to have a hard time.

“So I think that they’re certainly going to be in every ballgame that, when they pitch good, they certainly have a good chance to win. We’ll see how that goes throughout the remainder of the first half here, and then obviously into the second half. The bottom line is you have to pitch good, and when we do that we certainly can win.”

Impressed by offense

The thing that has impressed Kelly the most with manager Ron Gardenhire’s club is the offense.

“The lineup is terrific,” he said. “I would match them fellas up with just about anybody, don’t you think? That’s a pretty good lineup.”

That lineup received a big boost this week with the signing of veteran switch hitter Kendrys Morales, who after not playing all year went 6-for-13 with three doubles in the three-game series at Toronto.

“He has always been a free swinger and has a good idea what he wants to do,” Kelly said. “I always felt that he was very dangerous when he walked up there. I had a lot of respect for that fella. I think he is a pretty good hitter.”

In a season full of surprises on offense, perhaps none has been bigger than rookie Danny Santana, who is hitting .372 with five doubles, two home runs, 12 RBI, 12 runs scored and four stolen bases through 25 games. He has solidified the leadoff spot in the lineup, reaching base and scoring in the first inning of each game against the Blue Jays.

“He’s a very exciting player, and he always has been,” Kelly said. “It’s just a matter of, when he was trying to learn shortstop he was error-prone, had some throwing problems, and finishing plays made a lot of errors. This past spring I thought he improved immensely with his defense at shortstop, and he was very close to being a big-leaguer. So Gardy has him playing center field out of necessity, and he has done a good job out there for the most part. He’s learning on the job, but I think in the future he’s going to be a shortstop.”

Is that center field position a problem?

“Right now it is not, but we don’t have a true center fielder right now,” Kelly said, adding he wants to see what Gardenhire does when Sam Fuld returns from his concussion. As for Santana, Kelly said: “Santana is not hurting them out there, so I don’t know what [Gardenhire’s] going to do, but Santana has filled in really well.”

Fuld has hit .429 in his rehab assignment with Class AA New Britain and could return to the Twins on Friday.

  • related content

  • Woe is Joe: Mauer keeps the faith despite lengthy slump

    Friday June 13, 2014

    Twins star Joe Mauer seeks a turnaround from what has been a career-worst season so far. A .320 lifetime hitter, Mauer is hitting .263 to go with two home runs...

  • Series preview: Twins at Detroit

    Thursday June 12, 2014

    THREE-GAME SERIES AT COMERICA PARKFriday 6:08 p.m. • FSN, 96. 3-FMRHP Kyle Gibson (5-5, 3.91 ERA) vs. LHP Drew Smyly...

  • Chart: Tracking Joe Mauer's recent slump

    Friday June 13, 2014

    Joe Mauer's numbers in 2014

  • Former Twins manger Tom Kelly chatted with fans as the team walked to the practice fields during spring training in February.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Denver 28 4th Qtr 3:14
Cincinnati 30
Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Carolina 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Detroit 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Green Bay
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
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
Denver 82 FINAL
Charlotte 110
Portland 95 FINAL
Houston 110
Utah 97 FINAL
Memphis 91
Toronto 120 FINAL
Chicago 129
Atlanta 105 FINAL
Dallas 102
LA Clippers 118 FINAL
San Antonio 125
Sacramento 46 2nd Qtr 1:18
Golden State 60
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Washington 2
Nashville 5 FINAL
Columbus 1
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL(SO)
Florida 4
Arizona 0 2nd Prd 5:32
Vancouver 5
San Jose 0 2nd Prd 2:54
Anaheim 1
Calgary 0 2nd Prd 20:00
Los Angeles 2
Ark-Little Rock 64 FINAL
Bradley 54
Brown 67 FINAL
Central Conn St 55
Stetson 59 FINAL
Florida State 63
Ill-Chicago 46 FINAL
Northwestern 63
Ohio 49 FINAL
George Washington 77
Southern Utah 61 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 70
Elon 67 FINAL
Kennesaw St 65
Dartmouth 49 FINAL
Penn State 69
Green Bay 70 FINAL
UC Irvine 72
DePaul 68 FINAL
Colorado 82
Lewis & Clark 49 FINAL
Portland 71
SC State 59 FINAL
Abilene Christian 65
Manhattan 71 FINAL
Fordham 57
Truett-McConnell 57 FINAL
Ga Southern 90
Citadel 56 FINAL
Michigan State 82
Miami-Ohio 55 FINAL
Ohio State 93
Gardner-Webb 89 FINAL
Purdue 84
Idaho 68 FINAL
Northern Ky 81
Fairfield 66 FINAL
Albany 77
North Dakota St 61 FINAL
Alcorn State 50
UT Martin 37 FINAL
Butler 64
SE Louisiana 65 FINAL
UCF 70
Oakland 60 FINAL
Clemson 70
Florida A&M 57 FINAL
East Carolina 75
Eastern Ky 66 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 69
IUPU-Ft Wayne 43 FINAL
Illinois State 68
Norfolk State 74 FINAL
James Madison 71
Binghamton 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 69
Towson 56 FINAL
Navy 61
Long Island 73 FINAL
New Hampshire 72
Northern Ill 66 FINAL
Notre Dame 91
William & Mary 62 FINAL
Old Dominion 69
Liberty 47 FINAL
Princeton 65
Delaware 81 FINAL
Robert Morris 84
MD-Eastern Shore 82 FINAL
St Bonaventure 80
Colgate 43 FINAL
Syracuse 78
Kansas 52 FINAL
Temple 77
Mercer 54 FINAL
Tennessee 64
East Tenn St 60 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 84
Va Military 74 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Bucknell 53 FINAL
Wake Forest 60
Alabama A&M 62 FINAL
Western Mich 71
New Orleans 59 FINAL
Indiana 79
Columbia 65 FINAL
Connecticut 80
Long Beach State 49 FINAL
St Johns 66
Wofford 44 FINAL
West Virginia 77
Southern U 66 FINAL
Baylor 70
UAB 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 83
Char Southern 54 FINAL
Colorado State 75
North Florida 70 FINAL
Iowa 80
NC Central 67 FINAL
Jackson State 64
Rice 72 FINAL
Lamar 79
Central Mich 89 FINAL
McNeese State 56
Coppin State 56 FINAL
Michigan 72
Furman 76 FINAL
Minnesota 86
SE Missouri St 51 FINAL
Ole Miss 82
Weber State 51 FINAL
Oklahoma 85
Grambling St 39 FINAL
TCU 80
Loyola-Chicago 62 FINAL
Texas Tech 44
Incarnate Word 47 FINAL
Tulsa 76
Penn 50 FINAL
Vanderbilt 79
Chicago State 38 FINAL
SIU Edwardsville 63
Simpson 62 FINAL
Drake 84
Tenn Tech 81 FINAL
UMKC 60
Murray State 83 FINAL
Southern Ill 71
Oral Roberts 45 FINAL
Missouri State 52
Jacksonville St 65 FINAL
Air Force 66
Milwaukee 54 FINAL
Arkansas 84
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
California 56
Coll of Charleston 47 FINAL
LSU 71
North Dakota 54 FINAL
Marquette 67
Northern New Mexico 39 FINAL
New Mexico St 78
UC Santa Barbara 78 FINAL
Oregon 82
Miami-Florida 62 FINAL
Providence 76
Northeastern 68 FINAL
St Marys-CA 72
Kent State 75 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 78
UC Davis 73 FINAL
Northern Colorado 63
Lewis-Clark State 81 FINAL
Eastern Wash 87
Walla Walla 52 FINAL
Portland State 94
TX A&M-CC 47 2nd Half 10:00
Cal State Fullerton 55
Marshall 40 2nd Half 10:07
Nevada 68
Boise State 31 2nd Half
Houston 22
UC Riverside 11 Delayed 10:26
San Diego St 14
Tulane 23 1st Half 6:41
Washington 17
Loyola Marymount 14 1st Half 8:14
Wichita State 24
Nebraska 12/23/14 12:00 AM
Hawaii
BYU 48 FINAL
Memphis 55
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
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
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
UMass Lowell 63 FINAL
Holy Cross 78
Temple 59 FINAL
Villanova 64
Georgia Southern 68 FINAL
Southern U 52
Xavier 60 FINAL
Kennesaw St 61
Eastern Michigan 52 FINAL
Michigan 81
Brescia 56 FINAL
Marshall 127
(21) West Virginia 54 FINAL
Ohio State 96
UMBC 87 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 78
Cornell 79 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 61
St Bonaventure 70 FINAL
Georgetown 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Northeastern 62
Eastern Washington 67 FINAL
Florida 56
Rice 63 FINAL
Texas Southern 69
Butler 72 FINAL
Illinois State 60
UC Davis 59 FINAL
(16) Stanford 71
Washington St 87 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 60
Sacramento St 94 FINAL
San Jose St 97
SIU-Edwardsville 74 FINAL
UMKC 58
Oakland 92 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 84
Belmont 43 FINAL
(14) Georgia 62
George Mason 83 FINAL
Longwood 61
Kansas 81 FINAL
Creighton 84
Abilene Christian 53 FINAL
Kansas State 68
UT Martin 65 FINAL
Missouri 74
Hampton 67 FINAL
DePaul 86
Florida State 65 FINAL
Tulane 54
Murray State 44 FINAL
Illinois 64
Fla Gulf Coast 74 FINAL
Arkansas State 68
BYU 62 FINAL
Utah State 58
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