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
Final123456789RHE
Minnesota «000003030671
Baltimore000000301461
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:P.Hughes(15-9) L:K.Gausman(7-7) S:G.Perkins (33)
HR: MIN- None BAL- N.Cruz (36), N.Hundley (4)

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets - LP: J. Familia 6 FINAL
Miami - WP: A. Ramos 9
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 7 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 0
Boston - LP: B. Badenhop 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: G. Balfour 4
Minnesota - WP: P. Hughes 6 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 4
Pittsburgh - LP: G. Cole 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Maness 5
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Turner 4
Detroit - WP: D. Price 12 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Kluber 1
Seattle - LP: C. Young 1 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Hammel 6
San Francisco - WP: J. Affeldt 4 FINAL
Colorado - LP: C. Friedrich 2
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Ross 3
San Francisco 7 Bottom 6th Inning
Colorado 2
Washington - G. Gonzalez 7:10 PM
Los Angeles - R. Hernandez
Texas - C. Lewis 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
SMU 0 FINAL
(10) Baylor 45
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 30 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Toronto 12 FINAL
Hamilton 13
Edmonton 13 FINAL
Calgary 28
Indiana 84 FINAL
Chicago 86
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: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close