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
Minnesota000000000040
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - J. Peavy 7:07 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Houston 6:00 PM
Orlando
Brooklyn 6:30 PM
Boston
Washington 6:30 PM
New York
Cleveland 7:00 PM
Memphis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Milwaukee
Atlanta 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Portland 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
Phoenix 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Washington 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Buffalo 9:30 PM
Anaheim
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Chivas USA 8:30 PM
Real Salt Lake
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
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: Who should get the Twins' managing job?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close