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Continued: Hartman: Former manager Kelly finds plenty to like from Twins

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

Another big addition to the team recently was the return of left fielder Josh Willingham, who is finally feeling healthy and hitting .316 with five home runs, 17 RBI, 11 runs scored, one double and one triple since returning from a wrist injury May 26.

“Oh my goodness gracious, he is an impact player that can impact the game with one swing,” Kelly said of Willingham. “He can hit a home run at a moment’s notice. He certainly can impact a game, that’s for sure. You mix him in the middle there and things look very dangerous, absolutely.”

Kelly also said he likes what he has seen from catcher Kurt Suzuki, another free-agent addition this season.

“Suzuki has done a terrific job,” he said. “He is catching well, and he certainly has gotten his share of timely hits throughout this first part of the season. Let’s see if he keeps it up and keeps contributing. But he has been a major contributor, certainly on the offensive side.”

Jottings

• Former Vikings quarterback Rich Gannon will team with former Timberwolves play-by-play announcer Kevin Harlan on CBS football games this year. Gannon had been paired with either Marv Albert or Spero Dedes each of the past three years.

• Former Twins infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka, playing with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan for the second year in a row, has been sidelined because of a back injury and was set to begin a rehab assignment Friday.

• Righthander Mark Hamburger, the Mounds View High School alum suspended by Major League Baseball 50 games because of a drug violation, is back with New Britain in the Twins farm system. He has a 2.25 ERA over eight innings with eight strikeouts in four relief outings. Hamburger, 27, pitched in five games for the Texas Rangers in 2011.

• Chris Colabello, who at one time was hitting .359 for the Twins this season before slumping to .232, is hitting .230 at Class AAA Rochester with one homer and 12 RBI over 17 games. Shortstop Pedro Florimon is hitting .223 through 31 games for the Red Wings after hitting .108 in 25 games with the Twins.

• Target Field will be home to the Minnesota State High School Baseball championship games for the fifth consecutive year Saturday. The Class 1A game is scheduled for noon, the 2A game at 3 p.m. and the 3A game at 6 p.m.

• The Twins are also working in partnership with the Philadelphia Phillies to create a facility for a new player development academy in the Dominican Republic.

Travis Morin, an Osseo High School and Minnesota State Mankato product, scored an overtime winner on a tip-in Wednesday to give the Texas Stars a 2-1 victory and a 2-1 series lead over the St. John’s IceCaps in the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup finals. Morin, 30, leads the AHL in playoff scoring with seven goals and 12 assists in 19 games for the Stars, a Dallas affiliate. The IceCaps, a Winnipeg Jets affiliate, are led by former St. Cloud State standout Andrew Gordon, who has eight goals and nine assists in 19 games.

 

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 7:40, 8:40 and 9:20 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

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