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The Twins Beat

La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Bobbleheads bring smiles to their models; Vargas and Polanco arrive

    FORT MYERS, Fla. — As Max Kepler walked past in the Twins’ clubhouse this morning, I stopped him with a compliment. “Nice catch,” I said.

    “Thank you,” he replied politely. But he had a puzzled look on his face. The games haven’t started yet.

    “Your bobblehead,” I told him. “You’re making a diving catch. Impressive.”

    Kepler’s face lit up. He hasn’t seen the prototype for the Twins’ giveaway this summer (pictured above) — but he’s excited about being immortalized in bobblehead form for the first time.

    It’s funny how gimmicks like that captivate the players. Eddie Rosario talked enthusiastically about the promotion — the Twins are planning bobblehead giveaways at Target Field, themed around Kepler’s quote last year that “Nothing falls but raindrops” in the Twins’ outfield. The dolls depict Kepler making a diving catch, and Byron Buxton reaching over the wall to rob a home run.

    And Rosario? “Sliding catch,” he said with a smile, then demonstrated the position of his glove. “Very nice.”

    As with most bobbleheads, the faces resemble their models only in the most generic sense, but Rosario said he was very satisfied with how his looks. Well, it might be better if his cap had come off, he mused, so you could see his hair. But the unique nature of the likeness clearly makes him happy.

    “Someday, one with me hitting, too,” he promised.

    Beyond the talk of bobbleheads, it was a quiet morning in Twins camp, but it promises to get much louder, since Kennys Vargas has arrived. Jorge Polanco is in uniform now, too, so Buxton, Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano are the only regulars still to check in ahead of Monday’s first position-player workout.

    Those who are here mostly spend the mornings taking batting practice on a minor-league field, and the atmosphere is loose. Eduardo Escobar entertained his teammates yesterday with his obvious attempts to hit home runs during BP — and he succeeded a few times, too.

Twins win arbitration hearing with Kyle Gibson

Kyle Gibson lost his arbitration case with the Twins, with the ruling coming down Thursday.



Gibson, 30, and the Twins spent Wednesday in Arizona at an arbitration hearing haggling over a $355,000 difference in salary requests. The three-person arbitration panel ruled Thursday.

The Twins will pay Gibson $4.2 million this season; he requested $4.55 million.

Cleveland's Trevor Bauer, Houston's Collin McHugh and Tampa Bay's Jake Odorizzi won their salary arbitration cases Thursday, and Toronto's Marcus Stroman and Gibson lost. Decisions for all five pitchers had been held for simultaneous announcement to prevent any of the cases from being affected by the rulings, the Associated Press reported.

Players have an 11-8 advantage over teams with three more hearings scheduled. The 22 decisions would be the most since players went 14-10 in 1990, the AP reported.

Gibson made $2.9 million last year when he was 12-10 with a 5.07 ERA. His case was argued Wednesday before Robert Herzog, Elizabeth Neumeier and Gary Kendellen.

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