Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.
The Twins will be holding their organizational meetings, beginning next Thursday at Target Field, and it figures to be a real soul-searching exercise for General Manager Bill Smith, Manager Ron Gardenhire and their top lieutenants coming off another first-round playoff exit.
They'll analyze every aspect of the organization, setting the agenda for this offseason and beyond.
Gardenhire is under contract through 2011 but he's expected to receive a contract extension soon. All of the team's major league coaches have deals that expire in December. Before signing his previous extension, in November 2008, Gardenhire made sure the team took care of his coaches first, so look for that to happen soon, as well.
* Twins RHP Scott Baker had arthroscopic surgery Wednesday to clean out loose particles in his right elbow. Smith said the procedure was a success.
* Twins 2B Orlando Hudson will be a guest analyst on the MLB Network on Saturday and Sunday. This will be the O-Dog's in-studio debut, but he loves to talk and should be a natural on TV. Hudson, who turns 33 in December, told me he would love to return to the Twins, but he's a pending free agent, and the writing is on the wall with their payroll situation. It looks like he'll be playing for his fourth team in four years in 2011.
* I dove into the new Mickey Mantle biography, "The Last Boy," by Jane Leavy and have enjoyed the first 200 pages. I thought her book on Sandy Koufax was good, but her research and reporting on Mantle is exceptional. ... I also look forward to reading the 2010-2011 TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook. I followed the TwinsCentric crew long before they joined the Star Tribune's blogging army, and their exhaustive work continues to impress me.
* Finally, a quick thought on the NLCS: Brian Wilson has been a revelation for the Giants, whose fans spent years cursing the Joe Nathan trade, waiting for their next great closer. Wilson is a strange dude with a strange beard, but his interviews are pure comedy. Check out his September appearance on "Rome is Burning," especially at the 5:30 mark, when Wilson is asked about the $1,000 fine he received for wearing orange spikes at the All-Star game.
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