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.

Twins had a connection to newcomer Ryan Doumit -- B.J. Garbe

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB, Twins offense Updated: November 18, 2011 - 2:48 PM

B.J. Garbe never made it to the major leagues after the Twins made him the fifth overall pick in the 1999 draft, but their connection to Garbe finally paid dividends.

Garbe went to Moses Lake (Wash.) High School, where he was teammates with Ryan Doumit, who agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract with the Twins on Friday.

Doumit's agent, Paul Cobbe, said his client is very familiar with the Twins. Pittsburgh drafted Doumit in the second round of the 1999 draft (No. 59 overall), and he used to head to spring training early each year, joining Garbe for workouts in Fort Myers.

Twins third-base coach Steve Liddle used to throw batting practice to Doumit, Garbe, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.

"One of Ryan's best friends is B.J. Garbe," Cobbe said. "Through him, he already has a history with the Twins."

Garbe peaked in Class AA and was out of baseball after 2006, but Doumit's career continues.

A switch-hitter with a .271/.334/.442 career batting line, Doumit gives the Twins a strong-hitting backup catching option and can play right field as well. He's not considered a strong defensive catcher, but he's played a little first base, too.

I'll have more on Doumit and what he'll mean to the Twins in tonight's first editions.

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