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.
Byron Buxton was here taking batting practice, and the media swarmed to see the No. 2 pick from last week’s draft do his thing.
Buxton hit one home run, hitting in the same group as Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Ryan Doumit. Buxton took his physical today and has reached agreement with the Twins on an undisclosed signing bonus, but the deal isn’t quite official yet.
“It’s a great place, great fans,” Buxton said of Target Field. “I just can’t wait to play here one day.”
I’ll have more on that for tonight’s first editions.
Thome's in the house
Jim Thome, who is batting cleanup tonight for the Phillies, also met with the media.
“A couple guys were asking me about the flag pole there and it brings back great memories,” Thome said. “There were so many great memories. The Thornton home run that won it that night. The home run over the backdrop. The Killebrew -- you know, tying Harmon, which for me is really as big as it gets because of the man Harmon was. I mean -- the fans. The first year we opened this park, the fans were great, and I’m sure they’re the same, so it’ll be fun to get back out here and see the guys.”
Manager Ron Gardenhire said the Twins probably won’t name a starter for Saturday’s game until Thursday, and they don’t have to make a roster move until after Friday’s game. All signs still point to Liam Hendriks getting the call.
The Phillies are five-time defending NL East champions, but they've lost eight of nine games and are sitting in last place right now, 8 1/2 games behind the division-leading Nationals.
The Twins have won four consecutive series and are 14-9 in their past 23 games. They’ll send Nick Blackburn to the mound tonight, hoping to keep the Phillies in a slump.
Blackburn returned from the DL last Thursday and held the Royals to two runs on five hits over five innings, with both runs coming on a first-inning home run by Yuniesky Betancourt.
Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick has allowed three runs or fewer in 15 of his last 17 starts, dating to last year, but he took a loss last Wednesday against the Dodgers, when he allowed five earned runs over 5 2/3 innings.
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Juan Pierre, LF
3. Hunter Pence, RF
4. Jim Thome, DH
5. Shane Victorino, CF
6. Ty Wigginton, 1B
7. Carlos Ruiz, C
8. Mike Fontenot, 3B
9. Michael Martinez, 2B
Starting pitcher: RH Kyle Kendrick (2-5, 4.44 ERA)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Ben Revere, RF
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Ryan Doumit, DH
7. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
8. Brian Dozier, SS
9. Jamey Carroll, 2B
Starting pitcher: RH Nick Blackburn (2-4, 7.75 ERA)
Target Field. First pitch: 7:10 p.m. TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network
Follow along on Twitter: @JoeCStrib
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