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.

Gardenhire: I want more pop off the bench

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: February 21, 2013 - 1:09 PM

Ron Gardenhire likes fielding drills to go smoothly -- make your play, do it properly and with focus, and get back in line. And when that didn't happen Thursday, he let his players known.

Gardenhire halted drills and reminded his players -- loudly -- that he expects better from them, after a couple of mistakes (he used a more colorful term) during practice, but said afterward, he wasn't surprised they happened. Today was Day 9 of camp, and players are growing tired of the monotonous routine; as much as the Twins try to keep it interesting, Gardenhire said, minds start to wander and players begin to anticipate the games, which begin Saturday.

He said something else interesting after workouts, too: He's tired of feeling like he has no options in the late innings. Light-hitting infielders and spare catchers aren't enough, and Gardenhire said he hasn't even decided yet whether a third catcher will be necessary. "I'm going to have a better bench this year," Gardenhire said. "I told Terry [Ryan, the general manager], I'd like to have more pop off the bench."

Other than that, it was a pretty quiet day, and the crowds at the ballpark were unusually small. Maybe the people are waiting for Sunday, when the Twins play their first game in Hammond Stadium. Liam Hendriks will start that game for Minnesota, Gardenhire said. And with so many pitchers in camp, the Twins will create a few extra innings by holding an intrasquad game earlier that day, a 10 a.m. start, likely six innings, on one of the back fields.


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