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.
I keep thinking about all the surgery Bert Blyleven has had this offseason -- hip replacement, cataract and skin cancer -- and how the good thing is he should be in one piece for what figures to be a whirlwind year, assuming he's elected to the Hall of Fame today.
The vote will be announced at 1 p.m. Check back here for updates. Meantime, here's the story we ran Christmas Day after spending an afternoon with Blyleven last fall.
Also, here's our Hall of Fame primer, which includes this fact: On the all-time shutout list, the top 20 pitchers are all in the Hall, except Blyleven, who ranks ninth with 60. That's more shutouts than Jack Morris (28), Pedro Martinez (17) and Johan Santana (eight) combined.
Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving weekend. If you're getting caught up on Twins news, they bid about $5 million for exclusive negotiating rights with Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka, and Justin Morneau said, "There's not a doubt in my mind" that he'll be ready for spring training.
* The official Hall of Fame ballot will be revealed today (with the votes due late next month) highlighted by Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar, who each came fewer than 10 votes from being elected last year.
Former MVPs Jeff Bagwell, Larry Walker and Juan Gonzalez are among the first-time candidates on the ballot.
* By Tuesday at 11 p.m., we'll know if free agents Orlando Hudson, Jesse Crain and Carl Pavano have accepted or declined the Twins' arbitration offer. All three are expected to decline.
Hudson and Crain are both Type B free agents, so the Twins would get a supplemental-round draft pick between the first and second round of the 2011 June draft if they sign elsewhere. Pavano is a Type A free agent, so the Twins would get two high picks if he departs.
Peter Gammons had the following Tweet yesterday: Jesse Crain may be hottest Rel. w/ Benoit signed. TB, Col, LAD, Arizona, Sea, Balt, Cubs, Wash, Tor already in. Makes sense for Bos and LAA
No surprise there. Benoit, another Type B free agent, signed a three-year, $15.5 million deal with the Tigers setting the bar for other relievers.
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