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.

AL Central leading Twins set to face AL West leading Rangers

Posted by: Phil Miller under Twins game coverage Updated: May 28, 2010 - 6:04 PM

Good friend Kevin Luckow e-mailed today:

"I think I like this whole TF idea. So much so that I'm going to incorporate it into my scorebook at games. When a supposed game winning grand slam by Span lands safely into Corey Hart's glove, I'll denote it with a TF-9 instead of the usual F-9."

I like it. The TF'd concept has riled some people up. Another buddy, Jeff Shelman, was all over me with text messages after Jason Kubel's sixth-inning blast last night. "Was that a TF shot?" OK, he had me there, although Kubel's ball was more to right field than a gap shot. "It is pretty simple," added Shelman, an avid golfer. "Hit more club."

Look, I get it. The conditions are the same for both teams, and the Twins have been out-homered at Target Field 21-12 through 24 games. Twins pitchers have benefited a few times from opposing hitters getting TF'd, too. But watching the way several balls have died -- two by Michael Cuddyer stand out -- this issue isn't going away.

NEXT: THE RANGERS

The Yankees might be gone, but the intensity better not drop for the Twins. The AL West leading Rangers are here, and these should be three interesting games.

RF Nelson Cruz (.330/.408/.306) strained his left hamstring Wednesday and might be headed to the DL. He had an MRI exam on Thursday and the team planned to re-evaluate him today. This would be a big loss for the Rangers. Cruz has 10 home runs and 34 RBI in 106 at-bats.

The Rangers still have intriguing players all over the diamond, including Vladimir Guerrero, Michael Young, Ian Kinsler and 21-year-old shortstop Elvis Andrus.

Will have an update on Cruz and the starting lineups ASAP.

Update: The Twins have both Alexi Casilla and Nick Punto listed at third base. Looks like it will depend on how Nick Punto's finger feels during BP.

Update: Punto came through batting practice fine and will get his first start since Saturday.

Update: It sounds like Cruz will miss this series. The Rangers are saying it's day-to-day, but the hamstring was at about 60 percent full strength today.

RANGERS (26-21)

1. Elvis Andrus, SS
2. Michael Young, 3B
3. Ian Kinsler, 2B
4. Vladimir Guerrero, DH
5. Josh Hamilton, LF
6. David Murphy, RF
7. Justin Smoak, 1B
8. Max Ramirez, C
9. Julio Borbon, CF

Starting pitcher: RH Colby Lewis (4-2, 3.45 ERA)

TWINS (27-20)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Jim Thome, DH
6. Michael Cuddyer, RF
7. Jason Kubel, LF
8. J.J. Hardy, SS
9. Nick Punto, 3B

Starting pitcher: RH Kevin Slowey (5-3, 4.53 ERA)

Target Field. First pitch: 7:10 p.m. TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network

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