Torii Hunter met Muhammad Ali in 2011 during spring training when the legend visited the Angels during spring training. Hunter was the first player to greet him and has an autographed pair of boxing shoes from Ali.

"When he walked in, it was like greatness was amongst us," Hunter said. "Everyone was in awe. It didn't matter if he was black or white. It was like, 'This is The Greatest.' He sat down and listened to our morning message from Mike Scioscia. And it was impressive. We just stared at him and afterward we took pictures with him.''

When asked what Ali meant to the black athletes who followed him, Hunter said Ali's charisma and beliefs made him a hero people of all races.

"It's sad," Hunter said. "That guy is one of the greatest sports icons to have ever lived. He believed in certain things and he stuck with it. Some people didn't like it, but he stuck with his faith and he stuck with what he believed in no matter what. And he did some great things in the community. He was a champion all around. Not just a champion in the ring, he was a champion outside the ring as well.''

Twins manager Paul Molitor briefly met Ali in 1992, at a FanFest function during Super Bowl XXVI, when the event was hosted by the Twin Cities.

"I got to shake his hand," Molitor said, "but no real interaction other than the pleasure of saying I got to shake a legend's hand.''

Ricky Nolasco was with the Marlins in 2012 with Ali was brought in to help open the new Marlins Park. The event was criticized by some because Ali, 70 at the time, was clearly suffering from the effects of Parkinson's disease, the disease he battled since 1984..

In other Twins news:

Lefthander Glen Perkins, who hasn't pitched since the first week of the season, threw 21 pitches during a bullpen session on Saturday and felt fine. He expects to throw in the bullpen two more times before a decision is made on if he's ready to head out on a minor league rehabilitation assignment. But Perkins said his arm feels good and doesn't see what he can't return to the Twins before the end of the month.

Eduardo Escobar, who has lost the starting shortstop job to the hot-hitting Eduardo Nunez, is expected to start on Sunday. Twins manager Paul Molitor said he has been looking for ways to get Escobar a start.


Brad Miller, SS
Evan Longoria, 3B
Logan Morrison, 1B
Steve Pearce, DH
Corey Dickerson, LF
Steven Souza, RF
Mikie Mahtook, CF
Hank Conger, C
Tim Beckham, 2B

Matt Andriese, RHP


Eduardo Nunez, SS
Joe Mauer, DH
Brian Dozier, 2B
Trevor Ploufee, 3B
Robbie Grossman, LF
Byung Ho Park, 1B
Max Kepler, RF
Juan Centeno, C
Byron Buxton, CF

Ervin Santana, RHP

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