Staff Directory 102061883

Phil Miller

Reporter | Minnesota Twins and MLB
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Phil Miller has covered the Twins for the Star Tribune since 2013. Previously, he covered the University of Minnesota football team, and from 2007-09, he covered the Twins for the Pioneer Press.

A native of Pekin, Ill., Miller attended the University of Utah, and worked for 26 years at The Salt Lake Tribune, spending five years as assistant sports editor, and later as a reporter covering communities, college football and basketball, and the NBA's Utah Jazz.
Recent content from Phil Miller
Twins lefthander Rich Hill

Twins expecting Hill to return to mound next week

Rich Hill threw 60 pitches against Twins extra players at CHS Field in St. Paul on Friday, "and felt great," said Derek Falvey, the Twins president of baseball operations.
Lightning crackled over Target Field after Friday night's game between the Twins and the Royals was postponed due to weather.

Let's play two! But Twins-Royals doubleheader just seven innings each

Slow-moving rain showers arrived at Target Field just before the scheduled 7:10 p.m. start of Twins-Royals on Friday. The Twins postponed the game until Saturday, creating some history.
Batter up! … and down The Twins’ Nelson Cruz, above, paid for a recent single with a broken bat. Ehire Adrianza, left, wasn’t as fortunate. He s

Hit and miss: Twins, MLB batters going through slump for many reasons

The Twins piled up 12 runs against the Brewers on Wednesday. But scoring has declined around MLB so far. "It takes time for everything to feel comfortable," Twins hitting coach Edgar Varela said.
Kansas City Royals Adalberto Mondesi, back, steals second base behind Minnesota Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco during the first inning of a baseball ga

Offense scuffles, Berrios struggles; Twins swept in Kansas City

The Twins see the Royals seven more times in the next 14 days, and they had better hope they solve an out-of-nowhere bullpen during that stretch.
Looking out for the health of Twins pitchers means the team currently has 16 of them on the 28-man roster.

Twins using expanded roster to supersize their pitching staff

Manager Rocco Baldelli said he'd like to have more position players on the pandemic-expanded 28-man roster. But pitching issues will keep that from happening.
Kansas City slugger Jorge Soler hit his second home run in as many innings Saturday, a three-run shot off the Twins’ Cody Stashak in the fourth inni

Odorizzi erratic in season debut, Twins bullpen falters again in loss to Royals

Jorge Soler crushed a pair of home runs and Kansas City recorded rare back-to-back victories over the Twins.
Home plate umpire Jose Navas fake fist-bumps with third base umpire John Tumpane before a baseball game between the Royals and the Twins at Kauffman S

Umpiring crew hitches a ride on Twins' flight

Umpires are tested for the coronavirus every other day, just like the players, and MLB has commandeered seats on team planes to help them minimize or avoid commercial air travel.
Josh Donaldson celebrated after hitting a home run on July 28.

Twins put Donaldson on injured list with strained calf

Josh Donaldson's recovery from a calf issue has been slow, meaning he will miss another week.
Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez and pitcher Trevor Rosenthal celebrate after Friday's game against the Twins at Kauffman Stadium

Twins bats go quiet in second consecutive loss, 3-2 at Kansas City

It's the first time in this bizarre season's 14 games that the Twins, who blew a ninth-inning lead at Pittsburgh on Thursday, have dropped back-to-back games.
Caleb Thielbar

Thielbar completes long journey back to majors as Twins raise record to 9-2

Caleb Thielbar, who grew up just outside the Twin Cities, pitched in an MLB game for the first time since 2015, recording seven outs to help the Twins win their fifth game in a row.
A drone forced a delay during Tuesday’s game between the Twins and the Pirates.

Police investigate drone that flew over Target Field, delaying Twins game

The game resumed after eight minutes without incident, but the matter is being taken seriously by police and Major League Baseball. "Definitely a 2020 moment right there," manager Rocco Baldelli said.
Eddie Rosario reached over the plate for an opposite field single in the first inning Tuesday at Target Field.

Berrios gets first win as Twins finish homestand 7-1

Eddie Rosario drove in two runs and Nelson Cruz had three hits in a victory over the Pirates at Target Field.
Twins lefthander Rich Hill was skipped in the rotation by manager Rocco Baldelli on Monday because of back soreness and landed on the injured list.

Twins rotation takes another hit with Hill placed on injured list

A Twins rotation that has already lost two members to the injured list was thrown further into disarray Monday when Rich Hill was shut down.
Nelson Cruz was joined in celebration by his Twins teammates after his game-winning single in the ninth inning defeated the Pirates 5-4 at Target Fiel

Pretend hugs, fake high fives follow Twins comeback for walk-off win

Nelson Cruz smacked a 400-foot single to the warning track to cap a rally from a mid-game 4-0 deficit. There was hand sanitizer on the field and even some socially distant Gatorade throwing in celebration.
Fans were resourceful finding things to stand on to see over the wall on the top floor of a parking ramp across from Target Field recently to watch th

Twins not on target for fans quite yet but will keep an eye on St. Paul

They will keep an eye on the Saints' reopening.
Homer Bailey developed a mild case of tendinitis in his pitching arm after last Tuesday’s victory over St. Louis.

Cautious Twins put pitcher Bailey on injured list

First, the Twins decided to give veteran pitcher Homer Bailey an extra day of rest. Then, they decided to give him a week off because of mild case of tendinitis.
The Twins' Max Kepler connected for a ground-rule double in the first inning against the Indians at Target Field on Sunday. Kepler doubled twice and s

Sweet relief for Twins as bullpen baffles Cleveland with two-hitter

The Twins continued to dominate with their pitching as Cleveland scored only two runs in the final three games, scraping together nine hits in 27 innings.
Rich Hill made his first career Twins start Wednesday night, shutting out the Cardinals on two hits over five innings

NL alumni keep fooling hitters as Hill, Twins sweep series with Cardinals

For the third consecutive game, a longtime National League starter pitched five strong innings for the Twins and walked away in line for an impressive victory.
Twins first baseman Miguel Sano

Sano regaining his timing after sitting out with COVID-19

Twins slugger Miguel Sano is healthy, and despite going 0-for-8 against the White Sox, his at-bats are getting better, too.
Minnesota Twins pitcher Taylor Rogers

Twins think they're built for grueling stretch of schedule ahead

The home opener was the first of a stretch of 36 scheduled games in 37 days for the Twins, a daunting stretch that closer Taylor Rogers said the team is built for.
Jorge Polanco broke open the game with a home run in the second inning, when the Twins scored five runs.

Free-agent buys Donaldson, Bailey pay off for Twins in home opener victory

Josh Donaldson hit an opposite-field homer and Homer Bailey pitched five strong innings in their Target Field debuts for the Twins, who broke open the game with a big second inning.
Target Field will be devoid of fans when the Twins play the Cardinals on Tuesday in the home opener.

Tonight's home opener presents Twins with new kinds of challenges

There were plenty of moments over the past four months in which it appeared unlikely that games would ever take place in Target Field in 2020.
The Twins won’t sell spaces for cardboard cutouts behind the plate at Target Field the way other MLB teams have, but rather will populate the seats

Famous 'big heads' will sit behind home plate at Twins games

Images of ex-Twins and other 'celebrities' will fill seats, add atmosphere at Target Field.
Twins center fielder Max Kepler made contact during a simulated game earlier this month at Target Field.

Play ball! Twins can finally release pent-up anticipation

Expectations can be a perilous burden in normal times. But the 2020 Twins seem happy to bear them as baseball is about to begin the most unusual season in the game's history.
Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson has been impressed with the preparation of the staff, with only 17 official days to get ready for the delayed start o

Pitching coach Johnson says summer camp just long enough to prepare

Wes Johnson sees evidence his charges were keeping in shape and working on their craft while the season's start was delayed.
Kenta Maeda

Twins' Maeda is a starter who can relieve, a pitcher who can hit

Despite his success as a reliever, veteran righthander Kenta Maeda wants the ball at the beginning of games, which is what the Twins plan to do. He also wants to have fun.
Scorekeeper Stew Thornley, in 2018

Hit or error? Twins games will be officially scored off-site

In an effort to expose as few people as possible to any coronavirus risk, Major League Baseball last month informed its corps of scorebook-keepers that they will work remotely this season.
Twins first baseman Kent Hrbek reacts as he completes the third out of a triple play that the Red Sox's Tom Brunansky (left) hit into during fourth in

Hrbek savors a 30-year-old memory: two triple plays in a game

It's a singular moment in baseball history, something that had never happened before or since, so former Twins first baseman Kent Hrbek always feels the same emotion when he considers his role in it: Regret.
Nelson Cruz (23) clapped as the stadium played fake crowd sounds at the beginning of a scrimmage at practice at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn., on

Keeping it real (as possible), Twins plan sights, sounds of fan-free games

The Twins held an intrasquad game at Target Field that may have been most notable its attempt to for replicate the conditions that baseball will face when this irregular season opens next week.
Left fielder Eddie Rosario tried to field a ball between his legs at the end of warmups before the Twins played an intrasquad game at Target Field on

Twins TV broadcast team tunes up for oddest of seasons

On Wednesday, Twins' TV broadcasters will man the booth for the first time this season. The seven-inning dress rehearsal will not be televised, but Dick Bremer and Justin Morneau will provide commentary.
Only shortstop Jorge Polanco appeared in more than 140 games for the Twins last season, and manager Rocco Baldelli -- even in a 60-game season this ye

Despite short season, here's why Baldelli still preaching roster depth

After rushing through a brief training camp, the Twins are scheduled for only two game-free days in the first 41, and pennant-race pressure will exist from the season's first pitch.
Only shortstop Jorge Polanco appeared in more than 140 games for the Twins last season, and manager Rocco Baldelli -- even in a 60-game season this ye

Twins to practice long-haul depth, even for 60-game season

Even for a 60-game season, manager Rocco Baldelli wants to ensure his players stay fresh.
Wilfredo Tovar, a nonroster infielder invited to camp as part of the team's taxi squad in St. Paul, was cleared to take part in workouts but later tes

Fifth Twins player tests positive for coronaviris

Wilfredo Tovar, a nonroster infielder invited to camp as part of the team's taxi squad in St. Paul, was cleared to take part in workouts but later tested positive.
Twins infielder Marwin Gonzalez brought his wife and three children up from Houston to the Twin Cities last week, but some of his teammates elected to

Twins players forced to make difficult family choices during pandemic

Some have left their families for the next few months, while others have decided to bring them up to the Twin Cities for the shortened season.
Twins advance scout Colby Suggs relayed a strike call from the automated umpire during Thursday's scrimmage.

Twins experiment with 'robot umpires' (and don't like them much)

After getting a look at automated ball-and-strike calls, none of the Twins sounded in a hurry to get rid of the humans who are normally behind the plate.
Twins center fielder Byron Buxton caught the ball during a team scrimmage at Target Field. “His defense is like no other. The best I’ve ever seen,

Buxton is back to provide coverage in center field — without collisions

Byron Buxton missed the final two months of last season, and was easing back into regular work this spring when the pandemic shut down training camps. Now, there's no mistaking his readiness.
Twins pitcher José Berríos walked with pitching coach Wes Johnson as he took the field during practice last Friday.

Disjointed seasons come naturally for Twins pitching coach Johnson

Wes Johnson's college coaching experience, with interruptions for holidays and finals, have prepared him to be ready for anything in this 60-game dash to the finish line.
Target Field will be empty this season for Twins home games. On Sunday, pitcher Devin Smeltzer warmed up in the outfield.

Twins will open season in Chicago vs. White Sox on July 24

Seven of the Twins' 10 games against Cleveland will be at Target Field.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli checked his notes while walking to the field during workouts Sunday evening. Baldelli plans to stage the first intrasquad

Twins will turn up the dial with intrasquad game Wednesday

The team knows it has to push the pace with the shortened season rapidly approaching.
Jake Odorizzi and catcher Mitch Garver talked with pitching coach Wes Johnson during practice Saturday.

Twins pitcher Odorizzi can only control what he can

The All-Star righthander deferred his first multiyear contract for an extra 12 months in hopes of compounding its value, not knowing the coronavirus pandemic would delay the season.
Miguel Sano during spring training in Florida on Feb. 16.

Sano sits out Twins workouts after positive test for COVID-19

Miguel Sano and Willians Astudillo are the team's two major leaguers who had positive coronavirus tests entering camp.
Twins pitchers worked out Friday in the sweltering heat at Target Field.

Twins have four COVID-19 positive tests before first open workout

Willians Astudillo and another Twins player tested positive for the coronavirus upon arrival in Minnesota for the start of training camp. Minor leaguers Nick Gordon and Edwar Colina tested positive at home.
Boys of midsummer: It's back-to-work time today for the Twins

Boys of midsummer: It's back-to-work time today for the Twins

The first official Twins workout since March finally has arrived. Start the questions - and answers? - to be asked over the next three weeks.
Kala’i Rosario

Twins sign Kala'i Rosario, have complete draft class under contract

Rosario is an 18-year-old outfielder from Hilo, Hawaii, and gives the Twins nine new players following the draft.
New juniper plants for the batters eye were laid out on the warning track in March.

They're back: Signs of baseball seen at Target Field at last

The first stirrings of a big-league season were recorded in downtown Minneapolis on July 1, 97 days after what was supposed to be Opening Day.
The clock is ticking faster for some players more than others, like Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz, who will turn 40 on July 1.

Turning 40 today, Nelson Cruz gets older without feeling old

Cruz said he was enjoying the best spring training of his career, with a .435 average and three home runs, when the pandemic shut down spring training. 'Why would I retire?' he added.
Target Field will soon be full of activity, but only within the white lines and only within the regulations laid out by Major League Baseball.

As Twins re-assemble at Target Field, Baldelli leads team into the unknown

Rocco Baldelli sat in the far corner of the Twins dugout on Monday, looking at an empty Target Field. It's one of the last quiet moments he will have for a while.
Twins signee John Stankiewicz tried to make the tag at home while pitching in a game for Fordham. He was the Atlantic 10 pitcher of the year in 2019.

Twins get five players in frenzied undrafted free-agent scramble

The Twins enlisted former players Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer and LaTroy Hawkins to call prospects and sell them on signing wioth the team after the amateur draft was cut to five rounds.
Grounds crew member Reid Olson cut the grass near second base last month at Target Field.

Twins report first COVID-19 cases; Target Field undergoes major revisions

Tables, chairs, buffets and anything that encourages players to congregate are being removed from the clubhouse, and outdoor areas are being built that are intended to allow players to warm up at a distance from one another.
Twins catcher Mitch Garver (18) and relief pitcher Taylor Rogers won’t be hugging this season.

Rogers: Twins ready to face challenges of a whole new way to play

The Twins are set to defend their American League Central title under strict pandemic guidelines.
A beam of light illuminated the Twins’ sign in center field during a 2014 game at Target Field.

Drawn to unite: Minnie and Paul were a $15 bargain for Twins

The Twins were looking for artwork to be used on souvenir items at Metropolitan Stadium, and an artist's quick doodle became an iconic part of franchise history.
Aaron Sabato played college baseball at North Carolina.

Twins sign first round pick Sabato for $2.75 million

Aaron Sabato, a slugging first baseman from UNC, signed his contract with the Twins on Tuesday and became the first top pick of the Twins ever to receive more money than the slot system.
A 60-game Major League Baseball season now seems likely. A renewed spring training would start July 1; the Twins would hold theirs at Target Field.

Major League Baseball plans to hold 60-game season

Once MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred formally implements a schedule, training camps could resume next week, and the 60th Opening Day in Twins history is likely to take place in about a month.
An empty Target Field an hour before what would have been the home opener against the Oakland A's

Players, owners still far apart on salvaging 2020 MLB season

Twins players are making it clear they want Major League Baseball to accept their union leader Tony Clark's challenge about the endangered 2020 season.
The Twins hope their investments in areas such as their spring training facility at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. (pictured) will help them sign

Twins must recruit amateur free agents with system, not money

Undrafted players must be sold on more than money. Staff, expertise, equipment and facilities such as the team's spring training complex (pictured) might be just as important.
Second-round pick Alerick Soularie, a preseason first-team all-SEC pick this spring, owns a .336 career batting average in two seasons with the Volunt

Twins go for youth, raw skills as they complete 2020 draft

The brief two-day draft, shortest in MLB history, now gives way to a free-agent free-for-all. Starting Sunday, teams are allowed to sign as many undrafted players as they want, but with a first-of-a-kind catch.,
Joe Theismann became a star QB for the Washington Redskins after playing football and baseball at Notre Dame.

Football star Theismann was Twins' final pick in 1971 amateur draft

The Notre Dame quarterback, who went on to be the 1983 NFL MVP, was only offered $500 to sign by the Twins, who realized his heart was in another sport.
Shortstop Eddie Leon (left) was the Twins' first-ever draft pick in 1965, which did not thrill Leon. "I said, 'Oh, that's probably not good,'" he reca

First-ever Twins draft pick never signed with team

Eddie Leon, an 18-year-old shortstop from Arizona and the ninth pick overall in 1965, couldn't come to agreement on a contract.
The Astros' George Springer (left) and the Red Sox's J.D. Martinez were Twins draft choices that went unsigned and found success with other teams

Twins and every other MLB team have list of the ones that got away

Here's a trivia question that is much more obscure now that Joe Mauer has retired: What Twins draftee who is still active has had the best MLB career?
Extending the regular season through October would mean the Twins would not be able to schedule any playoff games at Target Field, where the average h

Report: Wage concessions for shorter season latest plan from MLB owners

A baseball season seems more possible, given the latest developments. But the length and shape of that season remains a mystery as players and owners trade proposals.
A giant baseball sculpture sits outside an empty Target Field, home of the Twins

Safety, salaries are Major League Baseball's most difficult issues

MLB's 67-page "operations manual" to address player safety was delivered to the union Friday night. But plenty of hurdles remain before Target Field is occupied again
Players in dugouts won't be standing close to each other, as these Royals players did last September while watching Miguel Sano of the Twins.

MLB offers guide for player safety in hopes of restarting season

Major League Baseball's detailed plans to address player safety during what it hopes will be a captivating, if shortened, 2020 season, leaked to several national media outlets.
Baseball again at Target Field in July? Much is left to discuss between owners and players.

MLB, players union start far apart on plan to open season in July

Major League Baseball and its Players Union met Tuesday to discuss an owner-approved return to the diamond. Safety and money issues must be resolved to start the season. There were no reports of consensus reached.
Major League Baseball could return to Target Field as early as July 4th under a proposal for a shortened 2020 season that the sport’s 30 team owners

Twins baseball in July? Owners approve plan, but will it really happen?

Baseball officials have started their lobbying efforts, including a Monday briefing with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz. Getting everyone to go along with the current plan is far from guaranteed.
The Twins picked reliever Taylor Rogers in the 11th round in 2012, but this year's draft will only go five rounds in a cost-cutting move because of th

Twins aren't happy with baseball's plan for shortened draft

As the Twins try to zero in on whom they might acquire in next month's amateur draft, it's hard not to think about what they'll miss out on, too.
Target Field has been empty this season with the Major League Baseball season on hold.

Twins offering package of refunds, credits for unplayed April games

MLB had hoped to implement a league-wide policy on ticket refunds during the pandemic, but this week decided to allow each team develop its own plan.
Before the Twins play their games at an empty Target Field — or any empty ballpark — there figures to be a battle between owners and the MLBPA ove

Even if games can be played, baseball has battle brewing over salaries

Ending the first extended disruption of a Major League Baseball season that wasn't about money might be even more difficult than it once appeared — because of money.
The Twins celebrated clinching the AL Central title last September.

Highly successful 2019 season greatly increased value of Twins

Winning more than 100 games for the first time in 54 years was a big deal to Twins fans, and it paid off for team ownership as well.
Chase Field in Phoenix, home of the Diamondbacks, could be a stadium used if MLB decides to play the 2020 season all in Arizona, an option MLB and the

Safety concerns are paramount before MLB tries to salvage season

The notion of housing all MLB teams in Arizona and starting the season in smaller venues around the state faces significant hurdles, starting with the support of players.
Target Field sat empty this week, an hour before the home opener against Oakland would have begun.

Cancellation of season would do a number on Twins' roster

An agreement between Major League Baseball and the Players Association, reached March 27 but not yet announced, established the framework of baseball's eventual return, even if it's not until next March.
A skeleton crew of grounds keepers cut the grass at Target Field Friday afternoon.

Twins offer financial help to staff hurt by virus-canceled games

There are roughly 800-900 workers at Target Field not employed by the Twins. For them, the Target Field Employee Assistance Fund is being set up, and the team is making a "significant" (unspecified) contribution.
After accepting the Twins’ $17.8 million qualifiying offer for 2020 last November, righthander Jake Odorizzi is set to become a free agent after the

With higher stakes than most, Odorizzi prepares for short season

Jake Odorizzi understood when he delayed free agency that he was betting on himself. But he might no longer be the deciding factor in that wager.
Minnesota Twins outfielder Byron Buxton fielded a ball.

Twins: Buxton would have been ready for opener, pitchers face the unknown

Manager Rocco Baldelli said that Byron Buxton has healed completely from the shoulder surgery that ended his 2019 season early; pitching coach Wes Johnson said his staff faces an assortment of challenges.
Target Field lies dormant — as do all MLB ballparks — as the Twins’ Opening Day and 2020 season have been postponed because of coronavirus issue

Good times deferred: An Opening Day without baseball

The loss of Opening Day traditions doesn't begin to compare to the losses being inflicted by coronavirus. But that won't make the day less … odd.
The Twins were scheduled to open the season next week on the road. Now, a date for Opening Day is anyone's guess.

'Baseball will return.' But Twins officials can't say it will be this year

Exactly one week before the 2020 baseball season was to begin, the Twins' top executives reluctantly considered the possibility that Opening Day is actually one year away.