Staff Directory 6370604

Phil Miller

Reporter | Minnesota Twins and MLB

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
Ron Gardenhire lost an argument during the 2010 playoff series with the Yankees.

Gardenhire, Gladden, Tovar elected to Twins Hall of Fame

Player, manager, broadcaster — the trio of inductees for 2022 epitomize versatility. Tovar has an especially unique distinction.
Toby Gardenhire was manager in the St. Paul Saints’ inaugural season.

Toby Gardenhire to manage St. Paul Saints for second season

The son of ex-Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has delivered three straight winning seasons in the minors, including a third-place finish with the Saints in 2021.
The Twins and all MLB players are currently locked out but international signings are popping up.

Twins open signing period by signing Acuna, younger brother of Braves All-Star

Bryan Acuna, 16, tops list of international players to agree to deals. His brother is Atlanta's Ronald Acuna Jr.
Jim Kaat (shown in 1970) won 189 games while pitching for the Twins. His No. 36 will be retired July 16 before a game against the White Sox at Target

Almost a complete team: Kaat is 10th to have number retired by Twins

Jim Kaat will be honored by the Twins before a game in July against the White Sox, another team where he had great pitching success.
CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers, Fla., will have a new name this year.

Name change in store for Twins' spring training home

The headquarters in Fort Myers, Fla., will revert to its original name, the Lee County Sports Complex, until a new corporate partner is found.
Manager Rocco Baldelli and third baseman Josh Donaldson looked on during a game at Target Field in 2021. Donaldson was one of five Twins to earn more

MLB lockout drags on over money issues, with no end in sight

It has been five weeks since the shutdown, and we're five weeks away from the start of spring training.
Hank Conger tags out Joe Mauer at the plate in a 2016 game. Conger has been hired to serve as Twins’ first-base coach in 2022.

Twins shuffle coaching assignments, two coaches added to Baldelli's staff

Former Angels catcher Hank Conger and longtime minor-league pitching coach Luis Ramirez have been hired for 2022.
TwinsFest was canceled because of the Major League Baseball lockout.

Twins lose Gabriel Maciel in minor league Rule 5 Draft

The native of Brazil was acquired from Arizona in the Eduardo Escobar trade.
Dustin Kerr, left, and David Lewis will compete in dual hatchet throwing at the World Axe Throwing Championships this weekend.

World Axe Throwing Championships give Minnesotans chance to prove their chops

Darts, billiards, cornhole — bar games are evolving from hobbies to sanctioned sports, and axe-throwing has grown faster than any of them over the past five years.
Tony Oliva was at Target Field in person Monday as fellow Hall of Famer Jim Kaat met with the media via video.

So much love: Tributes pour in for new Hall of Famers Oliva and Kaat

Tony Oliva waited 45 years to be elected to baseball's Hall of Fame. Now that he has, it may take him another 45 to acknowledge all the adulation he has received.
Tony Oliva, photographed at Target Field Wednesday, made the Hall of Fame on Sunday in a vote by the Golden Days Era Committee.

Twins greats Tony Oliva, Jim Kaat elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

The two stars of yesteryear were chosen to baseball's shrine by the Golden Days Era Committee, along with Minnie Minoso and Gil Hodges.
Lefthander Jim Kaat, pictured in 1970, won 190 of his 283 games with the Twins franchise.

'Certainly been worth the wait': Kaat humbled to get unexpected call to Cooperstown

Longtime Twins lefthander Jim Kaat will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame nearly four decades after throwing the last of his 25 big-league seasons.
Tony Oliva was looking good at Target Field on Wednesday, a few days ahead of the Golden Days Era Committee decision.

One vote short last time, Oliva at peace as he waits for that Hall of Fame call

No one has felt the disappointment — however brief for Tony — of not making the baseball Hall of Fame more than Twins great Tony Oliva.
The Twins first made a contract extension offer to center fielder Byron Buxton in March of 2017 before reaching an agreement on a seven-year, $100 mil

Lengthy, lucrative contract shows loyalty between Buxton, Twins

With higher-payroll teams in the bidding, Byron Buxton would likely have gotten richer offers had he waited to become a free agent after next season despite his injury history.
Twins bosses Derek Falvey, left, and Thad Levine flanked Byron Buxton after signing him to a $100 million contract extension Wednesday. They’ll focu

After memorable day of signings, Twins bosses prepare for lockout

Minor league player development and amateur scouting can go on unaffected if there is no new labor agreement.
Veteran righthander Tyler Duffey avoided arbitration with the Twins by signing a $3.8 million contract for the 2022 season.

Twins sign Duffey, Thielbar, Cotton. Offer contracts to three players, release three

The Twins offered contracts to Taylor Rogers, Mitch Garver and Luis Arraez while sending three others to free agency, including a player claimed on waivers only hours earlier.
Left-hander Taylor Rogers could earn more than $6 million in his final Twins season before free agency.

Twins face contract decisions today on Rogers, Garver, others for 2022

Eight players are eligible for contract arbitration and the Twins must decide by 7 p.m. — the deadline for offering 2022 contracts — whether they want to spend the money to keep them.
Willians Astudillo

Astudillo clears release waivers, will head to baseball's open market

Popular Twin Willians Astudillo was designated for assignment last week. Pitcher Charlie Barnes also cleared waivers and was assigned to Class AAA St. Paul.
Josh Donaldson will earn $21 million next season.

Heading into next season, Twins could have $50 million to spend

Pitching and shortstop are areas of immediate need, and the team expects to spend up to last year's payroll of about $125 million.
Jorge Polanco was the Twins’ MVP last season, and is in the middle of a five-year, $27.5 million contract.

Chart: A look at every contract on the Twins' roster for 2022

Josh Donaldson eats up a big share of the pie, and seven veterans are under contract, with nine others headed to arbitration.
Willians Astudillo has hit .270 with a .701 OPS with 15 home runs and 66 RBI in 167 games with the Twins over four seasons, playing every position in

Willians Astudillo among players dropped from Twins roster

The team had to make room on its 40-man roster to protect top prospects such as Royce Lewis and Jose Miranda.
Royce Lewis will be promoted to the Twins’ 40-man roster by Friday so the team won’t lose him in the Rule 5 Draft.

Twins looking to reshape roster to avoid piracy of minor leaguers

The Twins will make a few changes to their offseason roster by Friday's MLB deadline, and they'll do so with a valuable tool that was missing last year: information.
John Gant got seven starts for the Twins during the second half of the season.

David Popkins joins Twins' staff as hitting coach

The 31-year old has reputation as a learner and fan of data-driven methodology.
Max Kepler, who hit .211, was among several Twins players who had off-seasons at the plate in 2021.

Twins look to low minors in hiring 31-year-old hitting coach

David Popkins was the coach of the Class A Great Lakes Loons in Michigan, where his team hit more homers than all but two of the 90 teams in Class A and AA.
Rob Manfred, Nelson Cruz and Luis Roberto Clemente, son of the late Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente

Former Twins star Cruz wins baseball's Roberto Clemente Award

After Nelson Cruz was traded to Tampa Bay in July, the Twins were given the chance to submit a new nominee. The team stood by its choice.
Clockwise from top left: Josh Donaldson, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Miguel Sano and Mitch Garver.

Staying or leaving? A look at the Twins roster heading toward 2022

An unexpected drop from first to last place and a revolving door of players leave a winter of decision-making ahead.
Edgar Varela

Twins hitting coach Varela reassigned to minor league system

Hitting coach Edgar Varela was one of two Twins coaches who will work in the minors next year; Texas claimed a minor-league pitcher off waivers.
Minnesota Twins' Jorge Polanco (11) is congratulated at home plate by Luis Arraez (2) after hitting a three-run home run during the first inning of a

First to worst: What happens now with Twins after disaster of a season?

Manager Rocco Baldelli says he takes 'full responsibility for the direction that our season went in.' The plunge left people wondering who might have played their last game for the team on Sunday.
The Twins’ Jorge Polanco watches his three-run home run during the first inning Sunday.

Twins end 2021 season with 7-3 victory over Kansas City

Minnesota finished with eight wins in its final 12 games, avoiding a 90-loss season with a 73-89 record. It is, however, the Twins' seventh losing season in the 12-year Target Field era.
Kansas City star Salvador Perez and other players thanked their fans at the end of Sunday’s game.

Sunday's Twins-Kansas City game recap

A quick look at the final game of a last-place season.
Lefthander Charlie Barnes hopes to secure his first career victory in the season’s final game.

Playoff drama absent in Kansas City as Twins close awful season

Winless rookies matched up on mound in 2021 finale
Caleb Thielbar retired four batters for his latest strong performance out of the Twins bullpen.

Saturday's Twins-Kansas City game recap

A quick look at the penultimate game of the season.
Twins second baseman Luis Arraez snared a fly foul ball by the Royals’ Michael A. Taylor during the fifth inning Saturday night.

Twins pitchers combine for three-hit shutout of Royals

Griffin Jax pitched five innings before the bullpen finished it off.
Byron Buxton celebrates after hitting a solo home run against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on April 28.

As Twins' season ends, Buxton 'pumped' about what he's done, what might be ahead

When he wasn't injured, Twins center fielder Byron Buxton hit 18 homers and his on-base plus slugging percentage ranked with the best in the American League. He believes he can sustain, perhaps even improve, that production.
The first of Griffin Jax’s 14 starts for the Twins takes place where the first one did — at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium.

Jax returns to site of his first career start for final start of 2021

Twins face Royals lefty Kris Bubic, try to snap two-game skid
The Twins’ Miguel Sano last weekend.

Sano says he wants to lose 30 pounds before next season

Coming off one of the most discouraging and yet weirdly encouraging seasons of his career, Miguel Sano says he intends to do more with less in 2022.
The Twins’ Nick Gordon was unable to catch a short fly ball from the Royals’ Andrew Benintendi during the fourth inning Friday night.

Twins clinch last place in AL Central with loss at Kansas City

The Twins will finish in fifth place in the division for the fifth time in 11 seasons.
Kansas City’s Hunter Dozier reacted in the dugout after hitting a home run Friday.

Friday's Twins-Kansas City game recap

A quick look at the 160th game of the Twins' season.
Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Juan Minaya

Rejuvenated Twins reliever Minaya beating 'best hitters'

Only eight times this season have opposing batters gotten a hit on Juan Minaya's changeup, and only three for extra bases.
John Gant

Twins, Royals start three-game series to conclude 2021 season

John Gant gets the start as Twins need a sweep to avoid last place in the American League Central.
Twins pitcher Michael Pineda

Pineda 'a pillar in our clubhouse.' But will he be back with Twins?

Michael Pineda is the sole survivor from the Opening Day starting rotation. On Wednesday he won his fifth straight game by showcasing his ability to avoid big innings.
The Twins’ Jorge Polanco, left, celebrates his three-run home run off Detroit Tigers pitcher Casey Mize with teammate Luis Arraez

Polanco's quick home run sparks Twins to 5-2 victory over Detroit

Casey Mize's first pitch to Jorge Polanco on Wednesday night was a 94-mph sinker, which Polanco deposited into the seats for a three-run home run.
Michael Pineda

Pineda faces Mize as Twins, Tigers continue series at Target Field

Nick Gordon will start at shortstop for the Twins, who reinstated Joe Ryan from the bereavement list.
Jose Miranda

Miranda, Varland named Twins top minor leaguers for 2021

Jose Miranda has 29 home runs as he finishes his season with the Saints; Louie Varland, named top pitcher, is a former Concordia-St. Paul standout
Twins starting pitcher Joe Ryan

In the zone: Ryan sets Twins record with 11 strikeouts in five innings

Rookie righthander Joe Ryan dominated the Cubs, striking out 11, including the final seven he faced, and Max Kepler hit two homers in a 5-4 win.
Twins pitcher Joe Ryan

Ryan's strikeout is 1,914th — and possibly final — for a Twins pitcher at the plate

All of MLB is likely to use the designated hitter rule next season, meaning pitchers are unlikely to come up to bat.
Joe Ryan

Joe Ryan faces Kyle Hendricks as Twins, Cubs meet at Wrigley Field

The Twins won the opener of a two-games series on Tuesday night.
The Twins’ Nick Gordon reached the dugout to celebrate with manager Rocco Baldelli (left) and Miguel Sano after Gordon’s two-run homer off Cubs st

Gordon's homer sparks 16-hit attack as Twins outscore Cubs

Nick Gordon was one of four Twins to rack up three hits on the 9-5 victory, the first time in more than two years they've done that.
Twins catcher Mitch Garver’s season has been interrupted by a series of injuries.

Mitch Garver's season of injuries: 'Wrecked is an understatement.'

The Twins' catcher was hitting the ball hard until he was beset by injuries, but now he's looking to finish strong.
Drew Maggi, congratulated after scoring a run during Twins’ spring training in March, didn’t yet make his big-league debut, despite a weekend call

Minor league vet Maggi back to minors without making Twins debut

With Andrelton Simmons and Mitch Garver being activated for the Cubs series, the team also sent Ben Rortvedt back to St. Paul.
Minnesota Twins' Miguel Sano (22) strikes out against the Cleveland Indians during the seventh inning of the first baseball game of a doubleheader Tue

'The game is what the game is.' Sano fastest to 1,000 strikeouts in history

Miguel Sano and the Twins say there is a tradeoff in his game: massive home runs that terrorize opponents and numerous strikeouts that aggravate fans.
Miguel Sano after an early season strikeout.

Chart: Sano fastest to 1,000 strikeouts in MLB history

Sano reached the dubious milestone in his 661st career game.
Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Berrios acknowledges the Minnesota Twins dugout while leaving the field after being taken out of a baseball game in the seve

Berrios shuts down Twins in first start against former teammates

The vintage Jose Berrios performance that in years past could rescue the Twins from dismal stretches of a season this time felt like piling on.
Vladimir Guerrero and Josh Donaldson

Mutual respect: Donaldson, Guerrero exchange jerseys after game in Toronto

Josh Donaldson, who was named a league MVP while playing for Toronto, is saying in media interview that Vladimir Guerrero deserves the award this season.
José Berrios has more innings pitched, strikeouts and wins than any Twins pitcher since 2016, but he’s never faced his old team — until today.

Twins send a relief pitcher to the mound to face Berrios

Luke Farrell will make his fifth career start, and first for the Twins
Twins catcher Ryan Jeffers missed catching a pop-up fly ball off the bat of the Blue Jays’ George Springer in the first inning Saturday in Toronto.

Walks, homers haunt as Twins fall to Blue Jays 6-2

Rookies Bailey Ober and Jovani Moran have been stingy with their free passes in 2021, but not on Saturday.
Drew Maggi

'I've been crying all day': After 11 years, Maggi gets emotional promotion by Twins

Drew Maggi toiled in the minors for 11 seasons and was being bounced around by COVID rules in Canada before the Twins promoted him to the majors last week.
Twins rookie righthander Bailey Ober delivered a pitch against the Blue Jays on Saturday.

Saturday's Twins-Toronto game recap

A quick look at Saturday's game.
Drew Maggi, congratulated after scoring a run during Twins’ spring training in March, is in uniform for his first regular season game today, after 1

After 11 years of minor-league toil, Twins call Maggi up to majors for game vs. Toronto

Saturday in Toronto is the moment that Drew Maggi has waited 11 years for.
Josh Donaldson follows through on a solo home run against the Blue Jays during the third inning Friday.

Donaldson homers as Twins power their way past Toronto to open series

The Twins hit four home runs on Friday night, three of them consecutively in a five-run third inning that included a warm return to Toronto for Josh Donaldson.
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Jose Berrios

Former Twins pitcher Berrios misses family, having mixed results with Blue Jays

The righthander is adjusting to his new team and says, "I've enjoyed it so far."
Andrelton Simmons

Visa issues sideline Simmons for Twins' weekend series in Toronto

Shortstop Andrelton Simmons won't enter Canada because of visa issues, and Nick Vincent will take Andrew Albers' place on the pitching staff.
Twins starter John Gant walked off the field with trainer Michael Salazar, leaving after only 12 pitches because of a lower abdominal strain against t

Yankees makes it official, Twins won't win division in 2021

After Monday's loss, the math says Minnesota can't win the American League Central, and elimination from the wild-card race is coming soon.
Teammates mob Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez after he hit a walkoff single in the 10th inning against the Twins on Monday.

'That inning should have been over': Twins fume after loss to Yankees

The Twins got early homers from Jorge Polanco, Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton, but then came a disastrous eighth inning and an ejection for Rocco Baldelli.
New York Yankees pitcher Luis Gil was traded to the team for Jake Cave in 2018.

Twins face rookie pitcher they traded to Yankees as a teenager

After he was called up this season, Luis Gil became the first starter in MLB history to begin with three scoreless starts. He didn't give up a run in his first 15.2 innings.
The Twins’ Jorge Polanco jogs home on a solo home run off Kansas City pitcher Brady Singer in the first inning

Homer-happy Twins hit five long balls to rout Royals 9-2

Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco (twice), Nick Gordon and Max Kepler combined for more than 2,000 feet of home runs Saturday night.
Four fighter jets fly over Target Field where players from the Twins and the Royals observed a moment of silence to mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11

Top lefthanded prospect Moran hustles to join Twins after promotion

Jovani Moran made a round of emotional late-night phone calls after receiving word he would be called up the the Twins for Saturday's game.
Nick Gordon, a shortstop throughout his minor-league career but mostly an outfielder with the Twins, makes his first start at shortstop Saturday night

Twins add lefty Moran to bullpen before taking on Royals

Relief prospect has struck out 109 batters in 67.1 innings
Andrew Benintendi, right, is congratulated by Nicky Lopez following Benintendi’s three-run home run off Twins pitcher Griffin Jax during the first i

Royals edge Twins in 11 innings as starters settle down after early struggles

Griffin Jax, Daniel Lynch turned stingy after the first inning.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli

'I like what I'm feeling': Twins manager Baldelli takes on new duty: He's a papa

As a new father, Rocco Baldelli says he's "already starting to feel a little differently about some things."
Friday's Twins-Royals game recap

Friday's Twins-Royals game recap

Kansas City's Andrew Benintendi hit two home runs.
Griffin Jax

Twins, Royals start three-game series in battle to avoid AL Central basement

The Twins are in last place, 18 games behind the White Sox, with the Royals 17 games out of contention.
Twins coach Bill Evers has reached his final month in baseball. Before retirement, he will take over for a few days when Rocco Baldelli takes paternit

The baseball journey of Twins coach Bill Evers winds its way to an end

After many years and many roles, the retiring 67-year-old will manage in the big leagues when Rocco Baldelli goes on paternity leave.
Rookie Bailey Ober has impressed the Twins this season, and could figure into the rotation in 2022.

Twins pitching rotation beyond this year remains a great unknown

President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey has seen a dramatic change in his starting staff since the beginning of the 2021 season.
Tokyo to Target Field: Ryan's fine debut spoiled by one big mistake

Tokyo to Target Field: Ryan's fine debut spoiled by one big mistake

Joe Ryan set the Cubs down in order in four of his five innings. But the middle one of those innings for the Team USA silver medalist led to the Twins' 3-0 defeat.