FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Barring anything unexpected, Jorge Polanco is expected to be Minnesota's starting shortstop on Opening Day, but manager Paul Molitor admitted that the organization didn't handle Polanco correctly in 2016.
Polanco played 75 games at Triple-A Rochester last season, but none of those came at shortstop, as he instead was the club's primary second baseman, and made two starts at third. Polanco became the Twins' everyday shortstop down the stretch, playing 47 games at the position, but showed some rust, having not played the position since the prior season.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Most fans don't realize that there's any difference, but ask any player and they'll tell you the baseballs used in the Major Leagues are slightly different than the ones used in the Minors.
The seams are tighter and smaller on a Major League ball, which is made in Costa Rica, while Minor League balls are a bit easier to grip and made in China. Hard-throwing Twins reliever J.T. Chargois found out the difference when called up for the first time last year, as the way he gripped his slider wasn't conducive to the big league ball.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Heavy rain forced the Twins to alter their plans for their workout Wednesday morning as the drills were moved into the batting cages.
The Twins cancelled live batting practice, but pitchers threw their scheduled bullpen sessions, while hitters took regular batting practice and had meetings with hitting coach James Rowson and special instructors Torii Hunter and Michael Cuddyer.
A year ago at this time, the Twins had the fifth-best system in baseball according to MLBPipeline.com. This year, they didn't place in the top 10. So what happened?
For the most part, it was a strong graduation rate. Byron Buxton, the system's No. 1 prospect for what seemed like an eternity, finally came off the list in early April. No. 2 prospect Jose Berrios and No. 3 Max Kepler followed him during the year. All three were on the overall Top 100 list. When a system loses three players of that caliber to the big leagues, it stands to reason the overall rating of the organization will take a hit.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins second baseman Brian Dozier has used the same Wilson A2000 glove model since he was a freshman in high school in Mississippi.
Dozier immediately fell in love with the glove, and never saw any reason to change from it, not during his time at the University of Southern Mississippi, the Minor Leagues or with the Twins. So, Tuesday was an exciting day for Dozier, as it was Glove Day with representatives from Wilson Sporting Goods at Twins camp to deliver him a pair of new gloves -- one for game use and one for practice.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Kyle Gibson will start the Grapefruit League opener for the Twins against the Rays at Hammond Stadium on Friday night, and fellow right-hander Phil Hughes will start the second game of the spring against the Red Sox at JetBlue Park on Saturday.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins are coming off a rough year that saw them post the worst record in the Majors, but with their new leadership led by Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, Twins president Dave St. Peter believes brighter days are ahead.
St. Peter is optimistic about the future and took time to give three messages to Twins fans as part of MLB.com's Presidents Day coverage on Monday. Here's what St. Peter, who has been the club's president since 2002 and is active on Twitter (@twinsprez), had to say:
Longtime Minnesota area sports journalist Rod Simons has passed away at the age of 56, the Twins have confirmed.
Simons, who spent the last two decades covering sports in various parts of the country, passed away in Fort Meyers, Fla., while covering Twins Spring Training. He is survived by his wife, Pamela, and daughter, Annie.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Before the Twins held their first official full-squad workout on Sunday, Twins manager Paul Molitor addressed all 62 players in camp, trying to the set the tone for the 2017 season.
Coming off a 103-loss season, Molitor remained optimistic, as he believes the Twins can learn from last year, despite the results.
MINNEAPOLIS -- As Justin Haley was preparing to make his final start for Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Winter League on Nov. 18, he received word from the Red Sox that he wasn't going to be added to the 40-man roster.
Haley shook off the bad news, tossing 5 2/3 scoreless innings to finish with a 0.38 ERA in five starts. But it was the start of a whirlwind for Haley, who got married eight days later and was taken in the Rule 5 Draft 12 days after that.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- As a Twins pitcher and an avid gamer, Trevor May knows plenty about what it takes to succeed in sports and eSports.
So the right-hander is lending his experience as an athlete into a new partnership with Luminosity Gaming, a professional eSports organization. May will be part of its "Stream Team" on Twitch.tv, and he will serve as a brand ambassador.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins closer Glen Perkins continues to make progress in his recovery from labrum surgery, as he threw his second bullpen session of the spring without any issues on Saturday.
Twins manager Paul Molitor watched the 15-pitch session and came away pleased with what he saw, but he cautioned that it's early in the process and there's still a good chance Perkins could open the season on the disabled list.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins manager Paul Molitor essentially revealed that veteran Ervin Santana will be the club's Opening Day starter for a second straight season, but he hasn't told the right-hander about the decision in person yet.
Santana was easily Minnesota's best starter in 2016, posting a 3.38 ERA in 30 starts. He also started on Opening Day for the first time in his career, but his outing in Baltimore was cut short because of rain after only two innings. He'll be looking for a longer outing when the Twins open the season against the Royals on April 3 at Target Field.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After posting a 3.10 ERA and strong peripheral stats in 10 starts as a rookie in 2015, the Twins had high hopes for right-hander Tyler Duffey last year.
But Duffey struggled in spring with a 7.30 ERA, and ultimately opened the year at Triple-A Rochester. It was a sign of what was to come from Duffey, who went through a rough sophomore season with the Twins, posting a 6.43 ERA in 26 starts.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins left-handed reliever Mason Melotakis sustained a mild right oblique strain before coming to camp, and he isn't ready to start throwing bullpen sessions with the rest of his teammates.
Melotakis, a hard-throwing lefty pegged as the club's No. 17 prospect by MLBPipeline.com in their most recent rankings, is competing for a spot in the bullpen, but only reached Double-A last year, so he's considered a longshot to make the Opening Day roster.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- While his rookie season didn't go quite as planned, Twins right-hander Jose Berrios is ready to move on and believes a subtle change to his windup will help him bounce back this season.
The Twins had high hopes for Berrios, who entered last year as MLBPipeline.com's No. 19 prospect, but he struggled with an 8.02 ERA in 14 starts. Berrios worked with pitching coach Neil Allen on his arm action late last season, as there was some worry he was tipping pitches, particularly his changeup; hitters could see his grip when he took the ball behind his back before his delivery. Berrios said he has cleaned that up and is feeling comfortable with his new arm path.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The 2016 season was mostly a forgettable one for Twins right-hander Phil Hughes, but he has a unique memento to remind him of what he went through with his season-ending surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome in July.
Hughes, who had his first rib removed to take pressure off the nerves in his right shoulder, kept the rib following the surgery as a keepsake. It's a souvenir from a year that saw him post a 5.95 ERA and also saw him break a bone in his left leg when he was hit above the knee by a line drive in early June.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Before Twins pitchers threw their bullpens on the first day of workouts, pitching coach Neil Allen gathered his players to explain a renewed emphasis on fastball command this spring.
As a result, Twins pitchers had to throw three of their five fastballs to the glove side for strikes before moving on to throwing three out of five for strikes to the arm side. If they failed, they had to start over again, and pitchers couldn't throw their offspeed stuff until completing the drill.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Despite coming off surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome in July, Twins right-hander Phil Hughes followed his normal offseason routine and on Wednesday threw his first official bullpen without any issues during the first day of pitcher and catcher workouts.
Hughes, who had a rib removed to relieve pressure on his right shoulder, said he completed his throwing program on the last day of the regular season, which allowed him to prepare for this year like he would any other. He threw off a mound for the first time in December, and he said Wednesday was the fifth or sixth bullpen he has completed since.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins reliever Glen Perkins threw his first bullpen session since undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in late June, and reported no issues on Tuesday.
Perkins was scheduled to throw off a mound on Friday, but pushed it back four days after feeling some discomfort in his rotator cuff on Thursday. But after working on his rotator cuff over the weekend with the help of athletic trainer Lanning Tucker, Perkins said he felt much better on Monday and threw a 15-pitch bullpen session without any problems on Tuesday. It was his first time on a mound since leaving his appearance on April 10 with his shoulder injury.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins officially opened camp on Tuesday with all 37 pitchers and catchers reporting to the CenturyLink Sports Complex, although formal workouts don't begin until Wednesday.
Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said the organization has been conducting meetings over the last two days leading up to the first workout, and that there haven't been any issues with players arriving late to camp. In fact, many position players are already working out at the complex, including Max Kepler, Byungho Park, Robbie Grossman and Jorge Polanco, even though the report date for the full squad isn't until Saturday.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- By the time the news hit that former longtime Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was diagnosed with prostate cancer, reliever Glen Perkins was the lone Twins player still working out at the CenturyLink Sports Complex on Tuesday.
Gardenhire, hired by the D-backs to be their bench coach, announced at a news conference in Arizona that he was diagnosed with the disease and will have surgery the second week of April in Minnesota. Gardenhire said doctors caught the disease early, which improves his chances of a recovery, but it still hit Perkins hard, as he lost his grandfather to prostate cancer after it spread to his bones.