Hunter offers mentorship to Twins youngsters

Back with Minnesota, veteran outfielder enjoys giving back

Hunter offers mentorship to Twins youngsters

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The scene in the far back-left corner of the Twins' clubhouse at Hammond Stadium is nearly the same every morning.

There's 18-year big league veteran Torii Hunter sitting forward in his chair, fully engaged with Twins youngsters Aaron Hicks and Byron Buxton, giving the two of them advice and answering any and all questions the two of them have.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kepler's double gives Twins offensive boost

Milone pitches two scoreless in loss to Rays

Kepler's double gives Twins offensive boost

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Jake Odorizzi made his first start of the spring for the Rays in their 2-1 win over the Twins on Friday at Charlotte Sports Park, and he allowed two walks and no runs in one inning.

"It was exciting," Odorizzi said. "It was good to be back out there again and face some hitters in game situations."

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Milone looks strong in first spring outing

Lefty ready for new start, competing for Twins' fifth rotation spot

Milone looks strong in first spring outing

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Before left-hander Tommy Milone took the mound against the Rays in his Grapefruit League debut on Friday, Twins general manager Terry Ryan admitted Milone was one of the players he was most anxious to see this spring.

Milone, 28, was acquired by the Twins from the A's before last year's Trade Deadline, but he struggled during his time in Minnesota. The lefty, who had a 3.55 ERA in 16 starts with Oakland last year before the trade, had a 7.06 ERA in six appearances with the Twins. Milone, though, was pitching with what was later found out to be a benign tumor in his neck, but he's now healthy and competing for the fifth spot in the rotation.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Graham throws two scoreless innings in spring debut

Rule 5 Draft pick feels confident about this season

Graham throws two scoreless innings in spring debut

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Given what's at stake, being a Rule 5 Draft pick can be tough mentally for a player competing for a roster spot in Spring Training.

After all, Rule 5 Draft picks have to stay on the active roster for the entire year or be offered back to their original club. But Twins right-hander J.R. Graham, who was acquired in the Rule 5 Draft from the Braves, said he actually feels relaxed this spring despite the pressure that comes with being in his position.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Molitor will continue strategy on infield shifts

Twins manager wants opposing batters to have to adjust

Molitor will continue strategy on infield shifts

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Paul Molitor says he won't be shy about letting data help him make decisions during a game in his first season as Twins manager.

He helped the Twins implement more infield shifts than ever last year when he served as a coach under former manager Ron Gardenhire, as they went from shifting 87 times in 2003 to 553 times in '14, according to data available from Inside Edge. And it's a trend Molitor will continue this season.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pinto out with right quad strain

Pinto out with right quad strain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Twins catcher Josmil Pinto is being held of action with tenderness in a hamstring and is day to day, Twins general manager Terry Ryan said Friday.

Pinto injured the hamstring while participating in catching drills this week, but Ryan indicated the injury is not serious and he wasn't even sure what hamstring is bothering Pinto. Ryan later clarified that the injury is a right quad strain.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins use balanced attack, top Red Sox in slugfest

Hicks, Escobar, Santana, Dozier lead the way; Gibson strong in first start

Twins use balanced attack, top Red Sox in slugfest

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins opened Grapefruit League play by outlasting the Red Sox in a 9-8 slugfest Thursday night at newly renovated Hammond Stadium.

Eduardo Escobar and Aaron Hicks paced the offense for the Twins with two RBIs apiece, while Danny Santana, Brian Dozier and Kurt Suzuki each added two hits. Right-hander Kyle Gibson fared well for Minnesota, giving up one run on two hits and a walk over two innings. The Red Sox scored their lone run against Gibson in the second on a two-out RBI double from Jackie Bradley Jr.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gibson works on changeup in first spring start

Twins righty allows one run over two innings, strikes out two vs. Red Sox

Gibson works on changeup in first spring start

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Pitchers often use Spring Training as a platform to work on a specific pitch, and Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson isn't any different.

The sinkerballer has been working to improve his changeup to go along with his slider and little-used curveball, which he feels will be important for him in his second full season in Minnesota's rotation. Gibson threw his sinker 62.6 percent of the time last year, while mixing in his slider (21.8 percent), changeup (12.5 percent) and curveball (3.2 percent), according to FanGraphs.com.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ryan believes Twins can contend in 2015

Ryan believes Twins can contend in 2015

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After four straight years with at least 92 losses, Twins general manager Terry Ryan is ready for the Twins to turn the page this season and get back to their competitive ways.

Despite the fact the Twins finished in last place in the American League Central with a 70-92 record last season, Ryan said it doesn't stop him from believing his team can contend this year.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tonkin determined to show he can stick with Twins

Tonkin determined to show he can stick with Twins

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After spending parts of the last two seasons in the Majors, Michael Tonkin knows how important this year is for him and he's determined to show he can be a capable late-inning reliever.

Tonkin, 25, posted a 3.26 ERA with 26 strikeouts and nine walks over 30 1/3 innings with the Twins over the past two seasons, but he spent most of his time at Triple-A Rochester. The 6-foot-7 right-hander served as the closer during his time at Triple-A, registering 24 saves to go along with a 3.48 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 77 2/3 innings.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Molitor goes with regulars in first Grapefruit lineup

Molitor goes with regulars in first Grapefruit lineup

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- New Twins manager Paul Molitor didn't waste any time getting his regulars into the lineup for the Grapefruit League opener against the Red Sox, as he penciled in nearly every projected Twins starter Thursday night.

It could provide some insight into what the lineup could look like on Opening Day, although Kennys Vargas, who is expected to be the club's regular designated hitter, was on the bench after starting in Wednesday's exhibition against the University of Minnesota. Eduardo Escobar, who is competing with Danny Santana for the starting shortstop job, made the start at DH in Vargas' absence.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

MLB Pipeline checks in from Twins camp

Buxton, the game's top prospect, arrives to camp as center of attention

MLB Pipeline checks in from Twins camp

Every Spring Training, prospects get a chance to show what they can do as they prepare for the season ahead. Some are competing for jobs in big league camp, others are prepping for the season as they vie for spots at Minor League affiliates up and down a team's system. MLBPipeline.com will be visiting all 30 camps this spring. Today, we check in on the Minnesota Twins.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Minnesota Twins have something very good going on in their farm system. With six prospects on the Top 100 list, they are generally considered to have among the top two or three farm systems in baseball. They also know that placement on prospect rankings doesn't mean a whole lot in the big picture.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Berrios, Buxton impressive vs. Gophers

Berrios, Buxton impressive vs. Gophers

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Top pitching prospect Jose Berrios showed off his impressive stuff, registering four strikeouts over two innings in his Spring Training debut in an exhibition against the University of Minnesota -- a 3-1 Twins win -- on Wednesday night at Hammond Stadium.

Berrios, ranked as the No. 32 prospect by MLB.com, gave up one unearned run on one hit while repeatedly hitting 95 mph on the radar gun and getting swings and misses with his curveball, slider and changeup.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Elbow healed, Sano returns to action

Elbow healed, Sano returns to action

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After missing roughly a year following Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, prospect Miguel Sano made his return to game action against the University of Minnesota on Wednesday night at Hammond Stadium.

Sano, ranked as the No. 11 prospect by MLB.com, injured the elbow during an exhibition game in late February 2014 and underwent season-ending surgery on March 12. But after several months of rehab, Sano's elbow feels fine, and he was given the start at third base against the Gophers, batting fifth. He went 1-for-1 with a single and a walk in his first Spring Training game since 2013. The Twins won, 3-1.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Victory over alma mater sweet for Perkins

Closer throws perfect frame in exhibition vs. University of Minnesota

Victory over alma mater sweet for Perkins

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It was just an exhibition game to open Spring Training for the Twins, but for closer Glen Perkins it was a memorable experience, as he got to face off against his alma mater, the University of Minnesota, on Wednesday night at Hammond Stadium.

Perkins, who was drafted by the Twins in the first round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft after two seasons at Minnesota, entered in the third inning and made quick work, throwing a perfect inning on just eight pitches. The outing helped him accomplish his goal of not letting any Gophers have anything to brag about back home.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Source: Twins, Dozier to discuss extension

Source: Twins, Dozier to discuss extension

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins are set to meet with second baseman Brian Dozier's agent on Wednesday and could discuss a possible extension, a Major League source confirmed to MLB.com on Tuesday.

The Twins, however, have not commented on the situation and a team official said nothing is imminent.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins tab Berrios, Gibson for spring openers

Twins tab Berrios, Gibson for spring openers

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins announced their probable pitchers for early Spring Training action, including No. 5 prospect Jose Berrios getting the nod against the University of Minnesota on Wednesday, along with right-hander Kyle Gibson starting the Grapefruit League opener against the Red Sox on Thursday.

Left-hander Tommy Milone will start against the Rays in Port Charlotte on Friday, right-hander Phil Hughes will take the mound against the Red Sox at JetBlue Park on Sunday, while right-hander Ervin Santana will make his Twins debut against the Orioles on Sunday. Right-hander Ricky Nolasco will start on Monday against the Pirates in Bradenton.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Minny reunion: Torii, Garnett are talk of town

Star athletes return to Twin Cities where professional careers took off

Minny reunion: Torii, Garnett are talk of town

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Even Torii Hunter is amazed by the parallels between his return to the Twins and Kevin Garnett's recent homecoming with the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves.

Hunter, 39, was a first-round pick by the Twins in the 1993 First-Year Player Draft, playing in Minnesota from 1997-2007, while Garnett, 38, was a first-rounder with the T-Wolves in 1995, and he also played in Minnesota until 2007.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins agree to terms with 25 players for 2015

Twins agree to terms with 25 players for 2015

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins agreed to terms with 25 players for the 2015 season, the club announced on Tuesday. All 40 players on the active roster are now under contract for this season.

Minnesota agreed to terms with 13 pitchers: A.J. Achter, Logan Darnell, Kyle Gibson, J.R. Graham, Trevor May, Alex Meyer, Lester Oliveros, Ryan Pressly, Stephen Pryor, Caleb Thielbar, Aaron Thompson, Michael Tonkin and Jason Wheeler; two catchers: Josmil Pinto and Chris Herrmann; six infielders: Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar, Jorge Polanco, Miguel Sano, Danny Santana and Kennys Vargas; and four outfielders: Oswaldo Arcia, Aaron Hicks, Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins recuperate from clubhouse bug

Five hit by flu back in action day before exhibition vs. University of Minnesota

Twins recuperate from clubhouse bug

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The flu hit the Twins' clubhouse in recent days, but all five players who missed time due to illness on Monday -- right-hander Trevor May, catcher Kurt Suzuki, center fielder Byron Buxton, left fielder Oswaldo Arcia and center fielder Jordan Schafer -- returned to action on Tuesday.

Third baseman Trevor Plouffe was held out of action late last week with the same illness before returning on Monday.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Santana looking to settle in as Twins' shortstop

Santana looking to settle in as Twins' shortstop

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Danny Santana did everything asked of him as a rookie last season, and now he's looking forward to settling back to his natural position. Santana, 24, learned center field on the fly last year for the Twins, but he is playing exclusively at shortstop in Spring Training.

Santana, who signed with the Twins as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2007, finished seventh in the American League's Rookie of the Year Award balloting. He batted .319 with 20 stolen bases, and he did so despite roaming all over the diamond as a rookie.

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Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ryan would gladly mentor Torii as future GM

Ryan would gladly mentor Torii as future GM

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Some day, Torii Hunter would like to go from signing contracts to offering them. Hunter, one of the longest tenured players in the Major Leagues, told USA Today recently that he'd like to be a general manager one day, and he has some influential figures in his corner.

Twins executive vice president and general manager Terry Ryan has always had a soft space in his heart for Hunter, and he brought the veteran back for one last tour with Minnesota this year. And if Hunter would like to some day take over a team, Ryan would love to help him.

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Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Short-handed Twins get work in on defense

Short-handed Twins get work in on defense

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins had a short-handed squad on Monday, but they did their best to iron out the fundamentals. Five of the team's players were missing from practice due to illness, but the club still practiced popups and cutoffs on the big field at Hammond Stadium.

Manager Paul Molitor said his players got some important work in on Monday. Things got scrambled a bit because of some of the missing players, but the Twins practiced on prioritizing who should call for any fly ball. Molitor said that he only saw one mistake -- a catcher calling off a corner infielder on a popup -- but he was generally pleased with the day's results.

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Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Oliva reflects on Minoso's life and career

Former Twins great remembers fellow Cuban who died Sunday

Oliva reflects on Minoso's life and career

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The cherished fraternity of all-time great Cuban ballplayers suffered a serious loss Sunday, when Minnie Minoso died. Tony Oliva, another all-time great Cuban, was saddened to hear of Minoso's passing and shared his memories of him on Sunday.

"I don't know if he was better than me, but in my book, when they talk about the best Cuban ballplayers, I always say Minoso," said Oliva of his pioneering peer and countryman. "I know I've got all the batting championships and all that stuff, but he did all that stuff, too. He didn't win the batting championships, but if you look at his records and his numbers, you know he was a great ballplayer."

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Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins counting down to first Spring Training game

No decision on starting pitcher for Wednesday's Grapefruit League opener

Twins counting down to first Spring Training game

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins are moving closer to their first game of the Grapefruit League season, and manager Paul Molitor is happy with his team's progress. The Twins will play the University of Minnesota Wednesday and will square off against the Red Sox at home on Thursday.

Molitor didn't want to announce his pitching plans for either of those games Sunday, and he said that Alex Meyer would've pitched Wednesday were it not for his family situation. Meyer had to leave camp for a few days to attend his grandfather's funeral, and he returned to the fold on Sunday.

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Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Meyer returns to camp with heavy heart

Meyer returns to camp with heavy heart

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Alex Meyer returned to Spring Training camp Sunday with a heavy heart after spending a few days with family following the loss of his grandfather. Don Meyer, 77, passed away earlier in the week, and Alex went home to Greensburg, Ind., to attend his memorial service.

Meyer, 25, said he was extraordinarily grateful to have a solid support system with the Twins, and he also said that many of his coaches and teammates sent flowers as a token of respect. Now, Meyer is back in the fold and ready to pitch, but his family situation will never be far from his mind.

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Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

With concussion behind him, Mauer ready to bounce back

Six-time All-Star excited for Twins' new-look roster in 2015

With concussion behind him, Mauer ready to bounce back

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- As Joe Mauer looks out from his usual locker in the middle of the clubhouse at renovated Hammond Stadium, he can't help but notice the new faces in Twins camp.

There's his former teammate and free-agent addition Torii Hunter situated in the back corner of the locker room to his left, while fellow free-agent signee Ervin Santana's locker is just across the room from Mauer. Beyond that, there's the manager's office for Hall of Famer Paul Molitor as well as the coaches' dressing room for new hires such as Neil Allen and Eddie Guardado.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pelfrey faces hitters for first time since elbow surgery

Right-hander encouraged by session, hoping to win spot in Twins' rotation

Pelfrey faces hitters for first time since elbow surgery

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins right-hander Mike Pelfrey threw to hitters for the first time Saturday since undergoing elbow surgery and said everything felt fine.

Pelfrey, who underwent season-ending surgery to repair pressure on his right ulnar nerve May 2, threw to a group of hitters that included sluggers Kennys Vargas and Miguel Sano. Pelfrey was able to keep his sinker down and induced a good number of ground balls while his former college coach from Wichita State, Gene Stephenson, watched.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.