Molitor, staff introduce new rules to full Twins squad

First-year manager sets tone for spring, season; GM Ryan goes over pace-of-play changes

Molitor, staff introduce new rules to full Twins squad

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Paul Molitor held his first official full-squad meeting as Twins manager Friday morning, addressing a few minor team rule changes and trying to set the tone for what he expects from his players this spring and this season.

Molitor's team rules aren't much different than former manager Ron Gardenhire's rules, but he did issue a ban on hand-held electronics and card games 30 minutes before game time.

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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 focusing on defense in battle for backup role

Power-hitting catcher worked on skills in winter ball as he looks to secure spot behind Suzuki

Pinto focusing on defense in battle for backup role

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- There's no question Josmil Pinto can hit, but the catcher is out to prove this spring that his defense has improved enough to be the Twins' backup to Kurt Suzuki.

Pinto excelled offensively at Triple-A Rochester the past two seasons, hitting a combined .288/.366/.464 with seven homers and 26 doubles in 79 games. He's also had success at the plate in the Majors over the last two years with a career .257/.339/.445 line with 11 homers and 13 doubles in 78 games.

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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

Mike Bauman

Molitor makes right first impression with Twins

Facing uphill challenge in AL Central, new skipper sets tone as full squad reports

Molitor makes right first impression with Twins

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Hall of Famer is taking on a new challenge. And as challenges go, this one may have been supersized.

Paul Molitor was known as a player for his intelligence, his diligence, his consistent level of effort. His outcomes weren't bad either. This is a man with 3,319 hits, 605 doubles and 504 stolen bases among his many credits.

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Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pressly hoping to break camp with Twins as he did in '13

Right-hander vying for bullpen spot with Minnesota

Pressly hoping to break camp with Twins as he did in '13

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Ryan Pressly will never forget his first day of live batting practice with the Twins as a Rule 5 Draft pick just two years ago.

The right-hander, who had only reached Double-A in the Red Sox organization, was thrown into a group with former American League MVPs Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau as well as Josh Willingham and Trevor Plouffe. But Pressly was able to impress that spring and ultimately stuck with the club the entire 2013 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.

Kelly at spring camp, feeling good after minor stroke

Ex-Twins manager lending assistance to Molitor

Kelly at spring camp, feeling good after minor stroke

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Former Twins manager Tom Kelly arrived at camp Thursday and said he's doing well since suffering a minor stroke in late September.

Kelly, who managed the Twins to two World Series titles in his 16 years as manager from 1986-2001, will assist manager Paul Molitor this spring, but just has to be careful not to overexert himself.

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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 says Mauer won't bat lower than third

Molitor says Mauer won't bat lower than third

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins manager Paul Molitor said he still hasn't decided where Joe Mauer will bat in the lineup this season, but that he won't hit any lower than third in the order.

Mauer mostly served as the club's No. 2 hitter early last year behind leadoff hitter Brian Dozier before the emergence of rookie Danny Santana. Santana took over as the club's leadoff hitter in early June, pushing Dozier into the two-hole and Mauer as the No. 3 hitter. Mauer ended up making 47 starts as the No. 2 hitter and 71 as the No. 3 hitter.

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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

Richard Justice

Nearing 40, Torii is more than just a good guy

Often lauded for his leadership and intangibles, veteran can still produce

Nearing 40, Torii is more than just a good guy

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Much of the discussion about Torii Hunter's remarkable career has focused on his leadership and personality and work ethic. Every once in a while, one of the best things he has done during 18 seasons in the Major Leagues gets overlooked.

"Sometimes my baseball play gets left behind," Hunter said. "I play the game. I play it the right way. I play it hard, and I put up good numbers. It's tough, because the other [stuff] is all I'm known for. I'd do that stuff anyway."

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Perkins to stay in one-inning role

Perkins to stay in one-inning role

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins manager Paul Molitor said he plans to use closer Glen Perkins in a conventional role and doesn't anticipate using him for more than one-inning saves this season.

Perkins has emerged as one of the best closers over the last two seasons, being named an All-Star both years while posting a 2.97 ERA with 143 strikeouts in 124 1/3 innings. But former manager Ron Gardenhire also used him in a traditional role, as he has 70 saves over the last two seasons, but only two of those saves were for more than three outs.

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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.

Stauffer eager to help, as starter or reliever

Stauffer eager to help, as starter or reliever

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- When Tim Stauffer was going through his options as a free agent for the first time in his career this winter, he wanted to find a team that was open to him starting or pitching in high-leverage roles.

He found the Twins to be a perfect fit -- signing a one-year deal worth $2.2 million in December -- and the club has followed through on its promise, as Stauffer is competing for the fifth spot in the rotation along with Tommy Milone, Mike Pelfrey, Alex Meyer and Trevor May.

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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.

Meyer leaves camp for family funeral

Meyer leaves camp for family funeral

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins prospect Alex Meyer left camp on Wednesday to fly home to Indiana to attend his grandfather's funeral and won't return to the club until Sunday. Meyer's grandfather, Don, died this week at age 77.

Meyer, 25, will attend the memorial service in his hometown of Greensburg, Ind., which is roughly 50 miles southeast of Indianapolis.

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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.

Stiff neck leads to startling discovery for Milone

Stiff neck leads to startling discovery for Milone

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Once the 2014 season ended, Twins left-hander Tommy Milone received a cortisone shot in his neck to help him with the stiffness that bothered him late in the season, and figured his neck would feel better with rest.

But instead of getting better, the neck never improved and got to the point where Milone couldn't even turn his head. He figured something wasn't right and saw a specialist that discovered a benign tumor in his neck, requiring surgery on Dec. 4. Milone felt a difference right away after the surgery, and was able to get back to throwing roughly two weeks later.

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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.

Race for Twins' backup catcher spot among three

Early favorite Pinto will compete with Herrmann, Fryer for role

Race for Twins' backup catcher spot among three

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins manager Paul Molitor said Tuesday the competition for the backup catcher role is essentially a three-man race among Josmil Pinto, Chris Herrmann and Eric Fryer.

Of the three, Pinto is easily the biggest offensive threat, but he has had trouble defensively behind the plate in recent years. Herrmann brings versatility because of his ability to play the outfield, but has struggled offensively in the Majors, while Fryer is known for his defense but is currently not on the 40-man roster.

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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 continues evolution into four-pitch pitcher

Veteran throws first bullpen session, working on changeup and two-seamer

Santana continues evolution into four-pitch pitcher

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Ervin Santana knows the perception of him is that he's a pitcher who relies heavily on his four-seam fastball and slider, but in reality the right-hander has added a changeup over the years and has worked to mix in a two-seamer.

Santana, who joined the Twins on a four-year deal worth $55 million this offseason, said he's fine with the characterization that he only throws fastballs and sliders, as he believes it's helped him surprise hitters in recent years.

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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 working on new signs at camp

Catchers begin going over Molitor's signals

Twins working on new signs at camp

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- While the 29 pitchers in Twins camp remained in the clubhouse, the eight catchers held their first formal meeting Tuesday morning at Hammond Stadium to talk over some basics, including going over signs.

Kurt Suzuki said the Twins are currently overhauling their signs under new manager Paul Molitor, but that it's not difficult to pick up on them. Suzuki said he expects Molitor to go more into detail once the rest of the position players report on Friday.

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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 prospect Meyer focused on developing changeup

Righty knows third pitch crucial to big league success

Twins prospect Meyer focused on developing changeup

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins prospect Alex Meyer's bread and butter has always been a fastball that can reach triple digits on the radar gun and his devastating curveball, but the 6-foot-9 right-hander has been experimenting with a changeup since last season.

Meyer, ranked as the No. 29 overall prospect by MLB.com, was reluctant to throw his changeup this time last year but has grown much more comfortable with it since learning a new grip last April from his Triple-A Rochester teammates Yohan Pino and Deolis Guerra. Meyer switched from a circle-change to a three-finger changeup to much success, as evidenced by his 3.52 ERA with 153 strikeouts in 130 1/3 innings at Rochester last 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.

On first day of workouts, Molitor lays out new spring plan

On first day of workouts, Molitor lays out new spring plan

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- More than three months after officially being named Twins manager, Hall of Famer Paul Molitor took the field on the first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers at the CenturyLink Sports Complex on Monday.

Molitor, who replaced Ron Gardenhire on Nov. 4, worked all winter with bench coach Joe Vavra to create a blueprint for how he'd like to run Spring Training and was excited he's now able to start implementing it.

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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

Pipeline Perspectives: Twins own MLB's top farm system

Buxton, Sano, Meyer help Minnesota edge Cubs' crew of prospects

Pipeline Perspectives: Twins own MLB's top farm system

There's a good amount of subjectivity regarding baseball prospects. With the evaluation of talent being in the eye of the beholder, finding consensus is often difficult. Even Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLBPipeline.com don't always see eye to eye. They discuss their viewpoints regularly in a feature called Pipeline Perspectives. Submit a topic for them to debate.

It's a question we're often asked, especially this time of year. We put out the Top 100 Prospects list, and we'll be rolling out Top 30 lists for each organization, so it only stands to reason that people want to know what we think the answer to this question is:

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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.

Hughes on track for Twins' Opening Day start

Righty named tentative starter for 2015 opener after breakout year

Hughes on track for Twins' Opening Day start

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins manager Paul Molitor wasted no time naming Phil Hughes as the club's tentative Opening Day starter, as he made the announcement during his first media session on the day pitchers and catchers started their first workouts on Monday.

Molitor said it isn't official quite yet, but that Hughes is currently lined up to start on Opening Day against the Tigers on April 6 at Comerica Park.

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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.

New pitching coach Allen gets first live look at arms

Coach excited to finally see pitchers in action at workouts

New pitching coach Allen gets first live look at arms

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After watching plenty of video this offseason to learn more about the club's pitchers, new Twins pitching coach Neil Allen was excited to finally see pitchers in action on the first day of official workouts between pitchers and catchers on Monday.

Of the 29 pitchers in camp, 15 threw bullpens under Allen's watchful eye, including Phil Hughes, Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing, Mike Pelfrey, Kyle Gibson, Casey Fien, Jose Berrios, Alex Meyer, Tim Stauffer and Ryan Pressly. Allen, who previously served as the Triple-A pitching coach for the Rays, was impressed by what he saw on the first day.

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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, Twins appear on board with pace of game changes

Ryan, Twins appear on board with pace of game changes

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Major League Baseball is taking steps to address the pace of game this season, and the Twins appear on board with the current changes that were announced Friday.

Three major changes will be implemented, including having umpires enforcing the batter's box rule to have the hitter keep one foot in the box with a few exceptions, timers at the ballpark between innings and during other breaks in the action to keep the game moving and updates to the challenge system with managers now making challenges from the dugout.

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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.

Grand reopening of Twins' spring home draws huge crowd

More than 4,000 fans attend open house for renovated CenturyLink Sports Complex

Grand reopening of Twins' spring home draws huge crowd

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins held their grand reopening of the newly renovated CenturyLink Sports Complex on Sunday, with more than 4,000 fans attending an open house to see much of the upgrades to the spring facility the organization has called home since 1991.

Twins fans were greeted by players Joe Mauer, Glen Perkins, Torii Hunter and Brian Dozier as they walked up to the new open-air entrance to the ballpark behind home plate. It came on the same day Twins pitchers and catchers reported for Spring Training, and marked the completion of the $48.5 million renovations to the complex that included two phases.

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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.

Gardenhire declines position in Twins' organization

GM Ryan says former manager taking year off

Gardenhire declines position in Twins' organization

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was offered a position within in the organization this offseason, but declined it and will take the year off, Twins general manager Terry Ryan said Sunday.

Gardenhire, who lives near the club's Spring Training complex in Fort Myers, has been in contact with Ryan, but indicated he's looking into finding another job as a manager down the road and wants to take time off this year. Gardenhire served as Minnesota's manager from 2002-14, going 1,068-1,039 with six division titles in his 13 years at the helm.

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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.

Camp opening signals start of Molitor managerial era

First-year Twins skipper brings familiarity, emphasis on running game

Camp opening signals start of Molitor managerial era

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Spring Training is officially here for the Twins, as all 37 pitchers and catchers reported on Sunday, with the first official team workouts slated for Monday at the newly renovated CenturyLink Sports Complex.

Position players don't report until Friday, with the first full-squad workout scheduled for Satuday. But several position players have already started working out at the complex, including Torii Hunter, Joe Mauer, Brian Dozier, Trevor Plouffe and Aaron Hicks, as well as top prospects such as Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco 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' questions come down to position competition

Battles in the rotation, at short and in center field will be settled at camp

Twins' questions come down to position competition

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Spring Training is finally here, as Twins pitchers and catchers are ready to descend upon the club's renovated CenturyLink Sports Complex on Sunday, with the first workouts set for Monday.

Just like renovated Hammond Stadium, it'll be a blend of old and new at camp, as St. Paul native and Hall of Famer Paul Molitor is the new manager. He leads a coaching staff that includes some familiar names, such as hitting coach Tom Brunansky, bench coach Joe Vavra and bullpen coach Eddie Guardado, but also includes some new to the organization, such as pitching coach Neil Allen and first-base coach Butch Davis.

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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 have plenty of options for back of rotation

Milone, Pelfrey and Stauffer top list of candidates

Twins have plenty of options for back of rotation

MINNEAPOLIS -- One of the biggest battles in camp for the Twins this spring figures to be for the fifth spot in the rotation, and the Twins aren't lacking in options.

With the struggles of the starting rotation over the last four seasons, building rotation depth has been a goal of the organization, and general manager Terry Ryan believes the Twins finally have capable options at the back of their rotation. With Phil Hughes, Kyle Gibson and Ricky Nolasco considered rotation locks and with the signing of Ervin Santana to a four-year deal worth $55 million, there is essentially just one open 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.

Position battles highlight Twins camp

Starting jobs and rotation spots up for grabs as Minnesota begins Spring Training

Position battles highlight Twins camp

MINNEAPOLIS -- One of the more intriguing facets of every Spring Training is the competition for roster spots, and it'll be no different for the Twins this spring.

The main positional battles for the Twins will be at shortstop, center field and backup catcher, while there will also be competition for the fifth starter in the rotation and for spots in the bullpen.

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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.

Inbox: What are the Twins' plans for Escobar?

Beat reporter Rhett Bollinger fields fans' questions

Inbox: What are the Twins' plans for Escobar?

MINNEAPOLIS -- Spring Training is nearly here, as Twins pitchers and catchers are set to report to the newly renovated CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers, Fla. on Sunday.

It was a busy offseason for the Twins, who saw Hall of Famer Paul Molitor named manager and fill out the rest of his coaching staff. The Twins also added Ervin Santana, Torii Hunter and Tim Stauffer via free agency.

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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.

Top Twins prospects look to open eyes in Spring Training

Minnesota has six players ranked in Top 100, including No. 1 overall Buxton

Top Twins prospects look to open eyes in Spring Training

MINNEAPOLIS -- It's no secret the Twins have one of the best farm systems in baseball.

The Twins had six players ranked among MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects list, including Byron Buxton as the No. 1 overall prospect for a second straight 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.