Molitor, Twins open Grapefruit slate vs. Red Sox

Molitor, Twins open Grapefruit slate vs. Red Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After 10 days of workouts and an exhibition game against the University of Minnesota, the Twins are ready to open Grapefruit League action against the Red Sox on Thursday at Hammond Stadium at 6:05 p.m. CT on MLB.TV.

Right-hander Kyle Gibson will take the mound looking to build on his first full year in the Majors last season, a campaign that saw some ups and downs. Gibson went 13-12 with a 4.47 ERA in 179 1/3 innings, but he had an 11.04 ERA in his losses, so he'll be looking to work on his consistency this season. He's expected to go two innings or throw 30 pitches on Thursday.

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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.

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.

Plouffe out with illness as Twins open full-squad workouts

Plouffe out with illness as Twins open full-squad workouts

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins held their first day of full-squad workouts on Saturday with one small hitch -- third baseman Trevor Plouffe was held out of action due to illness.

The Twins began the day with their customary rapid-fire infield drills dubbed "Good Morning America" and saw live batting practice between pitchers and hitters for the first time this spring. Plouffe, however, was absent from the drills but is expected to return soon.

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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.

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.

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.

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.