Inbox: Santana's dip in production a normal correction?

Beat reporter Rhett Bollinger answers Twins fans' questions

Inbox: Santana's dip in production a normal correction?

After starting out the year with a 1-6 record, the Twins have bounced back to win five of their last eight, including series wins over the Royals and Indians.

The offense has yet to click and the defense has looked shaky, but the Twins have seen some solid pitching performances from starters such as Tommy Milone, Trevor May and Mike Pelfrey.

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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's seven scoreless throttle Royals

Pelfrey's seven scoreless throttle Royals

KANSAS CITY -- Right-hander Mike Pelfrey threw seven shutout innings, while Brian Dozier and Kennys Vargas each delivered RBI singles in a three-run first as the Twins cruised to a 3-0 win over the Royals on Wednesday night.

The Royals' three-game winning streak was snapped in the finale after taking the first two games of the series at Kauffman Stadium.

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

Killer, Kirby are early leaders on Twins' Franchise Four ballot

Killer, Kirby are early leaders on Twins' Franchise Four ballot

KANSAS CITY -- Major League Baseball released the first voting update of the Franchise Four for all 30 clubs, including the Twins, on Wednesday. The Franchise Four allows fans to vote for the most impactful players who best represent each MLB franchise.

For the Twins, the top four leading vote-getters in order are Harmon Killebrew, Kirby Puckett, Rod Carew and Tony Oliva. Of the four, Oliva is the only player who hasn't been inducted into the Hall of Fame, as he fell just one vote shy of election via the Golden Era Ballot in December.

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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 returns to form with first win since 2013

Pelfrey returns to form with first win since 2013

KANSAS CITY -- Twins right-hander Mike Pelfrey insisted throughout Spring Training that he's finally healthy and ready to prove he can be a quality starting pitcher.

Pelfrey almost didn't get that chance, as he was moved to the bullpen shortly before the start of the season, only to join the rotation due to Ervin Santana's 80-game suspension. But Pelfrey has made the most of it so far, and it was evident on Wednesday night, as he turned his best performance in a Twins uniform in a 3-0 win over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

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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.

Torii nabbed trying to steal home against Royals

Torii nabbed trying to steal home against Royals

KANSAS CITY -- With the bases loaded and two out in the second inning of Wednesday night's 3-0 win over the Royals, Twins outfielder Torii Hunter saw right-hander Jeremy Guthrie go into the windup and attempted a straight steal of home.

Hunter tried to catch Guthrie off-guard, but Guthrie was able to throw home to catcher Salvador Perez just in time to get Hunter at the plate to end the inning. Hunter got a nod from manager Paul Molitor to attempt the steal after he timed Guthrie's delivery and decided to take a chance.

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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.

Hughes ready for battle of aces against King Felix

Hughes ready for battle of aces against King Felix

Twins right-hander Phil Hughes has already faced off against Tigers ace David Price and White Sox ace Chris Sale early this season, and it won't get any easier when he matches up against Mariners ace Felix Hernandez in the series opener on Friday night at Safeco Field. Both clubs have an off-day on Thursday before the start of the three-game set.

Three things to know about this game

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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.

Duensing's rehab starts with successful catch session

Duensing's rehab starts with successful catch session

KANSAS CITY -- Twins reliever Brian Duensing, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right intercostal, started his throwing program on Wednesday at Target Field.

Duensing, on the DL since Friday, played catch without any issues. He'll continue playing catch and then will move onto long toss before ultimately getting back on a mound. He's eligible to come off the DL on May 2, but there's no timetable for his return until he throws his first bullpen session.

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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' four-run sixth isn't enough to slow Royals

Twins' four-run sixth isn't enough to slow Royals

KANSAS CITY -- Third baseman Mike Moustakas singled in the go-ahead run in a two-run eighth-inning rally that lifted the Royals to a 6-5 win over the Twins in a seesaw game on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Salvador Perez started the rally with a single, and pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson scooted to third on rookie Paulo Orla ndo's single. After Orlando stole second, Christian Colon grounded out to second, scoring Dyson with the tying run.

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

Twins' bullpen stumbles with game in balance

Twins' bullpen stumbles with game in balance

KANSAS CITY -- It was a bad night for the Twins' bullpen, as left-hander Tommy Milone exited with a two-run lead with two outs in the sixth, but a combination of four relievers couldn't preserve it in a 6-5 loss to the Royals on Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium.

It started when right-hander Blaine Boyer quickly gave up an RBI double to Christian Colon on the first pitch in relief of Milone, and it ultimately ended with closer Glen Perkins giving up a go-ahead RBI single to Mike Moustakas with two outs in the eighth as part of a two-run inning for Kansas City.

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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.

Suzuki avoids injury after being struck on foot

Suzuki avoids injury after being struck on foot

KANSAS CITY -- Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki, who was hit on his right foot with a foul ball off the bat of Oswaldo Arcia while standing in the on-deck circle on Monday, felt fine on Tuesday and was in the lineup against the Royals.

Twins manager Paul Molitor said he wanted to make sure Suzuki didn't have any swelling in his foot before putting him in the lineup, but after talking to Suzuki, the skipper felt he was ready to go.

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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.

Bats, defense can't rescue Gibson in loss to Royals

Bats, defense can't rescue Gibson in loss to Royals

KANSAS CITY -- Newest Royals Edinson Volquez and Kendrys Morales continued their strong starts in keying a 7-1 win over the Twins on Monday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Volquez turned in seven strong innings, allowing just five hits and one run while lowering his ERA to 1.99.

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

Twins' miscues costly in leading to big frames

Twins' miscues costly in leading to big frames

KANSAS CITY -- After winning four of five to close out their homestand against the Royals and Indians, the Twins were hoping their miscues that cost them early in the season were behind them.

But they showed up again in Monday's 7-1 loss to the Royals, as the Twins' committed several blunders at Kauffman Stadium. The defense allowed two runs to score via wild pitches, left fielder Oswaldo Arcia dropped a routine fly ball in left field to start a three-run rally in the sixth and a shallow pop fly dropped just beyond the infield to allow another run to score in a three-run eighth.

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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 regain rookie form at plate

Santana looking to regain rookie form at plate

KANSAS CITY -- It's still too early to call it a sophomore slump, but Twins shortstop Danny Santana has scuffled at the plate after an impressive rookie year.

Santana was one of the club's better players last season, hitting .319/.353/.472 with 41 extra-base hits and 20 stolen bases in 101 games. But through his first 10 games this year, the club's leadoff hitter was batting just .195/.195/.220 with one extra-base hit, no walks and one stolen base entering Monday's 7-1 loss to the Royals, where he went 1-for-4.

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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 pitch helps May to career-best effort vs. Tribe

Starter credits two-seam fastball for one-run effort

New pitch helps May to career-best effort vs. Tribe

MINNEAPOLIS -- Considering where the Twins were in Trevor May's last start in the home opener on Monday, it ended up being a strong homestand for a club that started off the year by going 1-5 on the road.

The Twins lost in May's previous outing to fall to 1-6 on the year, but rallied to win four of five games against the previously unbeaten Royals and the Indians, including a 7-2 win over Cleveland in the series finale on Sunday behind perhaps the best start of May's young career.

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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.

May tosses gem as Twins heat up on Indians

May tosses gem as Twins heat up on Indians

MINNEAPOLIS -- Trevor May turned in arguably the best outing of his young career, and was backed by a three-run homer from Torii Hunter to give the Twins a 7-2 win over the Indians on Sunday afternoon at Target Field.

May, making his 11th career start, went six innings, allowing just one run on four hits with no walks and four strikeouts. It was first time in his career he went at least six innings and gave up fewer than three runs. It helped the Twins to their second straight series win after also taking two of three from the Royals this week. More >

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. 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.

Nolasco throws with no issues, injury rehab on track

Right-hander will start Class A assignment Saturday

Nolasco throws with no issues, injury rehab on track

MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Ricky Nolasco, who is on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation, progressed to throwing off a mound without any issues on Sunday and will start a rehab assignment with Class A Cedar Rapids on Saturday.

Nolasco, on the DL retroactive to April 9, previously played long toss this week before moving on to throwing a bullpen session on Sunday. There's still no exact timetable for his return, but everything went well enough that he's ready to take the next step to make a rehab start.

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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.

Hughes' solid start foiled as Twins fall to Indians

Hughes' solid start foiled as Twins fall to Indians

MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Danny Salazar struck out 10 batters in his first start of the season, and was backed by a solo homer from catcher Roberto Perez to help lead the Indians to a 4-2 win over the Twins on Saturday afternoon at Target Field.

"That was really impressive," Perez said. "That was the Danny I know from past years. He was attacking the zone early. He was really aggressive with his fastball. He was overpowering those guys, and then he worked with that splitty off his fastball. He was really effective."

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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.

Boyer bounces back with strong outing

Boyer bounces back with strong outing

MINNEAPOLIS -- After starting out the season with a 15.00 ERA in four relief appearances, Twins reliever Blaine Boyer bounced back with strong outings on Friday and Saturday, and said it came after tweaking his mechanics.

Boyer, who was signed to a Minor League deal before the season, made the Twins after being the club's best reliever in Spring Training. But it didn't carry over into the season, as he allowed at least one run in three of his first four appearances, including three runs without recording an out on Sunday.

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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.

Do not adjust your TVs: Joe Mauer has grown a beard

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Do not adjust your TVs: Joe Mauer has grown a beard

Have no fear, good citizens of the world, there is nothing to be alarmed about. Sure, you may have turned on a Twins game sometime in the last week and noticed some bearded individual striding to the plate under Joe Mauer's name.

You may have thought about alerting the authorities to the imposter in their midst. You may even have considered running for the nearest 1950s bomb shelter because clearly the invasion of the pod people had begun. I mean, yes, beards have spread across Major League faces like an invasive disease, but surely Mauer and his corn-fed farm boy sideburns would be spared, right? 

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Plouffe's 11th-inning blast lifts Twins to 3rd straight

Plouffe's 11th-inning blast lifts Twins to 3rd straight

MINNEAPOLIS -- Trevor Plouffe connected on a walk-off solo homer in the 11th inning to give the Twins a 3-2 win over the Indians on Friday night at Target Field.

Plouffe's blast came on a 3-1 cutter from Indians right-hander Bryan Shaw, and gave the Twins their third straight win. It helped atone for the Twins' inability to come through with runners in scoring position in the ninth and 10th innings.

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. 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.

Extra hitting work pays off for Plouffe

Third baseman shakes off slow start to season, swats walk-off homer in 11th

Extra hitting work pays off for Plouffe

MINNEAPOLIS -- As Trevor Plouffe walked up to the plate in the bottom of the 11th inning against Indians reliever Bryan Shaw on Friday night, all he had to do was look up at the scoreboard to see how much he's struggled in the early going this year.

Plouffe entered the at-bat hitting .118 with one homer and one RBI in 34 at-bats, but with just one swing, he gave the Twins a 3-2 win with a walk-off homer. It was the third career walk-off hit for Plouffe and gave the Twins their third straight victory.

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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.

Duensing lands on DL, Twins recall Thielbar

Duensing lands on DL, Twins recall Thielbar

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins placed left-handed reliever Brian Duensing on the 15-day disabled list with a right intercostal strain on Friday, and recalled fellow left-hander Caleb Thielbar from Triple-A Rochester to take his place on the roster.

Duensing said he felt something in his side while pitching on Monday, and it worsened while pitching in the ninth inning of Thursday's game against the Royals. The lefty struggled in the outing, allowing two runs on three hits while recording just one out. It caused Duensing's ERA to rise to 7.36 in 3 2/3 innings 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.

Glen Perkins has strong opinions about toilet paper

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Glen Perkins has strong opinions about toilet paper

As humanity's history has shown, there are two kinds of people who inhabit this world: People who know how to hang a toilet paper roll, and people who don't. Unfortunately, Glen Perkins is one of the latter, as proven by this tweet from Friday afternoon. 

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Nolasco tentatively slated to throw off mound

Nolasco tentatively slated to throw off mound

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins right-hander Ricky Nolasco, who is on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation, began his throwing program on Wednesday. He is tentatively scheduled to throw off the mound on Sunday, manager Paul Molitor said on Thursday.

Nolasco, on the DL retroactive to April 9, played long toss on Wednesday and Thursday without any issues.

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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' offense turns corner in set with Royals

Twins' offense turns corner in set with Royals

MINNEAPOLIS -- After being routed in the home opener against the Royals on Monday, the Twins were 1-6 and still reeling after a frustrating first week of the season.

But they bounced back, winning two straight against previously-unbeaten Kansas City, including an 8-5 win in the rubber game on Thursday afternoon that saw Minnesota post season high totals in both hits (14) and runs. It was the first series victory of the season and it came against a club that entered the series with a 6-0 record.

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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.

Mauer's 3 RBIs help Twins foil Royals

Mauer's 3 RBIs help Twins foil Royals

MINNEAPOLIS -- Kennys Vargas and Kurt Suzuki both connected on two-run homers, while Joe Mauer added three RBIs to help lead the Twins to an 8-5 win over the Royals on Thursday afternoon at Target Field. It gave the Minnesota its first series win of the season, and handed Kansas City a second straight loss after a 7-0 start.

Left-hander Tommy Milone improved to 2-0, allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks over 5 1/3 innings. He served up a two-run homer to Lorenzo Cain in the first, but Milone settled in after that. The Royals scored their third run off Milone in the third on an RBI double from Salvador Perez to score Cain.

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