FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Shortstop Tim Beckham, competing for a utility role, doubled and tripled to help lead the Rays to a 3-1 win over the Twins in the Grapefruit League opener for both teams Friday night at Hammond Stadium.
Byungho Park paced the offense for Minnesota, going 2-for-2 with a double off the right-field wall. Park, who was designated for assignment shortly before Spring Training, is competing with Kennys Vargas and Ben Paulsen to be the Twins' designated hitter.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Kyle Gibson, who drastically changed his workout routine this offseason to improve his delivery, came away pleased with how everything felt in his Grapefruit League debut in the Twins' opener on Friday night at Hammond Stadium, a 3-1 loss to the Rays.
Gibson looked sharp, hitting 94 mph with his fastball multiple times as he tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings with two strikeouts, throwing 22 of his 29 pitches for strikes. But more than the results, Gibson was happy that his new routine, which includes throwing with weighted balls and a balloon-shaped ball called a connection ball, led to him feeling better on the mound.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After being designated for assignment on Feb. 3 and subsequently not getting selected on waivers, Byungho Park knows how much this spring could mean for his future.
Although Park isn't on the Twins' 40-man roster, he's getting a long look this spring to be the club's everyday designated hitter, competing with Kennys Vargas and fellow non-roster invitee Ben Paulsen. Park made a strong opening statement in Minnesota's Grapefruit League opener, a 3-1 loss to the Rays on Friday night, going 2-for-2 with a double off the wall in right field.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- First baseman Joe Mauer and second baseman Brian Dozier were both held out of the starting lineup for the Twins' Grapefruit League opener against the Rays on Friday. Mauer isn't expected to play until Wednesday against the Pirates, while Dozier is slated to make his debut on Sunday against the Nationals.
Neither is injured, but Twins manager Paul Molitor said he's easing them into games early this spring because Spring Training is longer this year with the World Baseball Classic.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins announced their rotation for the first five Spring Training games, revealing clues about who will start Opening Day and what the competition looks like for the fifth-starter job.
Twins manager Paul Molitor had previously announced that Kyle Gibson will start the Grapefruit League opener against the Rays on Friday night at Hammond Stadium (6:05 CT, live on Gameday Audio) and that Phil Hughes will start against the Red Sox on Saturday at JetBlue Park. Trevor May will start Sunday against the Nationals and will be piggybacked by Jose Berrios, as they're both the top two candidates for the fifth-starter job. Ervin Santana gets the nod on Monday vs. the Marlins and Hector Santiago starts Tuesday against the Rays in Port Charlotte, Fla.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Kennys Vargas knows the door is wide open for him to stake his claim as the Twins' everyday designated hitter to open the season, and he's intent on making the most of his opportunity.
Vargas, a natural first baseman, had been blocked by players such as Byungho Park, Trevor Plouffe, Miguel Sano and Joe Mauer in the past. But Park was taken off the 40-man roster, Plouffe was released and Sano was moved back to third base, giving Vargas the opportunity to become the regular DH and primary backup to Mauer.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After a disappointing 2016 season in which he posted a 4.50 ERA in 14 innings and was released by two teams, left-handed reliever Craig Breslow decided to reinvent himself this offseason with a new arm slot.
Breslow -- who signed with the Twins on a Minor League deal shortly before the start of Spring Training after hosting a showcase for at least 10 interested teams -- said it was simply time to make a change or risk retiring from baseball.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Barring anything unexpected, Jorge Polanco is expected to be Minnesota's starting shortstop on Opening Day, but manager Paul Molitor admitted that the organization didn't handle Polanco correctly in 2016.
Polanco played 75 games at Triple-A Rochester last season, but none of those came at shortstop, as he instead was the club's primary second baseman, and made two starts at third. Polanco became the Twins' everyday shortstop down the stretch, playing 47 games at the position, but showed some rust, having not played the position since the prior season.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Most fans don't realize that there's any difference, but ask any player and they'll tell you the baseballs used in the Major Leagues are slightly different than the ones used in the Minors.
The seams are tighter and smaller on a Major League ball, which is made in Costa Rica, while Minor League balls are a bit easier to grip and made in China. Hard-throwing Twins reliever J.T. Chargois found out the difference when called up for the first time last year, as the way he gripped his slider wasn't conducive to the big league ball.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Heavy rain forced the Twins to alter their plans for their workout Wednesday morning as the drills were moved into the batting cages.
The Twins cancelled live batting practice, but pitchers threw their scheduled bullpen sessions, while hitters took regular batting practice and had meetings with hitting coach James Rowson and special instructors Torii Hunter and Michael Cuddyer.
A year ago at this time, the Twins had the fifth-best system in baseball according to MLBPipeline.com. This year, they didn't place in the top 10. So what happened?
For the most part, it was a strong graduation rate. Byron Buxton, the system's No. 1 prospect for what seemed like an eternity, finally came off the list in early April. No. 2 prospect Jose Berrios and No. 3 Max Kepler followed him during the year. All three were on the overall Top 100 list. When a system loses three players of that caliber to the big leagues, it stands to reason the overall rating of the organization will take a hit.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins second baseman Brian Dozier has used the same Wilson A2000 glove model since he was a freshman in high school in Mississippi.
Dozier immediately fell in love with the glove, and never saw any reason to change from it, not during his time at the University of Southern Mississippi, the Minor Leagues or with the Twins. So, Tuesday was an exciting day for Dozier, as it was Glove Day with representatives from Wilson Sporting Goods at Twins camp to deliver him a pair of new gloves -- one for game use and one for practice.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins are coming off a rough year that saw them post the worst record in the Majors, but with their new leadership led by Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, Twins president Dave St. Peter believes brighter days are ahead.
St. Peter is optimistic about the future and took time to give three messages to Twins fans as part of MLB.com's Presidents Day coverage on Monday. Here's what St. Peter, who has been the club's president since 2002 and is active on Twitter (@twinsprez), had to say:
Longtime Minnesota area sports journalist Rod Simons has passed away at the age of 56, the Twins have confirmed.
Simons, who spent the last two decades covering sports in various parts of the country, passed away in Fort Meyers, Fla., while covering Twins Spring Training. He is survived by his wife, Pamela, and daughter, Annie.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Before the Twins held their first official full-squad workout on Sunday, Twins manager Paul Molitor addressed all 62 players in camp, trying to the set the tone for the 2017 season.
Coming off a 103-loss season, Molitor remained optimistic, as he believes the Twins can learn from last year, despite the results.
MINNEAPOLIS -- As Justin Haley was preparing to make his final start for Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Winter League on Nov. 18, he received word from the Red Sox that he wasn't going to be added to the 40-man roster.
Haley shook off the bad news, tossing 5 2/3 scoreless innings to finish with a 0.38 ERA in five starts. But it was the start of a whirlwind for Haley, who got married eight days later and was taken in the Rule 5 Draft 12 days after that.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- As a Twins pitcher and an avid gamer, Trevor May knows plenty about what it takes to succeed in sports and eSports.
So the right-hander is lending his experience as an athlete into a new partnership with Luminosity Gaming, a professional eSports organization. May will be part of its "Stream Team" on Twitch.tv, and he will serve as a brand ambassador.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins closer Glen Perkins continues to make progress in his recovery from labrum surgery, as he threw his second bullpen session of the spring without any issues on Saturday.
Twins manager Paul Molitor watched the 15-pitch session and came away pleased with what he saw, but he cautioned that it's early in the process and there's still a good chance Perkins could open the season on the disabled list.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins manager Paul Molitor essentially revealed that veteran Ervin Santana will be the club's Opening Day starter for a second straight season, but he hasn't told the right-hander about the decision in person yet.
Santana was easily Minnesota's best starter in 2016, posting a 3.38 ERA in 30 starts. He also started on Opening Day for the first time in his career, but his outing in Baltimore was cut short because of rain after only two innings. He'll be looking for a longer outing when the Twins open the season against the Royals on April 3 at Target Field.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After posting a 3.10 ERA and strong peripheral stats in 10 starts as a rookie in 2015, the Twins had high hopes for right-hander Tyler Duffey last year.
But Duffey struggled in spring with a 7.30 ERA, and ultimately opened the year at Triple-A Rochester. It was a sign of what was to come from Duffey, who went through a rough sophomore season with the Twins, posting a 6.43 ERA in 26 starts.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins left-handed reliever Mason Melotakis sustained a mild right oblique strain before coming to camp, and he isn't ready to start throwing bullpen sessions with the rest of his teammates.
Melotakis, a hard-throwing lefty pegged as the club's No. 17 prospect by MLBPipeline.com in their most recent rankings, is competing for a spot in the bullpen, but only reached Double-A last year, so he's considered a longshot to make the Opening Day roster.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- While his rookie season didn't go quite as planned, Twins right-hander Jose Berrios is ready to move on and believes a subtle change to his windup will help him bounce back this season.
The Twins had high hopes for Berrios, who entered last year as MLBPipeline.com's No. 19 prospect, but he struggled with an 8.02 ERA in 14 starts. Berrios worked with pitching coach Neil Allen on his arm action late last season, as there was some worry he was tipping pitches, particularly his changeup; hitters could see his grip when he took the ball behind his back before his delivery. Berrios said he has cleaned that up and is feeling comfortable with his new arm path.