Stats don't tell whole story as Milone shows his mettle

Stats don't tell whole story as Milone shows his mettle

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- With Twins manager Paul Molitor looking to have his roster set by this weekend, left-hander Tommy Milone likely had his last chance to make an impression on the coaching staff with his start against the Red Sox on Thursday.

Milone, competing for the fifth spot in the rotation with Mike Pelfrey and Trevor May, went five innings, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks with three strikeouts while facing a lineup full of Boston's regulars in Minnesota's 5-4 loss in 10 innings. It wasn't the prettiest outing, but Milone was able to limit the damage in the third and fourth innings before finishing with a clean fifth.

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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.

Escobar's bat showing no signs of slowing down

Escobar's bat showing no signs of slowing down

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins pitcher Jake Reed entered a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the 10th inning and gave up a walk-off homer to Rusney Castillo, as the Red Sox won, 5-4, on Thursday.

Eduardo Escobar drilled a towering homer over the Green Monster against Red Sox lefty Wade Miley in the second inning, and he also contributed an RBI with a sacrifice fly in the fourth. The 26-year-old now has 13 RBIs in Grapefruit League play.

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

Perkins easing his way into game shape

Perkins easing his way into game shape

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Glen Perkins got his work in on the Minor League side on Thursday, as the Twins' closer tossed an easy 1-2-3 inning against the Red Sox's Class A team at the CenturyLink Sports Complex.

Perkins, who missed time early in camp with a mild right oblique strain, made his fifth appearance of the spring, striking out two and needing just 11 pitches to get three outs. Perkins has said he'd like to get to three or four more Spring Training appearances (eight or nine total) before Opening Day against the Tigers on April 6.

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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 ready to catch bullpen; Duensing set to return Friday

Pinto ready to catch bullpen; Duensing set to return Friday

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins catcher Josmil Pinto and left-hander Brian Duensing are both making progress with their injuries, as Pinto's concussion-like symptoms are gone, while the swelling in Duensing's left quad has subsided.

Pinto, who was hit on the head three times on a follow-through from Orioles outfielder Adam Jones' bat on Saturday, has been taking batting practice without any issues. He also participated in pitchers' fielding practice drills on Thursday, and the next step is for him to catch a bullpen 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.

Vargas' power, Gibson's arm not enough as Twins fall to Rays

Vargas' power, Gibson's arm not enough as Twins fall to Rays

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Rays' Matt Andriese and the Twins' Kyle Gibson matched up for a Grapefruit League pitchers' duel on Wednesday afternoon at Hammond Stadium, as the Rays scored late to pick up a 2-1 win.

The Rays scored the go-ahead run in the ninth inning, off Caleb Thielbar. With two outs, Joey Butler walked, advanced to third on Joey Rickard's single and scored when Leonardo Reginatto legged out an infield single to shortstop. 

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Molitor takes Vargas under his wing

Twins skipper wants his young first baseman to not waste his power in batting practice

Molitor takes Vargas under his wing

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins manager Paul Molitor stood out on a back field at the team's spring complex on Tuesday, watching Kennys Vargas take batting practice.

This wasn't a passive exercise, however. Molitor, a Hall of Famer and 3,000-hit club member, would issue Vargas a reminder before each round.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fifth starter among spots Twins need to decide

Fifth starter among spots Twins need to decide

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins manager Paul Molitor said after Tuesday's win over the Blue Jays that he wants to have most of his roster decisions made by this coming weekend, with the start of the regular season looming on April 6.

"I'd like to kind of have an idea of what I'm dealing with next week," Molitor said.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phil Hughes is a Jedi for Twins' Star Wars Night

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Phil Hughes is a Jedi for Twins' Star Wars Night

Last season, Phil Hughes set the record for the highest strikeout-to-walk ratio ever in MLB history. For months, baseball fans tried to figure out why -- his 11.63 K:BB ratio seemed superhuman, somehow. Magical, almost. Otherworldly, you might say.

Based on the latest Twins announcement, there appears to be a simple reason for Hughes' feat: He's a Jedi.

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Dozier signs four-year, $20 million contract

Twins second baseman hit 23 homers, scored 112 runs last season

Dozier signs four-year, $20 million contract

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Brian Dozier has made it clear he wants to stay with the Twins for his entire career. While there is no guarantee of that, the second baseman and the club moved in that direction on Tuesday, as Dozier signed a four-year, $20 million contract.

Dozier is still scheduled to become a free agent after the 2018 season, but the deal buys out his three upcoming arbitration years. It also could set the stage for a longer deal that would fulfill Dozier's desire to remain with a club he sees as trending upward.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Torii hits first HR since return in Twins' walk-off win

Outfielder blasts three-run shot; Dozier homers after signing new deal

Torii hits first HR since return in Twins' walk-off win

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Torii Hunter connected for his first home run in a Twins uniform since 2007, and Eddie Rosario hit a walk-off single in the ninth inning during Minnesota's 6-5 victory over the Blue Jays on Tuesday at Hammond Stadium.

Hunter, who re-signed with the Twins this offseason, broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the seventh inning with a three-run shot to left field off Toronto right-hander Chad Jenkins.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Garnett to throw first pitch at Twins' opener

Garnett to throw first pitch at Twins' opener

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins announced details Tuesday for their home opener at Target Field against the Royals on April 13, and NBA star Kevin Garnett will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Garnett, who returned to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a trade with the Nets on Feb. 19, previously played for the franchise from 1995-2007. He has a similar career trajectory to Torii Hunter, who played with the Twins from 1997-2007, before Hunter returned to Minnesota on a one-year deal worth $10.5 million this offseason.

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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 improving after concussion

Pinto improving after concussion

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins catcher Josmil Pinto continues to make progress as he recovers from mild concussion symptoms, but the club has not cleared him to resume baseball activities.

"He's better," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said on Tuesday. "He's looked better every day, which is good."

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Escape act by Graham impresses Molitor

Twins prospect keeps game tied despite entering with bases loaded and no outs

Escape act by Graham impresses Molitor

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- When Twins right-hander J.R. Graham entered Tuesday's game against the Blue Jays, the Rule 5 pick faced a perilous situation. With the game tied at 1 in the seventh inning, Toronto had the bases loaded with no outs, and lefty Brian Duensing had been forced to exit the game after being hit with a comebacker.

But Graham did not fold. The 25-year-old worked Minnesota out of the jam to preserve the tie in a game the Twins would go on to win, 6-5, and perhaps moved himself a step closer to making the club's Opening Day roster.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hughes shows talent as Twins beat reporter

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Hughes shows talent as Twins beat reporter

The life of a beat reporter can be a tough one -- there's lots of travel, you're always scrounging for scoops and you need to build a deep network of sources. The benefit, of course, is that you get to watch 162 games of baseball and make a living writing about it. Who wouldn't want to do that?

Twins pitcher Phil Hughes apparently counts himself among the many aspiring baseball beat reporters out there, and on Tuesday, he dipped his toe in the water:

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MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Drive to surprise pays dividends for Dozier

Contract extension shows Twins believe in second baseman's numbers

Drive to surprise pays dividends for Dozier

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Kirby Puckett, Joe Mauer, Tim Teufel, Todd Walker and, most recently, Byron Buxton, are among the Twins' prospects over the years who have served as cover boys for Baseball America. Brian Dozier never did. But that he was here -- in a lunch room at the CenturyLink Sports Complex surrounded by those young faces on the enlarged reproductions of the magazine touting tools and talents -- having his four-year, $20 million extension announced is a testament to his ability to exceed expectations.

"That's been the case my whole entire baseball career, dating back to high school," Dozier said. "No SEC school ever offered me [a scholarship]. And then not being drafted as high out of college. That's all been a big motivation of mine. Underrated is better than being overrated. That's what drives me to be the best I can be."

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Among flurry of moves, Twins option Achter to Triple-A

Club also reassigns Grimes, Beresford, Martinez, Farris, Ortiz; roster at 35

Among flurry of moves, Twins option Achter to Triple-A

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins continued to trim their roster toward a final 25 on Tuesday morning, before their Grapefruit League game against the Blue Jays.

Right-hander A.J. Achter was optioned to Triple-A Rochester, while five players were reassigned to Minor League camp: catcher Tyler Grimes, infielders James Beresford and Jose Martinez and outfielders Eric Farris and Danny Ortiz. That leaves Minnesota with 35 players in big league camp, including six non-roster invitees.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pelfrey's good health contributing to spring success

Right-hander makes case for rotation spot with strong outing vs. Phils

Pelfrey's good health contributing to spring success

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Mike Pelfrey isn't making the Twins' decision on the fifth starter any easier this spring.

Pelfrey, who is competing with Tommy Milone and Trevor May for that final spot in the rotation, was effective again on Monday, giving up two runs (one earned) on seven hits and two walks over 4 2/3 innings in a 3-0 loss to the Phillies. He served up a two-run blast to Cody Asche in the second inning after a fielding error from Eduardo Nunez, but he was otherwise solid.

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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.

Sandberg, Molitor make history in head-to-head matchup

Hall of Fame players managing against each other believed to be MLB first

Sandberg, Molitor make history in head-to-head matchup

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Maybe one day it will happen in the regular season, when the results truly matter.

But Monday's Grapefruit League game between the Phillies and Twins at Bright House Field was believed to be a first in Major League Baseball history. It was the first time two current Hall of Fame players managed against each other. Twins manager Paul Molitor was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004. Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg was inducted in '05.

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

Pelfrey solid again in outing vs. Phils

Righty competing for rotation spot tosses 4 2/3 innings, allows one earned run on seven hits

Pelfrey solid again in outing vs. Phils

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies third baseman Cody Asche hit his third home run in five days in Monday's 3-0 victory over the Twins at Bright House Field.

Asche will be the team's Opening Day third baseman as the organization hopes to see him take a step forward from 2014, when he hit .252 with 25 doubles, 10 home runs and 46 RBIs in 397 at-bats.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. 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 tosses four innings in Minors game

Santana tosses four innings in Minors game

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- With right-hander Mike Pelfrey pitching in the Grapefruit League game, a 3-0 loss to the Phillies, roughly 140 miles north of Fort Myers, fellow right-hander Ervin Santana stayed back at Twins camp to pitch in a Minor League game on Monday.

Santana went four innings, giving up one earned run on four hits and two walks against Triple-A Norfolk. He also struck out three.

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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.

Dozier takes part in fantasy mock draft

Dozier takes part in fantasy mock draft

Here at MLB.com, we have plenty of fantasy baseball expertise. But no one can dispute that the Major League players whom we analyze have their own level of knowledge. Knowing this, we decided to solicit advice from them about how to build the perfect fantasy team. The result is the first ever -- that we know of -- players-only fantasy mock draft.

Ten players with an interest in fantasy baseball agreed to take part in a three-round mock draft with the help of MLB.com reporters, who relayed picks across the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues.

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Zachary Finkelstein is a fantasy editor for MLB.com. Reporting done by Adam McCalvy, Rhett Bollinger, Alden Gonzalez, Mark Bowman, Jane Lee, Brittany Ghiroli, Steve Gilbert, Brian McTaggart and Joe Frisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Thorpe to undergo MRI exam on elbow this week

Thorpe to undergo MRI exam on elbow this week

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Twins pitching prospect Lewis Thorpe is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam on his throwing elbow this week after leaving his most recent Minor League outing with pain.

Thorpe, ranked as Minnesota's No. 10 prospect by MLB.com, was shut down while pitching for Class A Cedar Rapids last September with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. But he rehabbed it this offseason and had no issues until feeling discomfort in his last 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.

Pinto progresses with concussion symptoms; Twins cautious

Pinto progresses with concussion symptoms; Twins cautious

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Twins catcher Josmil Pinto remains sidelined with what general manager Terry Ryan described as mild concussion symptoms, but he is doing better than expected.

Pinto, who suffered the injury when he was hit on the head three times by Adam Jones' follow-through while catching against the Orioles on Saturday, underwent a CT scan that was negative, but the Twins are still being cautious.

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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 option righty Pryor to Triple-A Rochester

Twins option righty Pryor to Triple-A Rochester

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Twins made a single roster move on Monday morning, optioning right-handed reliever Stephen Pryor to Triple-A Rochester.

Pryor, who was acquired in the July 24 deal last year that sent Kendrys Morales to Seattle, made five Grapefruit League appearances this spring, scattering four hits and one run over six innings. He walked one and struck out one in that span.

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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 frustrated with rare bout of wildness

Right-hander had first multi-walk outing of the spring vs. Marlins

Hughes frustrated with rare bout of wildness

JUPITER, Fla. -- Phil Hughes doesn't issue many walks, but when he does, the Twins right-hander doesn't hide his displeasure.

Hughes, who is slated to be the Twins' Opening Day starter, gave up two walks Sunday -- his first multi-walks outing this spring -- in the Twins' 5-3 win against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium. Each time, Hughes showed some frustration on the mound.

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Steve Dorsey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Santana, Schafer key Twins' early surge vs. Marlins

Hughes allows three runs over 4 2/3 innings in tuneup for opener

Santana, Schafer key Twins' early surge vs. Marlins

JUPITER, Fla. -- Phil Hughes minimized damage over 4 2/3 innings on Sunday, and the right-hander was able to make crucial pitches when necessary in the Twins' 5-3 win over the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.

Already named the Opening Day starter, Hughes allowed three runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Jordan Schafer added a two-run single and Danny Santana went 4-for-5 in a game Minnesota never trailed.

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Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Milone's one bad inning tilts day in May's favor

Fifth-starter candidates both look sharp, but lefty endures four-run frame

Milone's one bad inning tilts day in May's favor

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Two of the three pitchers competing for the fifth spot in the rotation for the Twins were on display in split-squad action on Saturday, as left-hander Tommy Milone started against the Orioles at Hammond Stadium, while right-hander Trevor May started against the Rays in Port Charlotte, Fla.

May outperformed Milone, as he tossed four hitless innings, allowing just one runner to reach on an error while striking out three to lower his ERA to 1.50 in six Grapefruit League innings. Milone was hurt by one bad pitch, as he gave up four runs on four hits over four innings, but three of those runs came on a homer from Steve Pearce on a hanging breaking ball in the second inning.

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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 has no-hit stuff; Hamburger, Achter allow homers

May has no-hit stuff; Hamburger, Achter allow homers

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Competing for the fifth spot in the Twins' rotation, Trevor May threw four no-hit scoreless innings, but after being held to one hit through eight, the Rays rallied to a 4-2 win on Saturday, capped by Allan Dykstra's two-run walk-off home run.

A walk and an error set up Dykstra's two-out homer off A.J. Achter, which was his second of the spring, as the Rays rallied for a three-run ninth.

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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.