Twins preparing for Interleague Play

DETROIT -- Following Wednesday's series finale between the Twins and Tigers, Detroit will head on a road trip that includes two games in Washington. The Twins' next road trip later this month will include stops in Atlanta and Milwaukee.

With Interleague games now being played all year, it can cause some problems for American League teams, and manager Ron Gardenhire said he and Jim Leyland have talked about that.

"I know that this sets up for some crazy stuff," Gardenhire said. "I was talking to Jim, and he explained to me at the end of the season, they go to Miami, and they could be in a pennant race. Their pitchers are going to have to hit, and you lose your DH for three or four days. That's not good. That's not good for our league.

"It's not fair, because you're trying to win a pennant, and now you lose your [designated hitter] going to a National League thing, which you only do two or three times a year. That's not right. It shouldn't be that way. You have to risk your pitchers running the bases the last week in the season."

The Twins finish the season with a homestand against the Tigers and Indians, but forcing an AL team to play at an NL park at the end of the year is not popular among these managers.

"I liked it better when, if you're going to do it, do it in the middle like they were and leave them there, rather than all over the place. I know there are reasons, but at least we knew how to prepare for it. We're going to play in National League parks, we're going to play in two cities, we let our pitchers hit, [prepare them] a couple weeks before and then we would be done. You wouldn't have to deal with it until the World Series. I liked that part. At least we knew where we were at. Now, it's all over the place.

"I said worst-case scenario is we'd be in a pennant race at the end of the season and your pitchers all of a sudden have to hit and run the bases and something happens. I know National League teams do it all the time, but we don't. There is a difference."

The Twins finish May with two games in Milwaukee, followed by two against the Brewers at home. Gardenhire was disappointed that the teams won't play three in each park like they used to.

"It's the first time, for me, that we have Milwaukee for two and we go there for two," he said. "We always played three and three. It's a big deal for our fans to go to Milwaukee, and for their fans to come here. It's a two-and-two during the week. That's always a big deal. Tons of Twins fans go to Milwaukee and pack that place, and just the same way when they come and pack our place.

"I thought that's what it was all about. The natural rival used to be the Brewers. That was always a pretty cool series, three over there and three at our place. Now it's two and two in the middle of the week. A lot of people will have to take off work."

Chris Vannini is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.