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Mahay, Rauch excited to join playoff hunt

Mahay, Rauch excited to join playoff hunt

MINNEAPOLIS -- Completing the deal that was reported on Friday, the Twins officially signed Ron Mahay on Saturday, and the southpaw was at the Metrodome with his new team.

Joining Mahay in the Twins clubhouse was another newly added veteran reliever, Jon Rauch, whom Minnesota acquired on Friday from Arizona for a player to be named. Mahay donned his No. 37 jersey and Rauch sported No. 60.

"We haven't done too many things like that," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said about acquiring two players on the same day. "It's a little different. That's OK though. The guys upstairs are understanding and watching. ... They're making an effort to help us try to win and catch these people ahead of us and that's all you can ask for."

The Twins, who entered Saturday's game in second place in the American League Central, four games behind the Tigers, have struggled lately to find dependable middle relief out of the bullpen. As a result, they have had to tap numerous times into their farm system, calling up several pitchers from Triple-A Rochester.

None of those fixes turned out to be permanent solutions, but Gardenhire hopes Rauch and Mahay will be the pieces that have been missing.

"We've had a bunch of kids up here that were probably before their time," Gardenhire said. "They all have given everything they've had. Their efforts have been great. But you need when you're in these situations and everything becomes so important when you're chasing, we can't afford to give away too many more."

The Royals designated Mahay for assignment this past week, and the Twins picked up the 38-year-old in an effort to bring in both a left-handed arm and a veteran to their bullpen. In order to make room for Mahay on the 40-man roster, Minnesota designated knuckleballer R.A. Dickey for assignment.

Mahay spent the past two seasons in Kansas City, and said he was a bit surprised to stay in the AL Central, but added he's happy to be moving to a team fighting for a playoff spot.

"I went from 18 games out to four games out, which is really exciting for anybody to hopefully turn this around with these guys and get first place and playoffs and the whole nine yards," Mahay said.

Mahay said he and Gardenhire had a discussion prior to Saturday's game about the veteran presence Mahay will bring to the pitching staff. At 38 years old, Mahay is the second-oldest member of the Twins, trailing catcher Mike Redmond by only a month.

"Any time I can talk to the guys and if they want to ask me anything, that's perfectly fine, "Mahay said. "And then I can ask them, because obviously they pitch teams differently than I've pitched teams for who I was with. You can always learn from each other."

The 6-foot-11 Rauch adds another veteran presence and a right-handed arm to Minnesota's bullpen. He was traded to Arizona in July last season from Washington, and he and the D-backs narrowly missed the playoffs.

He's hoping he gets that shot with Minnesota.

"Obviously, I had that opportunity last year and things didn't work out in Arizona," Rauch said. "Being able to get a little bit of retribution, coming into a situation where the team's doing well and really fighting to get back on top of their division, it's going to be a fun ride."

Tyler Mason is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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