Gardenhire advocates switch with Interleague Play

Gardenhire advocates switch with Interleague Play

SAN FRANCISCO -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire offered up an interesting idea to spice up Interleague Play as his team wrapped up its five-game Interleague swing through San Diego and San Francisco.

"I said a long time ago, if you're going to do this format, then you have the [designated hitter] in the National League and the pitchers hit in the American League cities," Gardenhire said. "If you want fans to see something different, that's how you do it. Whether the fans would like that or not, they should have a say on it."

Now in his 13th year at the helm of the Twins and a longtime baseball veteran, Gardenhire has seen MLB change with Interleague Play.

While AL teams used to prepare for two concentrated Interleague stretches per season, Gardenhire said his club is at a disadvantage now since pitchers have to prepare in infrequent spurts throughout the year.

Minnesota's pitchers entered Sunday's contest batting 0-for-9 with six strikeouts after hitting a combined 1-for-19 last year. But Gardenhire still has faith in his pitchers at the plate.

"There are no automatic outs," Gardenhire said with a smile. "Less ability in some of the swings but not automatic outs. If you have a bat in your hand and a guy throws the ball towards you, you have a chance."

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