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  1. Three-Bagger: Worley, Correia & Florimon

    * Vance Worley made his first start for Class-AAA Rochester on Monday after being demoted last week. Facing Lehigh Valley, the Triple-A affiliate for his former organization, Worley delivered a five-hit shutout.

    Before we go making proclamations about the Twins' Opening Day starter's ills being miraculously cured, it bears noting that his peripherals were less than stellar; he threw only 74 of 119 pitches for strikes and issued four walks against four strikeouts. Really, the biggest ...
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  2. Twins Take a Hard Turn With Deduno

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ID:	4138Even before his three-hit shutout on Sunday, I felt that the time had come to promote Kyle Gibson to major leagues. The Twins seemingly positioned themselves to do so Monday when they announced the removal of Pedro Hernandez from the rotation, opening up Friday's start for the taking. But on Tuesday the club ended any such speculation by informing that Samuel Deduno will be the one to get the nod.

    Even as a confirmed Gibsonite, I can't feign to be overly ...
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  3. Twins MLB Draft Profile: Sean Manaea, SP

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ID:	4119Who IS This Guy?

    He might have the highest ceiling of any pitching prospect in this year's draft class. A few years ago Sean Manaea was a raw high school kid with bad grades and no first-round aspirations, but now at age 21 he's in the conversation to become the first lefty pitcher drafted No. 1 overall since David Price in 2007.

    At 6'5" and 230 lbs, Manaea has the ability to reach the mid-90s from the left side, making him a rare specimen. He ...
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  4. When Will Gibson Get a Chance?

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ID:	4099Mike Berardino, the excellent new beat writer for the Pioneer Press, linked to a new story on Wednesday with an amusing teaser: "Attention Gibsonites: Kyle Gibson takes a step back at Rochester."

    Gibsonites. I like it. And itís a label Iíll proudly wear because, from my view, it seems obvious that Gibson should be on the major-league roster by now.

    Yes, it's true. The right-hander had a poor outing on Wednesday. The Twins are of course no strangers
    ...
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  5. Twins Offense Looking To Its Heart

    After finishing the month of April ranked near the bottom of the American League in most categories, the Twinsí offense has undergone a stunning turnaround here in May, where they led the league in scoring through Tuesday. Prior to Wednesday's loss to the White Sox, the Twins had averaged 6.2 runs per game this month and had crossed the plate five or more times in eight of their past nine games.

    A sleeping beast awakened, indeed.

    Can this unit continue to excel and help ...
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  6. Pressure is on for Twins starters

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Size:  24.1 KBKyle Gibson is anxious to finally reach the big leagues, and he's currently making a strong case in Triple-A with a 3.32 ERA and 1.16 WHIP through seven starts. His most recent outing was his most impressive: a complete game shutout with eight strikeouts, two walks and four hits.

    Gibson is on an innings limit this year and has already logged 40 innings in Rochester, increasing the urgency to call him up soon so he can spend time adjusting to the majors, ...
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  7. A Sleeping Beast Awakening?

    Like a car engine struggling on an icy day, the Twins' lineup had a tough time revving up during the chilly month of April. Ambitious thoughts about the potential for an offensive core powered by numerous potent bats went wayward as the runs trickled in at a disappointing pace.

    The Twins finished the season's first month ranking near the bottom of the league in OPS and runs scored. This, at least for me, was somewhat jarring, because from my standpoint they didn't appear to be overmatched. ...
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  8. Don't Lose Faith in Unlucky Worley

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ID:	4015You've probably heard the story by now. On the very day that Vance Worley was told by Philadelphia general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. that he'd been traded from the Phillies to the Minnesota Twins, the 25-year-old pitcher had been planning to pick up an engagement ring from the jeweler so that he could propose to his girlfriend.

    Worley, who had just signed a lease for a new house in South Jersey nearby Philly, suddenly had his entire life uprooted. He would ...
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  9. Three-Bagger: Pelfrey's Progress, Plouffe's Paradox & Rebounds

    * Last week, I wrote that Mike Pelfrey's struggles had a reached a point where he should be removed from the rotation until he demonstrates legitimate signs of progress. In his next start, which came Sunday afternoon in Cleveland, that progress was plenty evident. Go figure.

    Sure enough, Pelfrey delivered his best start of the season by far, with six innings of one-run ball. His fastball flashed a couple ticks higher on the gun than we ever saw in April, and the added velocity (along ...
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  10. Time to Put Pelf on the Shelf

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ID:	3951In a season where he's largely stayed in the good graces of the fan base, Ron Gardenhire finally awakened the critics on Monday night.

    With the Twins leading Detroit 3-1 and angling for a big win to kick off their treacherous road trip, Gardenhire sent Mike Pelfrey out to pitch the sixth inning despite the fact that the starter had pretty clearly been surviving on smoke and mirrors all night. Pelfrey had not struck out a single hitter and, in the previous ...
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  11. Strong Start Bodes Well For Twins

    Justin Morneau and Josh WillinghamT.S. Eliot once famously wrote that April is the cruelest month, and for the Twins that adage has held true over the past two years. Between 2011 and 2012, the team went 15-33 during the season's first month while watching devastating injuries pile up Ė from Tsuyoshi Nishioka's broken leg and Joe Mauer's bilateral leg weakness to Scott Baker's unscheduled Tommy John surgery.

    Against that backdrop, the first four weeks of this 2013 campaign have been blissful, ...
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  12. Accelerating the Rebuild Timeline

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Size:  7.7 KBWhen healthy, Joe Mauer is one of baseballís elite players, and a fitting centerpiece for a championship-caliber team. The Twins are aware of this, which is why they locked him up with a $184 million contract back in 2010.

    When they committed to paying the hometown star $23 million annually for eight years Ė up until heís 35 Ė the Twins knew that the best value in the deal was likely to come on the front end. Thatís just a natural facet of baseball and ...
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  13. Hicks Shaping Up As Bruno Success Story?

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ID:	3834On April 13th at Target Field, Aaron Hicks went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, dropping his batting average to .047. It was the seventh time in 10 major-league games that he'd notched multiple strikeouts, and in total the rookie had whiffed in a whopping 43 percent of his plate appearances.

    With the season two weeks old, even Hicks' most staunch supporters were facing the reality that his struggles amounted to more than a mere slump. He was overwhelmed and ...
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  14. Twins Being Crushed by Constant Contact

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ID:	3781During spring training, I observed a trend. It seemed that, all too frequently, a Twins starting pitcher would get knocked around in an outing, and then remark after the game that he felt good about his performance. Executed his pitches and just didn't get results. I asked a beat reporter in Ft. Myers, and he mentioned that he'd noticed the same pattern.

    Of course, there's nothing groundbreaking or especially noteworthy about this. Pitchers are generally ...
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