Molitor's status still unresolved
MINNEAPOLIS — Unsigned beyond this season, Twins manager Paul Molitor confirmed Sunday his status has yet to be resolved.
"If circumstances were different and we weren't playing Tuesday, I might have spent more time thinking about it, to be honest with you," Molitor said. "Whenever we're done, and hopefully it's not for awhile, I'm sure that will be pushed to the forefront."
Molitor, 61, entered Sunday's regular-season finale with a three-year mark of 226-259 (.466). While the Twins lost a Minnesota franchise-worst 103 games in 2016, they have posted two winning seasons under the first-time manager, including their first postseason berth in seven years.
The first-year baseball operations duo of chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine has consistently said Molitor's future will be determined once the Twins' season ends. While Molitor has the public support of owner Jim Pohlad, the ultimate call will belong to Falvey and Levine.
The Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies already announced their managers won't be returning next season, and Terry Collins also is expected to leave his New York Mets post. Molitor could draw interest from all three clubs, especially the rebuilding Phillies, where former Twins GMs Andy MacPhail and Terry Ryan are now employed.
"I don't know if stressful is the right word; it's consuming," Molitor said of postseason preparations and roster decisions. "But when I took this job, this is something I wanted to experience in this role. Now I have the opportunity, so I'm trying to enjoy it as much as I can. I like that I'm in a position to have to make these decisions. I think that's fun."
Despite missing nearly six weeks with a stress reaction in his left shin, Twins slugger Miguel Sano came through Saturday night's test just fine.
Sano went 1 for 4 with two strikeouts and a groundout (against position player Andrew Romine) and was back in the lineup at designated hitter Sunday.
"He's OK," Molitor said. "I think he understands if he's a little sore it's OK, that he's going to still go out there and try to see what he can do. He'll get his at-bats again today and readdress the whole fear of not running so he doesn't try to do anything foolishly or in the moment tries to do too much."
A wet field could complicate matters but Sano, who has yet to push his running much past 75 percent, showed the prior two nights he had received the memo on jogging down the line.
"If he hits a ball to the wall and he has to stop at first, he has to stop at first, as an example," Molitor said.
Visit from The Boss?
After Molitor famously scrawled “NO RETREAT. NO SURRENDER” on the Twins’ message board on Aug. 1 in San Diego, his team will hit the Yankee Stadium stage for Tuesday night’s American League wild-card game at the same time “Springsteen on Broadway” previews for the first time at the Walter Kerr Theater.
Could Bruce Springsteen, who wrote “No Surrender” more than three decades ago, stop by the Twins’ clubhouse on Monday’s workout day for a visit with his old friend Molitor? That remains to be seen, but Molitor, who also remains friendly with Kevin Buell, Springsteen’s longtime guitar technician, has been weighing whether to blast “No Surrender” for his youthful squad as a sort of tone-setter.
“I’ve thought about it a few times,” Molitor said. “I don’t know if any of these guys know anything about that or if they would enjoy that. I think I should probably play it somewhere along the way. I might have to break it out in the clubhouse. We’ll see how fast it gets turned off.”
The Twins will take 30 players to New York with the five extra men in uniform and able to sit in the dugout or bullpen during the game. The handful of players that remain back in the Twin Cities will have a catcher available to throw side sessions as needed with workouts (but no simulated games) planned Monday and Tuesday at Target Field.
Starting pitchers for Tuesday's wild-card game have been confirmed: The Twins will send out Ervin Santana to face 23-year-old Luis Severino (14-6, 2.98). Severino's season innings total has reached 193 1/3, a 28-percent increase over the combined 151 1/3 innings he threw last season between the minors and the majors.
Sunday's paid crowd of 28,148 left the Twins with a season home attendance of 2,051,279 in 80 dates (including one traditional doubleheader). Their average attendance of 25,641 was up 5.8 percent over a 103-loss 2016 but still ranked as the second-lowest for the Twins in the past dozen years.