Mike Berardino / St. Paul Pioneer Press
CLEARWATER, Fla. — Max Kepler is one of seven players in Twins history with three home runs in a single game, yet he has yet to hit more than 19 in a season. Some observers have suggested the young right fielder could easily boost his power numbers by joining the launch-angle revolution and starting to loft deep flies with more regularity, but the thoughtful Berliner won't be tempted.
DUNEDIN, Fla.-- Back at TwinsFest in mid-January, Fernando Rodney said he would probably take Tyler Duffey out to dinner and talk to him about his vaunted changeup as compensation for taking over uniform No. 56. Duffey, who had worn that number for the Twins since 2015 and now wears No. 21, said that dinner has yet to happen. "It's early," he said. "We've got time. I'm not going anywhere." Nor, unfortunately, has Rodney had a chance to assist Duffey with his changeup, which was the primary reason he lost his spot in the rotation after making 36 starts in 2015-16.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Brash and outspoken earlier in his career, new Twins slugger Logan Morrison may have acquired a reputation in some circles as being a challenge to manage. Edwin Rodriguez knows better. "He's a leader," Rodriguez, 57, said this past week by phone from Arizona, where he is preparing for his role as a major league coach with the San Diego Padres. "His leadership shows up everywhere he goes. He makes an impact on every team at every level. He will help in the clubhouse. He will help the manager keep everybody on the same page."
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Now that Joe Mauer has gotten his Grapefruit League schedule under way, even banging out his first hit of the spring on Friday afternoon, the next major event will be his older brother's arrival. Traditionally, Jake and Joe Mauer have been a package deal at Twins spring training. First, they arrived as fellow minor leaguers after being selected 22 rounds apart in the 2001 draft.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Tests on the right knee of backup catcher Mitch Garver showed no structural damage, leaving the Twins' reigning minor league player of the year hopeful of returning to game action as soon as Sunday, March 4. "There's no tear," Garver said Friday morning. "There's nothing severe. It's just some swelling, some fluid behind the kneecap."
JUPITER, Fla. — Twins manager Paul Molitor did a double take when informed Thursday of the nickname Logan Morrison has bestowed upon him: "Paulie 3K." "Paulie what?" the manager said. "What's he go by, LoMo? I'll have to think of something besides that." Molitor said he didn't exchange text messages with Morrison until the signing became official but was looking forward to chatting more in person on Friday morning, when the 30-year-old first baseman/designated hitter is scheduled to make his Twins spring debut at home against the Toronto Blue Jays.
JUPITER, Fla. — When Stefon Diggs made the catch that became the Minnesota Miracle, LaMonte Wade Jr. was going as crazy as any Vikings fan. Even though the Twins outfield prospect grew up in Baltimore, he knew Diggs from their days at the University of Maryland. Like Diggs, a fifth-round pick in 2015, Wade was a relative afterthought, going to the Twins in the ninth round in June of that same year. "Great play. Shocking, exciting play," Wade said. "If anybody was going to make that play, I knew it would be him."
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Logan Morrison turned down at least two other offers during this strange winter before opting to sign a modest one-year deal with the Twins. After passing his physical Wednesday morning, the veteran slugger explained why. "They were open and honest with me; I was open and honest with them," he said during a news conference at Hammond Stadium on Wednesday, Feb. 28. "Being able to establish a relationship with them, they made me feel wanted. A lot of times it's not what's offered but how it's offered. They definitely did a good job of that."
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano said he spent four hours on Tuesday, Feb. 27, meeting with investigators from Major League Baseball, but neither he nor the team had any sense of how much longer the process would continue. It has been exactly two months since the 24-year-old all-star was publicly accused of unwanted sexual advances by freelance photographer Betsy Bissen. Sano, who could face fine or suspension, continues to deny any wrongdoing in connection with the alleged incident from October 2015 at the Ridgedale Center in Minnetonka, Minn.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The last time Joe Mauer entered the final year of his contract, the Twins made sure to lock him up before Opening Day even rolled around. It was March 22, 2010 that Mauer signed his much-discussed eight-year, $184 million extension that runs through this season.