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MLBeat: Twins face division foes
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07/17/2002 6:30 pm ET 
MLBeat: Twins face division foes
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

Ron Gardenhire has the Twins atop the AL Central in his first season as a manager. (Jim Mone/AP)
CLEVELAND -- The Minnesota Twins begin an important eight-game road trip against three AL Central rivals Wednesday.

The Twins head into Wednesday' game versus the Indians nine games up on second-place Chicago and 10 ½ over third-place Cleveland. Minnesota first plays two games against the Tribe, followed by three games each with the Tigers and White Sox.

"These are the teams that are all trying to catch us," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "So it's important to win games in your division so you keep putting them further behind you. That's the ultimate goal in baseball."

If the Twins can win all three series, it would be a good chance to potentially put the division race away early. But Gardenhire doesn't like thinking that far ahead.

"Our goal is to get to September in a pennant race. By no means, am I going to start talking about how good we are in July," Gardenhire said. "We have a long ways to go. We have a lot of baseball left. We have to stay focused on winning each baseball series just like we are now. There's no room for complacency."

  • No cruise through Cleveland: The Twins are facing a different Indians club than they faced back in April and June. Cleveland recently announced they were starting a rebuilding process and fired manager Charlie Manuel last week.

    Gardenhire doesn't think this will take the edge off this series or future games with Cleveland.

    "We haven't won a game here this year," he said. "How can you lose an edge when you haven't won a game here against Cleveland in this ballpark? They swept us here. If we don't come out and play, we'll get beat here again. This is a very intense rivalry. We have a long ways to go yet this season. They got some young guys in the lineup. They're going to be hungry too.

    "Cleveland's been the one here. They're not dethroned yet. Just because we have the lead in this division, Cleveland is still the one you have to go through."

  • Rehab report: Right-handed pitcher Bob Wells (elbow) made his second rehabilitation outing for Triple-A Edmonton Wednesday night. He threw one inning and allowed one run and a hit on a home run while walking one with a strikeout against Portland. On Monday, he threw 16 pitches in his first rehab appearance. He actually started both games for the Trappers.

    In the future, Gardenhire said Wells would make relief appearances for Edmonton out of the bullpen.

    In rehab stints at Fort Myers, pitchers Brad Radke (groin) and Matt Kinney (shoulder) had bullpen sessions Wednesday while Jack Cressend (shoulder) did some long tossing.

  • News and notes: Right-handed pitcher Joe Mays rejoined the Twins at Jacobs Field. ... The Twins announced a schedule change for their Aug. 18 game against the Red Sox at the Metrodome. The game is moving from 1:05 p.m. CT to 7:05 p.m. to accommodate ESPN which is now televising the game for Sunday Night Baseball. It's Minnesota's first time on Sunday Night Baseball since playing Oakland on June 9, 1996.

  • Fantasy edge: Second baseman Luis Rivas completed the six-game home stand in Minnesota 5-for-18 with five RBIs. He was 3-for-4 Tuesday with two doubles.

    Mark Sheldon covers the Twins for MLB.com and can be reached at marksheldon@twinsbaseball.com. This article was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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