09/30/2003 1:58 PM ET
Twins notes: Whatever it takes
NEW YORK -- Center fielder Torii Hunter may have led the Twins offense in the regular season with 26 homers and 102 RBIs. But he's not above thinking "small ball" if needed.
When it's playoff time, look for anything and everything to happen.
"The season is over," Hunter said. "If I have to bunt two guys over to get them in, I'll do it. It's time to win. It's not a time to be selfish. We have to go out there, be a team and not try to be too greedy."
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
Unlike the Yankees' cadre of power hitters, Minnesota has fewer hitters that can change a game with one swing and a long ball. The Yankees have 230 homers, compared to Minnesota's 155.
Manager Ron Gardenhire says he'll do whatever it takes to win.
"If that requires in the eighth inning and Torii's up with men on first and second," Gardenhire explained. "And it looks like good matchups the way they come with their bullpen, sure -- I'd have them all drop down bunts."
The Twins had 42 sacrifice bunts this season, compared to New York's 25.
No worries: Gardenhire said his club isn't upset over a the local and national media's widespread write-off of the Twins against the heavily-favored Yankees in the ALDS.
The Twins seem to find it to be a little funny, in fact.
"We have a belief that we can play with anyone," Gardenhire said. "It is amusing because we feel like we belong here. We earned it to get here. A lot of people are saying we're going to fall apart. The same thing happened last year."
Neophytes no more: Minnesota knocked off the widely favored Oakland A's in the 2002 ALDS before falling to the Angels in five games in the AL Championship Series. Being one step from the World Series last year has given the club extra incentive to get back into that position again.
"Anaheim spoiled it for us," Hunter said. "We've been to the ALCS and that's right before the World Series. I know it's not the World Series. But it's something nobody expected us to make it that far. They had written us off. It was fun and a good experience. Now we know what it takes. Now we want to win."
Closer Eddie Guardado says the previous playoff exposure is to Minnesota's benefit, and it certainly never gets old.
"It's exciting, I'll tell you that. No matter how many times -- this is my second," Guardado said. "Hopefully, there will be more to come. If you do get tired of it, you better take your uniform off."
Inside info: Naturally, the Twins dispatched advance scouts to see the Yankees as the playoffs approached, including Tom Kelly and Larry Corrigan, who are special assistants to GM Terry Ryan. But they found another reliable information source in relief pitcher Jesse Orosco.
Orosco did not make Minnesota's first-round playoff roster. But he did spend a month this season pitching for the Yankees and is the closest thing to an insider the Twins have.
"He has some pretty good scoop on them," Gardenhire said.
Tickets available: A limited number of tickets remain for Game 3 and Game 4 of the ALDS at the Metrodome. Twins president Dave St. Peter said that Major League Baseball is releasing some extra unused seats. There will also be some obstructed-view seats made available.
Tickets, which must be bought in two-game packages, can be purchased by clicking on the ticketing section of twinsbaseball.com or by call (612) 33-TWINS or (800) 33-TWINS.
Did you know? With two world championships in 1987 and 1991, the Twins are tied for sixth for most titles won since 1961 -- their first year of existence in Minnesota.
Up next: No game is scheduled Wednesday. The Twins will work out at Yankee Stadium from 10:30-11:30 a.m. CT.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This report was not subject to the approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.