NEW YORK -- Numerous reports have labeled the Twins as the front-runners for perhaps the hottest trade chip on the market this season, left-hander Cliff Lee.

Last August, the Twins acquired Carl Pavano in a waiver trade from the Indians to help bolster their starting staff down the stretch. And with a couple of the Twins' starting pitchers going through a recent rough patch, manager Ron Gardenhire was asked Saturday if he feels his rotation is as strong as it needs to be or if perhaps the club could seek some help on the trade market.

"Everybody wants additions," Gardenhire said. "Everybody wants the best pitchers in baseball. That doesn't change for any team. If there are upgrades that can make your pitching staff better, I think every manager in baseball will tell you, 'Sure.'"

With the July 31 Trade Deadline just a little more than a month away, Gardenhire said that he and general manager Bill Smith have not sat down yet to talk specifically about the team's needs.

"Normally we get [to that] toward the All-Star break," Gardenhire said. "But just like everybody else, we know who is out there. There are people out there and in casual conversations, we talk."

Right-hander Roy Oswalt is considered the other top starter available on the market and the Twins have also reportedly inquired on him. While Lee is set to become a free agent after this season, Oswalt is signed through the 2011 season with an option for '12.

The Twins' move into Target Field this season has helped to increase the club's revenue streams. But when asked if the new park might change the Twins trade philosophy, Gardenhire isn't quite so sure that the organization is going to alter its approach.

"This organization's pretty set in its ways about not ever giving up your system for a rental, as they say," Gardenhire said. "We haven't done that in the past, and I wouldn't think they would be leaning that way now. But things happen, and because of the new ballpark, we're finding a situation where we're selling out every ballgame and there is probably a little more [money] than there has been in the past. But it still goes with the philosophy of the organization, and that's develop and bring these guys to the big leagues -- and that's never going to change here, I don't believe."

Blackburn turnaround could come at home

NEW YORK -- One reason the Twins could be seeking rotation help is due to some recent scuffles by their starting staff, which includes a 9.27 ERA over the first seven games of this nine-game road trip. That's due in part to some rough outings by Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey, who combined to give up 25 runs over 13 innings in four starts on this trip.

After Blackburn failed to make it past the fourth inning for the fourth time in five starts, manager Ron Gardenhire had indicated that he and pitching coach Rick Anderson would discuss Blackburn's next turn in the rotation. But the decision was made to keep Blackburn in line for his next start.

"It's never a good feeling to see a guy scuffling, but we've seen him battle it before," said Gardenhire. "It's just a confidence thing now -- keep his confidence going and run him back out, see what happens."

One positive for the Twins in regards to Blackburn is that his next start comes at Target Field, where he is 4-0 with a 3.19 ERA in six starts compared to 2-5 with a 9.40 ERA in eight starts on the road.

"That's your shining light with him is to get home and see if he kind of falls back into place," Gardenhire said.

Twins activate Mijares from restricted list

NEW YORK -- Left-hander Jose Mijares had arrived at Citi Field on Saturday morning, and the Twins activated the pitcher from the restricted list just before game time.

Mijares had spent the last eight days in Venezuela dealing with a family emergency, and over that time he was not able to throw a baseball. Due to the long layoff, Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson wanted to watch Mijares throw before Saturday's contest in order to make a decision on his status.

The Twins transferred Mijares from the bereavement list to the restricted list on Friday night in order to keep right-hander Jeff Manship in the bullpen for the series opener against the Mets. Mijares had already spent the maximum seven days on the bereavement list, also known as the Family Medical Emergency list, which is why he had to be transferred in order to keep the extra player. Mijares' flight arrived in New York around 6 p.m. CT on Friday night, but Gardenhire said that Mijares was exhausted from the travel and the stress of his family emergency so he went straight to the hotel.

To make room on the roster for Mijares, the Twins optioned Manship back to Triple-A Rochester.