05/04/2013 1:21 PM ET
Twins recognize Buxton, Baxendale for stellar Aprils
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony couldn't remember a tougher decision during his tenure with the club than who to vote for in the balloting for the Twins' Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month in April.
But after the votes within the organization were tallied, outfielder Byron Buxton was named Minor League Player of the Month and right-hander DJ Baxendale was named Minor League Pitcher of the Month on Saturday.
"I don't recall ever having as many guys having big months the same month," Antony said.
Buxton, ranked as the No. 19 overall prospect according to MLB.com, hit .392/.510/.684 with four homers, five doubles, three triples and nine stolen bases in 22 games at Class A Cedar Rapids in April.
The 19-year-old beat out fellow top prospect Miguel Sano, who batted .368/.435/.747 with a Minor League-leading nine homers and 24 RBIs in 25 games in April with Class A Advanced Fort Myers. Other top candidates were Adam Walker and Jorge Polanco of Class A Cedar Rapids .
"Sano -- when you hit home runs in that ballpark, in that league, with the big league Spring Training ballparks, that's impressive," Antony said. "Buxton walked more than he struck out -- that kind of discipline, and hitting the way he is. Adam Walker had 16 RBIs in a week. Jorge Polanco is hitting .350 at Cedar Rapids. Any of those guys would normally win it."
Baxendale, 22, was impressive at Fort Myers in April, going 4-0 with a 1.84 ERA in five starts. Baxendale, taken in the 10th round of last year's First-Year Player Draft, also struck out 25 and walked six in 29 1/3 innings.
He beat other candidates such as Steven Gruver and Tyler Duffey at Cedar Rapids and Alex Meyer at Double-A New Britain.
Parmelee turning it around at the plate
CLEVELAND -- Right fielder Chris Parmelee is starting to show signs that he's turning it around at the plate, as he entered Saturday's game against the Indians with homers in back-to-back games.
Parmelee is also riding a five-game hitting streak that has helped raise his average from .217 to .237. Parmelee has fared much better on the road this season, hitting .361 in 11 games away from Target Field.
"I'm feeling good," Parmelee said. "I'm seeing the ball well, and I've been fortunate to put some good swings on them."
Ron Gardenhire has noticed a difference in the way Parmelee is carrying himself around the clubhouse, and the manager doesn't think Parmelee appears to be as bothered by his slow start as he was earlier in the year.
"He's comfortable," Gardenhire said. "He's feeling really good. I think we talked about him getting over the hump last year. Earlier he was worried about his at-bats with a lot of one-on-ones and conversations. But you can always see it when he's feeling confident because he goes about his business. And he's there."
Gardenhire wants Twins to be aggressive on bases
CLEVELAND -- The Twins were one of the most aggressive teams on the basepaths last year, finishing fourth in the Majors in stolen bases, but that hasn't exactly been the case this year.
The Twins entered Saturday's game against the Indians with 12 stolen bases, which ranks 21st in the Majors and tied for third-to-last in the American League. And Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he'd like to see that total improve as the season goes along.
"I'm looking for it," Gardenhire said. "I like when you get to second and then you try to steal third. But we've been comfortable once we get to second, and we need more opportunities to steal third when the pitcher is not paying attention. So hopefully we can get that going. Running is important."
Gardenhire pointed to his players in the middle of the diamond -- shortstop Pedro Florimon, second baseman Brian Dozier and center fielder Aaron Hicks -- as guys who can help the club improve its stolen base total.
"Those are our best guys," Gardenhire said. "Dozier is aggressive, Flori is always looking, and I think Hicks -- as he gets going offensively -- will get going a lot more. I think those are the guys who can do some damage."