9/18/2013 2:12 P.M. ET
Target Field remains big draw for Twins fans
By Manny Randhawa / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- While playoff contenders such as the Athletics, Indians and Rays have had a tough time drawing a crowd, the Twins have still drawn a good number of fans to Target Field despite being in fourth place in the American League Central.
Going into Wednesday, the Twins were 17th out of 30 teams in attendance. Oakland, Cleveland and Tampa Bay were 25th, 28th and 30th, respectively.
"People love coming to Target Field," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It's a great atmosphere. You just have to understand Twins fans more than anything else. They're passionate. … More than anything else, they love baseball. What better venue to come to than Target Field to watch a baseball game?"
Gardenhire added that when teams like the Athletics, Indians or Rays make the postseason, they'll start filling the seats again.
"We're going to Oakland [after the White Sox series], and they haven't drawn great," he said. "But it's been like that for quite a while. … The fans that do go are passionate about baseball. It's the same way in Cleveland. … But they'll get there. The closer they get, and if they make the playoffs, they'll pack the place."
With Twins, Presley seeks outfield routine
CHICAGO -- Before being traded from the Pirates to the Twins in exchange for Justin Morneau on Aug. 31, outfielder Alex Presley found himself in an organization with a young outfield that appears to be cemented for years to come, anchored by Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte.
So when Presley put on a Twins uniform for the first time, he knew September would be a chance for him to make an impression in his quest to become an everyday player in the big leagues.
"It's a good opportunity to be able to get consistent at-bats and show what I can do on a regular basis," said Presley, who went into Wednesday's series finale against the White Sox hitting .297 (19-for-64) with three doubles, a homer and seven RBIs in 16 games for the Twins.
"It seems wide open here right now. In Pittsburgh, there are a couple of [outfield] positions that are pretty much set for years to come most likely, so it's definitely a good chance to try to make a name for myself in a new place."
Presley, who had multiple trips between the Pirates' Triple-A affiliate and the big league club, said the key to his ability to stay consistent has been keeping his routine.
"You just try to do the same thing every day," he said. "You know what works for you and [while] it was tough to go up and down, to try to keep a rhythm at the plate, the routine and things of that nature are big to perform on the field no matter what the circumstances."
In first start behind dish, Fryer gets familiar 'mate
CHICAGO -- Catcher Eric Fryer made his first start with the Twins on Wednesday since being called up from Triple-A Rochester on Sept. 9, catching former Red Wings teammate Scott Diamond.
Prior to getting the nod for the series finale against the White Sox, Fryer had made three plate appearances in two games, homering on Sept. 11 against Oakland.
"It's exciting," Fryer said. "I get to catch Scott; I've caught him down in Triple-A, so I'm familiar with him. I'm looking forward to getting out there and getting behind the plate."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he was looking forward to seeing Fryer behind the plate.
"I'm excited [to play him]," Gardenhire said. "I talked to Scotty earlier about how they worked together down [at Triple-A], and I thought this would be a good game to let those two go together. I wanted to get this kid a chance to catch. He works his tail off and has done everything we've asked and had a good year at Triple-A. So this would be a nice time to get him out there."
Bullpen has been a 'constant' for Twins in '13
CHICAGO -- Twins general manager Terry Ryan said on Wednesday that despite a difficult season, Minnesota's bullpen has been a bright spot.
"For the most part, I think as a whole, the bullpen has done a decent job," Ryan said. "That's the one constant on this ballclub is that we've had about the same bullpen for the better part of the year."
Going into Wednesday's series finale against the White Sox, the Twins' bullpen had posted a 3.34 ERA, whereas the starting rotation had a 5.17 mark.
One reliever in particular that Ryan said has been impressive is Ryan Pressly, who going into Wednesday had a 3.56 ERA in 46 appearances for Minnesota after only 34 appearances between Class A and Double-A in 2012.
"For a guy that's not had any experience above Double-A -- and he had very little experience at Double-A -- he's handled himself," Ryan said. "[With] his poise and his ability to handle troublesome innings, he's done OK. He's thrown the ball over the plate for the most part."
• Twins catcher Joe Mauer, who has been out with a concussion sustained on a foul tip on Aug. 19, stayed home to work out for a third straight day, according to Twins general manager Terry Ryan. Ryan said that Mauer is feeling good, but Twins trainer Dave Pruemer recommended Mauer to work out at home instead of at Target Field this week. There's still no timetable for his return.
• Going into Wednesday's series finale against the White Sox, Trevor Plouffe had hit safely in 12 of 16 September games, including eight multihit games. He was hitting .381 (24-for-63) on the month, sixth best in the American League. His 24 hits ranked second in the league behind Jose Altuve of the Astros (30).
• Reliever Jared Burton made his career-high 69th appearance for the Twins on Tuesday night, pitching a scoreless eighth inning. The right-hander had also tossed a career-high 64 innings on the season going into Wednesday. Minnesota was 80-53 in games pitched by Burton since the beginning of the 2012 season.
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.