5/17/2014 8:08 P.M. ET
Pitchers keep mood light during batting practice
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins pitchers have been taking batting practice and participating in baserunning drills this week to get ready for Interleague Play in San Diego and San Francisco next week.
The Twins face the Padres on Tuesday and Wednesday before heading north to play the Giants for a three-game series that begins Friday.
The Twins have two pitchers with plenty of experience at the plate, as veterans Kevin Correia and Ricky Nolasco played exclusively in the National League before joining the Twins. But Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he had been most impressed by the swing of Phil Hughes, who was launching homers during batting practice.
"I could DH him, and I'd be comfortable," Gardenhire said, joking. "He looks like he can really swing it."
Hughes, though, is 0-for-6 in his career at the plate, with two strikeouts and two sacrifice bunts. But he said he enjoyed taking batting practice with his teammates, as the pitchers joke with one another about their skills at the plate.
"It's always fun to play in Interleague and have competitions and make fun of each other," Hughes said. "So it's nice to take BP every now and then. BP is a different story. I don't even have a hit in Interleague. I guess my BP skills play above everything."
The Twins are also expected to make a roster move before Interleague play begins, as Gardenhire wants an extra bat on his bench with the pinch-hitting and double switches that come without having the luxury of having a designated hitter. The Twins have a 13-man pitching staff, and the move is expected to come after Sunday's game against the Mariners once Gardenhire meets with assistant general manager Rob Antony.
"That remains our goal," Gardenhire said. "We'll see how everything goes. It'll probably be tomorrow. I'll talk to Rob tonight or tomorrow. We've already had discussions. He knows I want that extra bench guy for the National League."
Results promising in Pelfrey's first rehab start
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire received positive reports on right-hander Mike Pelfrey's first rehab start with Triple-A Rochester on Friday.
Pelfrey, on the 15-day disabled list since May 2 with a strained left groin, gave up a run on five hits and a walk over five innings against Triple-A Columbus. He threw 81 pitches, with 53 going for strikes.
"He threw the ball well," Gardenhire said. "He threw the ball over the plate. He worked quick, and he was healthy. So we'll just keep moving forward from there and get his pitch count up."
Pelfrey is expected to make at least one or two more rehab starts before rejoining the Twins. Gardenhire said Pelfrey's velocity on Friday was about the same as it was before his groin injury.
"It was the same thing at about 91 [mph]," Gardenhire said. "We all know he can pump it up to 95. Radar guns can be a little wacky, though. We saw that on our last road trip. So it's hard to go by on those Minor League reports with his velocity. But he threw the ball great and worked quick."
Left fielder Josh Willingham also played in his first rehab game Friday night, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout for Rochester. Willingham, who is on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 7 with a small fracture in his left wrist, is expected to need plenty of at-bats, as he last played April 6.
"He got his swings in," Gardenhire said. "Nothing great. He was healthy, and his swing didn't bother him. So he'll just need more at-bats."
Twins help usher in Target Field Station
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins, the city of Minneapolis and Hennepin County celebrated the opening of Target Field Station on Saturday.
The $85 million facilty is a central transportation hub located outside of Target Field that features an urban park, transit station and neighborhood gathering space featuring a video board and amphitheater. The Twins control the video board and will show Twins road games and All-Star events on the big screen.
"Obviously, the vision of Target Field was as an urban ballpark, but it was also about transit connections," Twins president Dave St. Peter said. "So Target Field Station is a significant milestone and a great upgrade for our fans. It's certainly going to enhance the overall gameday experience for fans before games to gather, but also postgame it also gives an opportunity to give a better experience for those waiting to take a train back home. So there's a lot of positives. It's great for the Twins and for the north loop neighborhood and is a great amenity for our state."
The transit hub connects approximately 500 trains arriving and departing daily via the METRO Blue Line (Hiawatha LRT), METRO Green Line (Central Corridor LRT) and Northstar Commuter Rail, as well as more than 1,900 daily bus trips and miles of bike and walking trails. The Green Line, which will connect Minneapolis and St. Paul by light rail, is scheduled to begin service on June 14.
Target Field Station is a project of Hennepin County, the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority and the Hennepin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority. It has been part of a collaborative effort between Hennepin County, Knutson Construction and Perkins Eastman.
Saturday's celebration began at 1 p.m. CT and featured several live acts in the amphitheater, including Choo Choo Bob, Alex Rossi and the Root City Band, Gear Daddies and Young Ry. St. Peter said he expected the Twins to use the amphitheater plenty moving forward.
"We're going to do some events," St. Peter said. "We have programming responsibilities. So it'll include music and other public events we think will be beneficial to the community. So we'll have more information on that. We want it to be a great public gathering space not only for the Twins games but also on non-game days."
A special ribbon-cutting ceremony was also held Saturday and featured several dignitaries, including Twins owner Jim Pohlad, Hennepin County commissioner Peter McLaughlin, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Representative Keith Ellison, Hennepin County Board chair Mike Opat, Mayor Betsy Hodges of Minneapolis, Metropolitan Council Chair Susan Haigh, Target vice president Dan Griffis, Minnesota Department of Transportation commissioner Charlie Zelle, Red Hawk Consulting's Ed Hunter, the Federal Highway Administration's Derrell Turner, Minnesota Senator Scott Dibble and Minnesota representatives Alice Hausman and Frank Hornstein.