5/27/2014 8:23 P.M. ET
Moreland, Dozier renew high school rivalry
By Rhett Bollinger and Alex M. Smith / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- When the Rangers face the Twins, it renews an old northeast Mississippi rivalry between the Moreland clan and the Dozier clan. Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland is from Amory, while Twins second baseman Brian Dozier and his brother Clay are from Fulton, one county to the north.
"I grew up playing against the Doziers," Moreland said. "It's friendly now, but it was heated when we were in high school."
Moreland and Dozier actually went head to head because Moreland was a pitcher in high school and in college when he went to Mississippi State. Dozier went to Southern Mississippi, and they went up against each other in college.
"He owned me," Moreland said. "He pretty much hit me around."
Dozier doesn't quite remember it that way.
"We got the best of each other," Dozier said. "I got him some and he got me some. I remember thinking that if he ever got to the big leagues, it would be as a pitcher. He was the best pitcher in Mississippi."
Dozier and Moreland did play together on some summer league teams, and their dads have become good friends as well.
"We both grew up dreaming that this is what we wanted to do," Dozier said.
Gardy catches up with Baker before spot start
MINNEAPOLIS -- It's not very often a manager talks to the opposing starting pitcher before his start, but that's exactly what happened with Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and Rangers right-hander Scott Baker on Tuesday.
But it was an unusual circumstance, as the former Twins pitcher had yet to be named Tuesday's starter after right-hander Yu Darvish was scratched with neck stiffness.
Gardenhire had just heard that Darvish would miss his start from Rangers manager Ron Washington roughly five hours before the game, and he also happened to run into Baker on the field. So Gardenhire simply chatted with Baker, who played with the Twins from 2005-11 until missing the '12 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
"It was good seeing him -- he did pretty well for us here," Gardenhire said. "We didn't talk about much baseball, and at the time I didn't know he was going to be the starter. But he did tell me he had a good suspicion he'd be the starter. But we just chatted about how he's doing, and all the stuff he went through with his arm. He had a setback with it, but since then he's done well and is feeling great."
Baker posted a 4.15 ERA in his seven seasons with the Twins, and he entered Tuesday's outing with the Rangers with a 6.35 ERA in two appearances, including one start. But Gardenhire said the Twins hadn't seen him pitch in so long that they didn't enter with any advantage.
"We haven't seen him in a while," Gardenhire said. "He had the surgery and some arm injuries. We know him. He pitched here. But we haven't seen him in a long time."
Twins searching for way to jump-start offense
MINNEAPOLIS -- After finishing April fifth in the Majors in runs scored, the Twins find themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum in May, as they entered Tuesday's game against the Rangers having scored the third-fewest runs this month.
Manager Ron Gardenhire said he might try mixing in more hit-and-runs to try to get the offense going again. The Twins scored just four combined runs in their sweep at the hands of the Giants over the weekend, and they were held in check offensively again on Monday by the Rangers.
"We're not a big hit-and-run team," Gardenhire said. "We have some guys who can do those types of things, but we're not a team that relies on the hit-and-run. But I've definitely talked to a couple of the coaches about looking from some opportunities at the top and bottom of the lineup to put some guys in motion. You don't want to panic or force things. But it's fun to play baseball like that and get moving and try some things like that."
Catcher Kurt Suzuki said the key for the Twins will be to not press, despite their recent offensive struggles.
"We just have to start hitting the ball," Suzuki said. "I don't think there's a real secret. I think the less you think, the better. So you can't go up there thinking to recreate something or figure it out. You just have to keep grinding away."
Parmelee given rare start in left field
MINNEAPOLIS -- Chris Parmelee, who usually plays first base and right field, got the start in left field against the Rangers on Tuesday night.
It's only the second time in Parmelee's four-year career that he started in left, and the first since April 23, 2012, when he went 1-for-4 against the Red Sox at Target Field. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is not worried about the decision to make Parmelee swap sides.
"He's fine," Gardenhire said. "Parm can play anywhere out there. He's versatile. He can move around pretty good. I don't worry about him."
The 26-year-old will be in left for strategic reasons: Gardenhire didn't want to start Parmelee at designated hitter, which would essentially preclude the manager from switching Parmelee to first base if a substitute is needed. With Josh Willingham in the DH spot, a potential switch is much more manageable.
Parmelee -- called up after 32 games in Triple-A Rochester -- has made 14 appearances for the Twins this season and played right field in all of them. He did switch to left field for a half inning against the Giants on Friday after Chris Colabello pinch-hit for Jason Kubel, and Gardenhire said Parmelee took some extra fielding and throwing practice before Tuesday's game.
"Left field's not an easy position out there," he said. "With the sun, the short fence and the way the ball travels. This is not an easy ballpark, because the wind circulates a little."
Willingham still figures to be the long-term option in left.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. Alex M. Smith is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.