John Shipley / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS — Joe Mauer will not crack. Finishing his 15th major league season and without a contract next season, Mauer has resisted answering questions about his future since spring training. With the season winding down and the Twins in rebuilding mode, he still refuses to budge. "I'm looking forward to going out and competing tonight," he said Thursday, Aug. 16, before the opener of a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers at Target Field.
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota seems to agree with Logan Forsythe. Forsythe, the veteran second baseman who came to Minnesota as part of the deal that sent Brian Dozier to the Los Angeles Dodgers — primarily for prospects — went 2 for 3 with a walk and drove in the tying and go-ahead runs Wednesday as the Twins rallied past Pittsburgh 6-4 at Target Field.
MINNEAPOLIS — Trevor Hildenberger has pitched successfully in the Twins' past three save opportunities, and was asked Wednesday, Aug. 15, to come up with a song he wants played when he walks out of the bullpen in a closing situation. But don't read too much into that. Since they traded away Fernando Rodney in an Aug. 7 waiver-wire deal, the Twins have faced three save opportunities, and Hildenberger got them all, and earned his fourth major league save in Wednesday's 6-4 victory over Pittsburgh at Target Field.
MINNEAPOLIS — After serving as the third base umpire for the Twins' matinee against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018, Joe West had worked 5,164 major league games, passing former colleague Bruce Froemming for second all time. If West, 65, keeps working, he could pass Bill Klem, a National League umpire from 1905-41, for the MLB record sometime around June 2020. And right now he has no plans to stop.
MINNEAPOLIS—Miguel Sano was trying on his new hat at his locker Tuesday, a smaller one that will better fit his head now that he has shorn the hair he was wearing in dreadlocks that touched his shoulders. "Helmet, too," he said. "I just cut it today." The Twins third baseman had two reasons for cutting the hair he estimates took him about three years to grow. One, he was getting too hot and sweaty, and two, he was tired of his helmet falling off when he ran the bases. "It fell off too much," he said. "I don't like that."
EAGAN, Minn.—This just in: Vikings players might occasionally get into practice fights and might even, as a result, be kicked out of practice for the rest of the day. But at the end of the day, as they say, they all still love each other. Of this, fans were assured Thursday when receiver Stefon Diggs and cornerback Xavier Rhodes addressed the reason they sat out of the Vikings' full-pads practice Wednesday afternoon at TCO Performance Center in Eagan. "We go at it, but it's all love," Diggs told reporters. "It's a family thing here."
EAGAN, Minn. — Vikings fans are nothing if not fatalistic, so news of Nick Easton's season-ending surgery Thursday, Aug. 9, might send some of the bravely optimistic into here-we-go-again mode before the team plays its first preseason game on Saturday. And let's face it, not without good reason.
The NFL's new "helmet rule" made an uneasy debut during the Hall of Fame Game between the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens on Saturday, Aug. 4, officially killing professional tackle football. With the world increasingly wise to the existence, dangers and bad publicity of sports-related head injuries, the NFL is trying to outlaw tackles that begin and end with the crown of a player's helmet, which seems reasonable.
MINNEAPOLIS—Who's next? That's been the primary focus in the Twins' clubhouse since the brass began selling off pending free agents ahead of Tuesday's 3 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline. Saturday in Boston, it was infielder Eduardo Escobar and reliever Ryan Pressly, dealt to Arizona and Houston, respectively, for a pair of prospects each. When the Twins returned to Target Field on Monday, it was reliever Zach Duke and starter Lance Lynn who got a tap on the shoulder.
MINNEAPOLIS—Miguel Sano was in the Twins' lineup batting seventh Monday, July 30, his third game back from a six-week rehab assignment spent mostly conditioning at Class A Fort Myers. In his first two games back, Sano was 0 for 7 with five strikeouts and no walks. Before being recalled Saturday, July 28, he spent nine games at Triple-A Rochester, hitting .267 with two home runs, five runs batted in, six walks and eight strikeouts. He hit .328 in 19 games with the Miracle.