16 Minnesota Twins

April 05, 1987

That darned kid. He found a dazzling paisley shirt in rookie infielder Julius McDougal's locker at the Twins' training camp in Orlando this spring, slipped it over his uniform and wore it out to practice. Such spring training high jinks are common, but in this case, the kid was the new Minnesota manager, 36-year-old Tom Kelly. "I like to keep the game fun," says Kelly, the youngest and perhaps most refreshing skipper in baseball.

Kelly is part of a new Minnesota look that includes pinstripes, a redesigned cap logo and—most important—a bearded savior for the bullpen. By swiping Jeff Reardon from Montreal for Neal Heaton and some prospects, the Twins have transformed themselves into contenders.

Reardon, whose 76 saves the last two years were the most in baseball, joins a staff whose 4.77 ERA and 24 saves ranked dead last. Minnesota's pitchers gave up a whopping 200 homers and lost 27 games from the seventh inning on.

Minnesota's everyday lineup, still blessed with the power (and Gold Gloves) of centerfielder Kirby Puckett and third baseman Gary Gaetti, will be slightly streamlined. First baseman Kent Hrbek, whose average and RBI totals have declined since 1984, shed 15 pounds. "I didn't want to look like a pig on my baseball card," he admits.

Kelly, who spent 15 years in the minors, has instilled enthusiasm in his club. If Reardon can somehow turn the dismal pitching around, TK and his Twins could have more fun than most people expect.

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ILLUSTRATION

PLAYER
KEY STATS

P

H

COMMENTS

G. GAGNE
.250, 12 HRs, 12 SBs

SS

R

Only one AL shortstop, Alan Trammell, surpassed him in BA, HRs and SBs.

R. BUSH
.269, 7 HRs, 45 RBIs

RF

L

Batted .300 in 38 games batting in the 5th spot; .224 in 45 games batting 2nd.

K. PUCKETT
.328, 31 HRs, 96 RBIs

CF

R

Only player ever to have 30-HR season after having a no-homer, 500—at bat season (1984).

K. HRBEK
.267, 29 HRs, 91 RBIs

1B

L

Career BA of .314 at the Metrodome, .263 in road games.

G. GAETTI
.287, 34 HRs, 108 RBIs

3B

R

Led AL third basemen with 2.22 assists per nine innings last season.

T. BRUNANSKY
.256, 23 HRs, 75 RBIs

LF

R

Homerdome? Career rate of one HR every 22.9 at bats at home, 19.1 on the road.

R. SMALLEY
.246, 20 HRs, 57 RBIs

DH

S

He has hit 35 of his last 37 home runs batting lefthanded.

T. LAUDNER
.244, 10 HRs, 29 RBIs

C

R

Team was 31-26 with Laudner starting, 40-65 with the other catchers.

S. LOMBARDOZZI
.227, 8 HRs, 33 RBIs

2B

R

Outdoors, on grass, in daylight, he hit .145 with 2 RBIs in 20 games.

B. BLYLEVEN
17-14, 4.01 ERA

SP

R

Allowed exactly 100 extra-base hits, most by any pitcher in last 12 years.

F. VIOLA
16-13, 4.51 ERA

SP

L

Has won more games (52) over past three seasons than any lefty in the majors.

M. SMITHSON
13-14, 4.77 ERA

SP

R

Allowed 30 first-inning runs (3rd most in AL) in 33 starts.

M. PORTUGAL
6-10, 4.31 ERA

SP

R

Battle for the Iberian Peninsula: Franco is 3 for 10 with two doubles versus Portugal.

J. BERENGUER
4 SVs, 2.70 ERA

RP

R

Has faced 61 batters with the bases loaded and walked in 12 runs.

J. REARDON
35 SVs, 3.94 ERA

RP

R

Opposing leadoff hitters have hit .161 over previous two seasons.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)