Twins finding luck in alternate hats

Twins finding luck in alternate hats

Published Jun. 4, 2012 9:09 a.m. ET

Since 2010, the Minnesota Twins have primarily used the "TC" style of hat, both at Target Field and on the road. The team always had the option to wear the "M" hat as well, but rarely opted for the alternate look.

That is, until this week. Minnesota first donned the "M" hats on Memorial Day, albeit a special version in which the "M" was camouflage instead of the usual red color. After the Twins won that game against the Oakland Athletics, they wore them again the following game (this time, the normal navy caps with red lettering). Another win, and the "M" caps again made an appearance in Wednesday's series finale.

Yet even after a 7-1 loss at the hands of the Cleveland Indians on Friday, Minnesota stuck with the "M" hats for the remainder of the series in Cleveland. Those hats were a part of two more wins, as the Twins won the series. They capped it with Sunday's 6-3 win, with "M" hats on their heads.

According to Twins president Dave St. Peter, Minnesota last wore the "M" hats in early August of last season prior to this week. The Twins are now 5-1 this season with those hats. Will they wear them again for Monday's series opener in Kansas City? It remains to be seen.

"I wear what they give me," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told the Pioneer Press before Sunday's game. "They said, 'Let's go to these.' It's superstition, whatever you want. It's another big seller now for the Minnesota Twins. We're wearing them, everybody tries to find them. I would. My family does. My brother in Oklahoma's already asked me to send him one."

Blackburn makes second rehab start: Twins right-hander Nick Blackburn, currently on the 15-day disabled list with a quad injury, made his second start Sunday during his rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester.

Blackburn's start was cut short by a rain delay, however. He pitched just 2 1/3 innings (29 pitches), allowing one run on two hits. He also issued one walk and did not strike out a batter in his rain-shortened outing. In his first rehab start earlier in the week, Blackburn gave up four runs on four hits in 3 2/3 innings while also walking three batters.

Prior to going on the DL, Blackburn was struggling with the Twins. In seven starts this season, he was 1-4 with an 8.37 ERA.

Gardenhire remembers late Dark Star: Long-time Twin Cities radio personality Dark Star (born George Chapple) was found dead in his apartment Friday at the age of 66. The Minnesota Twins heard the news of his death before their game in Cleveland, and Gardenhire said after the game that the news was hard to take.

"I've known him for quite a while," Gardenhire said. "… A very tough night going into the ballgame because of that. Dark's a good friend and a really good friend of (former manager) Tom Kelly's. We're all going to miss him dearly."

Dark Star spent most of his radio career with WCCO-AM in Minneapolis. He could also be seen Sunday nights on "The Sports Show," often times wearing a Twins hat.

"He was a big Twins fan. Always seemed to be on our side and always rooted for the Twins," Gardenhire said. "He always had a lot of really, really good things to say about the Twins. We lost a very good friend and a very good person in the Twin Cities that has entertained a lot of people."

Wheeler is Twins' Minor League Player of the Week: Left-hander Jason Wheeler, currently pitching for Single-A Beloit, was named the Twins' Minor League Player of the Week for the week of May 26-June 1. During that stretch, Wheeler won both of his starts, going 2-0 with a 4.83 ERA in 13 innings.

On the season, the 21-year-old Wheeler is 7-1 with a 3.23 ERA in 11 starts for the Snappers. He's struck out 46 batters and walked 15 in 64 innings of work. This is his first year in the Twins' organization.

Robby Incmikoski contributed to this report.

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