Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 1/14/13
MINNEAPOLIS Sure, it might be the heart of hockey season in the State of Hockey, especially with the NHL starting back up this week. But for Ron Gardenhire and the Minnesota Twins, this week also indicates a step closer to baseball season. On Monday, Gardenhire and other Twins players and coaches began the annual Winter Caravan, a lead-up to TwinsFest later this month at the Metrodome. From there, it's only a matter of days before pitchers and catchers report to camp in Fort Myers, Fla. "It kind of gets you really pumped up for it and you get excited to get down there and get going again," Gardenhire said. "We have a lot to prove and we have a lot to do." Indeed, Minnesota will have plenty of work to do to rebound from back-to-back 90-loss seasons. The Twins stumbled to a 66-96 finish in 2012, mainly a result of having the American League's worst pitching rotation. Minnesota's starters had the highest ERA in the league and second worst in baseball behind Colorado. In hopes to alleviate some of the pitching woes, the Twins added several veteran pitchers and a few more promising pitching prospects this offseason. To do so, though, they had to trade away a pair of center fielders in Denard Span and Ben Revere. "We lost good players, but the only way to get good pitching is you're going to have to move some players to get it," Gardenhire said. "Moving Span and Revere was kind of a shocker for a lot of people. That's two pretty good center fielders, one that's established and one that was getting there. But you move them and get pitching, which we desperately needed" Span was dealt to Washington in exchange for prospect Alex Meyer, while the Twins traded Revere to Philadelphia for Vance Worley and minor leaguer Trevor May. Additionally, Minnesota signed veteran free agents Mike Pelfrey and Kevin Correia. Those two, along with Worley, will be expected to help bolster a rotation that had a 5.40 ERA last year. "All we ask is that you get us deep into the game," Gardenhire said of his starting pitchers. "We've got guys that can hit. We can score runs. We just needed to stay in the games a little bit longer. Hopefully that's what we've accomplished. We'll see." The new faces in the rotation aren't the only changes the Twins made this offseason. Much of Gardenhire's coaching staff received a shake-up. The only coach to keep his title was pitching coach Rick Anderson. Several others were either let go or reassigned within the organization. Minnesota hired former Twins player Tom Brunansky as the team's new hitting coach, Bobby Cuellar as bullpen coach and former Twins catcher Terry Steinbach as bench coach and catching instructor. Brunansky and Cuellar both worked for the Rochester Red Wings, Minnesota's Triple-A affiliate, last season as the hitting coach and pitching coach, respectively. Now they'll join Gardenhire's staff in the majors. "I've known Bobby a long time, hard worker, will always be there if the players need him. Same with Steiny. Steiny's been there and done it.," Gardenhire said. "And then Brunansky's been with a lot of our players through the minor leagues. He's a great hitting coach, great guy, a very positive guy. He was destined to be a big league hitting coach. He's getting an opportunity now." As Gardenhire hits the road among the various stops on the caravan, he'll likely be asked whether the Twins can still compete in 2013 while also building for the future. General manager Terry Ryan has said that he believes the Twins can still complete this year while also rebuilding. Gardenhire echoed that sentiment Monday. "In baseball, you're always developing. It's not any different this year whether it's young or veteran players. You're always teaching. It's a constant," he said. "So really, it doesn't change a lot. We're going to have some young pitchers that are developing during the course of the year. The best developing that you can do is put them out on a baseball field and let them learn by playing the game and being aggressive and all of those things. That's really how they're going to develop. We can talk all we want to, but it's game experience. That's what these guys need is game experience." Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kristi Yamaguchi wasn't throwing shade at Nancy Kerrigan with tweet

Rodgers: Packers fans ‘should be really excited’ about season

Ball brothers’ H.S. coach details how hard LaVar Ball is to work with

Philip Rivers shares thoughts on Chargers possibly drafting QB

Molina rips Jones for saying Puerto Rico celebrated early

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Bill Murray goes nuts celebrating Xavier’s upset

Pat Kelsey ditches UMass right before first press conference

Report: Top GM candidates not interested in Redskins job due to Daniel Snyder

Carmelo Anthony: Knicks were more free-flowing before triangle emphasis

Report: Deal in works for Raiders to play at Sam Boyd Stadium in Vegas

Yoenis Cespedes: MLB would grow if they played with Latin culture

Box Score 3/24: Waiting on West Virginia

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

With Team USA's victory, World Baseball Classic (finally) lived up to its potential

The NFL distraction playbook

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Box Score 3/23: Team USA wins their first WBC title

The 'Duke schadenfreude season came early this year' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

The NFL distraction playbook

With Team USA's victory the WBC (finally) lived up to its potential

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Eastern Conference bottom feeders to watch down the stretch

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker