Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 6/12/13
MINNEAPOLIS The Minnesota Twins turned in a handful of nice defensive plays in Tuesday's 3-2 win over Philadelphia. Shortstop Pedro Florimon led the way with a gem up the middle of the infield for the first out of the game, and outfielders Oswaldo Arcia and Clete Thomas followed suit with nice catches of their own. Yet, while those types of defensive plays are the ones that make the highlight reels, they're not what has impressed manager Ron Gardenhire the most about his team's defense this season. It's been getting back to fundamental baseball that has the skipper pleased. "It's not always about the great plays, but it's about the outs you're supposed to get," Gardenhire said. "The outs we're supposed to get, we've been getting, along with some pretty good ones. Arcia running that ball fading away from him, that was a really nice play. Florimon, the first play of the game, a hard-hit ball up the middle, he made a really nice play. "We can make some of those, too, but really it's the outs you're supposed to get." For a franchise that has prided itself on defense over the years, the Twins got away from playing fundamental defense last season. Minnesota committed 107 errors in 2012, tied for ninth-most in baseball. The Twins' fielding percentage of .983 also ranked in the bottom third of all 30 teams. This spring, Gardenhire and the rest of the coaching staff put a heavy emphasis on getting back to playing fundamental baseball. That starts with defense. Through the Twins' first 61 games, it seems those lessons learned in spring training have paid off. Entering Wednesday's game against the Phillies, Minnesota had committed just 26 errors, tied for fifth-fewest in the majors. "It makes my job easier knowing they're going to run the balls down and make the plays behind me," said Twins right-hander P.J. Walters, the benefactor of the trio of nice plays made in Tuesday's game at Target Field. "Those plays they make, they obviously get an out; they keep a guy off base. The balls in right center and down the line that the outfielders run down are extra base hits if they don't catch them. That's more pitches I've got to throw. As a pitcher, that's huge." The Twins' defense has been solid despite a rotating lineup and, as a result, plenty of moving parts on defense. Gardenhire has had to shuffle his outfield recently as center fielder Aaron Hicks landed on the disabled list. The infield remains in flux, too, with Trevor Plouffe also on the DL and a platoon of veteran Jamey Carroll and utility man Eduardo Escobar bouncing around the infield while Brian Dozier has manned second base. "I know I can speak for everybody, I feel like we have a lot of guys that can play some different positions," Dozier said. "The outfield's been doing a good job hitting relay men, playing balls off the wall, running balls down. That goes a long way. I think a big thing is hitting cutoff men this year and keeping double plays in order and allowing us to turn a lot more double plays." The Twins have turned 62 double plays, the fourth-most in baseball. As Dozier noted, it's due to outfielders doing the little things correctly that Minnesota has found success turning double plays. Having a staff of groundball pitchers also helps, but the infielders have had to make the plays behind them. For the most part, they have. The starting pitching remains a work in progress the Twins' rotation has a 5.22 ERA, third-worst in baseball and the offense has been streaky throughout the season. The one constant, though, has been the defense. Minnesota's ability to field the ball is a big reason why the Twins appear to be improved from last year's team that lost 96 games. "I think from Day 1 when we had our first meeting, Gardy put more emphasis on we're going to get back to throwing and catching the ball like we're supposed to and being fundamentally sound, one through nine, everybody on the field," Dozier said. "There've been times this year when we went through a struggle hitting. But I think the defense has been the most consistent. That's why we're still winning baseball games. We're hanging in there. You've got to start with pitching and defense. Safe to say everything's been good so far." Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Luke Walton not stressing LaVar Ball, cites his dad's 'big personality'

Durant says he was ‘100 percent correct’ in joining Warriors

Medals handed out at Rio Olympics literally falling apart

Report: Paul Millsap opts out of contract to become free agent

Ben Roethlisberger 'proud' of self-reporting 2015 concussion

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Reporter responds on Twitter to LeBron calling him out at presser

Miguel Cabrera, Sam Dyson at odds over sign stealing accusation

Celtics were upset with talk focusing on Isaiah Thomas

Revis will not face NFL discipline after assault charges dropped

Allen: Washington has had ‘constant dialogue’ with Cousins

John Wall won’t sign extension until he sees Wizards' plan

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Three Up, Three Down: Astros dominate in every category

Box Score 5/19: Heartbreak in OT

Sports & Politics Intersect: NBA power players continue to speak against Trump

The 'Rookies are running back to prominence' quiz

Gisele brings focus on Brady’s late career back to head injuries

Where did it all go wrong for the NBA second-round losers?

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

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Three Up, Three Down: Astros dominate in every category

Sports & Politics Intersect: NBA power players continue to speak against Trump

The 'Rookies are running back to prominence' quiz

Gisele brings focus on Brady’s late career back to head injuries

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