Report: Twins tell 1B he could be dealt

Updated: July 27, 2004, 2:55 AM ET
Associated Press

CHICAGO -- Struggling first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, who finds himself in the middle of trade rumors, said Monday that he doesn't want his situation to be a distraction to the Minnesota Twins.

"If I could predict the future, I wouldn't be hitting .240," Mientkiewicz said before the first-place Twins opened a key three-game series against the Chicago White Sox.

Doug Mientkiewicz

Citing team sources, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported on its Web site that Mientkiewicz has been told by team officials he would be traded. The Twins have been looking for another starter, possibly Kris Benson of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"I respect [general manager] Terry Ryan. I'm not upset with anybody in the organization," Mientkiewicz said.

"The timing couldn't be worse. We're in a pennant race and in a big series. I don't want to take the focus away."

Bothered by a wrist injury, Mientkiewicz is batting .238 in 77 games with five homers and 23 RBI. He has been replaced by Justin Morneau, who was called up from Triple-A earlier this month and is batting .299 with five homers. Mientkiewicz is 30, Morneau 23.

"I know his name is being mentioned everywhere, but it's not by me and it's not by Terry Ryan," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Monday.

"I talked to Terry today, and everybody is looking at everybody and everybody's name has come up in trades. I've already talked to Mientkiewicz. You know his name is going to be out there. He understands the situation, although he is frustrated with it, I'm sure. If something happens with him and he does get traded, we can't control it. All we can do is play for the day. And if it happens, it happens."

Mientkiewicz has batted .306, .261 and .300 the last three seasons as the Twins have established themselves as a contender in the American League. He's also known as one of the best fielding first basemen in the league.

"I wanted to be one of the group that turned the franchise around, and I think I did that," Mientkiewicz said. "That's something to hang my hat on -- if I do go."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press