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Twins no longer interested in Blanco

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins and catcher Mike Redmond agreed on a $1.8 million, two-year contract Wednesday, giving the club veteran insurance behind Joe Mauer.

Redmond, who played the past six-plus seasons with Florida,
batted .256 with 15 doubles, two homers and 25 RBI in 246 at-bats
last year for the Marlins. A .284 career hitter who has a World
Series ring from 2003, Redmond had spent his entire career in the Florida organization.

This means the Twins are no longer interested in Henry Blanco, who filled in capably at the position when Mauer tore cartilage in his left knee -- and wound up playing in just 35 games when recovery from surgery took much longer than expected.

Blanco's increase in playing time allowed him to exercise a
right to become a free agent earlier this month. He was asking a
little too much for general manager Terry Ryan's budget.

"We did pursue him," Ryan said. "We just couldn't find a
common ground, so we've moved on."

Redmond is an offensive upgrade from Blanco, who hit 10 home
runs with 37 RBI in 315 at-bats but finished with a .206 average.

Blanco, however, is good with the glove and developed an
excellent rapport with the Twins' pitching staff -- especially
fellow Venezuelans Johan Santana, the AL Cy Young winner, and
Carlos Silva, a 14-game winner.

Mauer had an exam on Wednesday, Ryan said, and received an
encouraging report on his knee. He'll be returning to the club's
complex in Fort Myers, Fla., next week to resume workouts and is on
track to be ready for spring training in February.

The first overall pick in the 2001 draft, Mauer showed his
promise in the limited appearances he made last season. The
21-year-old batted .308 with six homers in 107 at-bats.

Matthew LeCroy, primarily a designated hitter, Corky Miller and
Rob Bowen are the other catchers on Minnesota's roster.