DETROIT (AP) -- Torii Hunter is running more often this season.
The Minnesota Twins center fielder, who has plenty of speed, wants to use it on the basepaths, too. After stealing 23 bases last season, Hunter is already 10-for-10 in 17 games in 2005."I thought that I could steal more," he said.From manager Ron Gardenhire's point of view, Hunter is just adding another dimension to his game. He already has four Gold Glove Awards and four consecutive 20-homer seasons."He's playing the whole game," Gardenhire said. "He's got a pretty good feel on the bases and he has the green light."A big part of that feel is getting a good jump. Hunter demonstrated that ability in Friday night's 5-4, 10-inning loss to the Detroit Tigers. After walking in the seventh inning, Hunter got such a big jump on reliever Kyle Farnsworth that even strong-armed catcher Ivan Rodriguez didn't have a chance to throw him out.Hunter couldn't add to his stolen base total Saturday because Minnesota's game against Detroit was postponed by snow. It will be made up on Monday at 1:05 p.m.Hunter said he actually started running more during the middle of last season. He was hampered earlier in 2004 by hamstring injuries."Once June, July hit, I started running," Hunter said.He added that he would like to steal 30 or 40 bases this season."That's an individual goal," he said. "But if we don't make the playoffs, that's my goal."The loss wasn't the only negative for Hunter on Friday night. In the first inning he dropped Brandon Inge's fly ball to deep center for a three-base error. Inge then scored on Rodriguez's groundout.Hunter said it was the first time on any level -- including when he was a youngster -- that he dropped a fly ball."I didn't get back far enough and it tipped my glove," he said.He also said it would never happen again.Both teams will push back their starting pitchers one day because of the postponement. Minnesota's Joe Mays will face Detroit's Jason Johnson on Sunday.
Tigers manager Alan Trammell liked the matchup of Farnsworth against Hunter so much that he removed starter Mike Maroth after only 75 pitches Friday night -- even though Maroth had easily retired his last six batters. But Farnsworth walked Hunter, who stole second and scored the tying run. "I thought Kyle Farnsworth against Torii Hunter was a good matchup for us, but it didn't work out. I would do it again," Trammell said. "We've played 17 games, and that's a very small part of the season. We'll need those guys for months to come. They've got a track record, and they will have a pretty good record when this season is over."