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04/09/11 7:05 PM ET

New batter's eye draws positive reviews

MINNEAPOLIS -- It may not have translated into immediate success at the plate, but early reviews of the new batter's eye at Target Field have been positive.

During the offseason, the Twins removed the 14 black spruce trees that previously were behind the center field wall. The club also installed a new honeycomb-like material on the backdrop that reduces the glare for hitters off the batter's eye.

"It was nice," Mauer said. "We had an overcast day, so that's always nice. But yeah, it looks great. Definitely an improvement."

Both the trees and the glare were cited as issues during the Twins' first season in their new home. Through one game, the changes seemed to be a success.

Despite collecting eight hits, the Twins went without an extra-base hit Friday in their 2-1 victory over the A's. While they did not hit the ball too hard off Oakland's Brett Anderson, the hitters all had good things to say about the batter's eye.

"I liked it," Jason Kubel said. "I saw everything fine. [In batting practice], when it was sunny out there, it was fine. Three o'clock games were the worst ones."

Gardenhire receives AL Manager of Year trophy

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was honored before Saturday's game at Target Field and presented with the trophy for his 2010 American League Manager of the Year Award.

Gardenhire earned the award after leading Minnesota to a 94-68 record and the 2010 American league Central Division title. It was the first such honor for Gardenhire, who is in his 10th season as manager and has led the Twins to six division crowns.

Before the game, Gardenhire was asked if he was looking forward to the presentation.

"Sure," he answered. "Yeah, that's fine. I kind of like to stay away from those things, but that'll be neat out there I guess, getting the award."

Burnett called up to fill Slowey's roster spot

MINNEAPOLIS -- All it took was two pitches with Triple-A Rochester before right-hander Alex Burnett was called up to the Twins.

Burnett, 23, retired the only batter he faced Thursday night at Pawtucket, before getting the news late Friday that he was getting the call to the big leagues, with right-hander Kevin Slowey going on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder bursitis on Saturday.

Burnett, who made 41 appearances with the Twins last season and posted a 5.29 ERA over 47 1/3 innings with 23 walks and 37 strikeouts, was understandably happy about his promotion.

"It feels good back to be back in this stadium and I can't wait to get back out there with the fans again," said Burnett, who will wear uniform No. 31. "Like they say in Spring Training, things always happen. I didn't expect it, though."

Burnett made six appearances in the Grapefruit League, compiling a 4.50 ERA over six innings, while striking out five and walking one. He made it a point to work on holding runners on and being quicker to home plate, as he's had trouble with opposing basestealers in the past.

"We saw him in Spring Training and he was a lot better," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Now it's about throwing the ball over the plate and using that slide-step. We just have to get him out there on the field."

Stelmaszek undergoes retina surgery

MINNEAPOLIS -- Longtime Twins bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek underwent successful surgery to repair a detached retina and could rejoin the team in the coming weeks, according to manager Ron Gardenhire.

"Stelly had surgery and everything went really well," Gardenhire said. "Now it's just the process of resting for a few days here and moving forward from there. So we'll see if he'll join us here or on the road or wherever."

Stelmaszek, who missed Spring Training because of the issue with his right eye, is being temporarily replaced by Minor League manager Phil Roof.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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