Twins Winter Caravan hits the road

Twins Winter Caravan hits the road

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins kicked off their 55th annual Winter Caravan on Monday with two different routes heading out of the Twin Cities.

The 2015 Winter Caravan, presented by AmericInn Hotels and Suites, features stops in more than 40 communities in four states over the next two weeks. It includes four different routes with visits to schools, hospitals, local businesses and more, while also featuring a nightly Hot Stove program where fans can interact and ask questions.

The caravan got underway Monday morning with the first stop at Go 96.3, the newly re-branded radio station that will be the exclusive radio play-by-play home for the Twins in '15.

New Twins manager Paul Molitor is on the first leg along with closer and fellow Minnesota native Glen Perkins, as well as third-base coach Gene Glynn and broadcaster Kris Atteberry. The first route features five stops on the first day, including a night program at the Prom Center in Oakdale, Minn., with general manager Terry Ryan and club president Dave St. Peter.

The first route is headed south, and the group will attend the annual banquet for Class A Cedar Rapids (Iowa) on Tuesday night. Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony is set to join them at the banquet, while Ryan will rejoin the group on the final day of the first leg on Thursday at Treasure Island Resort and Casino in Red Wing, Minn.

The second route features pitchers Kyle Gibson and Caleb Thielbar along with former Twins great and current broadcaster Dan Gladden. The group started Monday morning with a public stop in Aitkin, Minn., before heading to Grand Rapids, Minn.

Their route takes them north with stops in Fargo, N.D. and Grand Forks, N.D. The second leg also wraps up on Thursday with the final stop in Duluth, Minn. St. Peter is scheduled to join the second route for its night stop in Fargo, N.D. on Tuesday.

It all leads up to the second week of the caravan, with two more routes heading in different directions beginning on Jan. 19.

The first leg features left-hander Brian Duensing, second baseman Brian Dozier and broadcasters Jack Morris and Dick Bremer. Their route takes them to Sioux Falls, S.D., the first night before heading to Mankato, Minn., on Jan. 20.

Ryan is slated to join the caravan for the night program on Jan. 20 in Mankato. Right-hander Phil Hughes is also scheduled to make an appearance on Jan. 21 at their stops in Minnesota in Faribault, Owatonna, Chatfield and Rochester. It wraps up Jan. 22 in time for the annual Diamond Awards at Target Field.

The second route of Week 2 is set to include outfielder Jordan Schafer, third baseman Trevor Plouffe, broadcaster Cory Provus and Twins legends Bert Blyleven and Tony Oliva.

Twins first baseman and St. Paul native Joe Mauer is also scheduled to join the night program in St. Cloud, Minn. on Jan. 20. The second route ends Thursday with stops in Minnesota at Ortonville, Benson and Willmar.

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