Molitor: Twins can learn from last season

Manager sets optimistic tone for Minnesota's first full-squad workout

Molitor: Twins can learn from last season

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Before the Twins held their first official full-squad workout on Sunday, Twins manager Paul Molitor addressed all 62 players in camp, trying to the set the tone for the 2017 season.

Coming off a 103-loss season, Molitor remained optimistic, as he believes the Twins can learn from last year, despite the results.

"I try to be thoughtful," Molitor said. "I try to have an idea of the direction I want to take it and hopefully a tone to be set. Last year we had a pretty good vibe and feel to challenge the guys to get to the next level, but we saw how that worked out. But the people who went through it, that's where growth occurs."

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Molitor said the players look at last season in different ways, as some are eager to forget it and move on, while others are motivated by it. It's become a topic of conversation in several of Molitor's individual meetings with players.

"It's one of those things where different people will choose different paths," Molitor said. "I think some guys will carry big chips [on their shoulders]. We've had some guys come into our morning session who clearly stated that what they went through last year, they never want to go through again."

Molitor and his coaching staff introduced some tweaks to the full-squad workout routine, adding new drills that emphasize pitch framing for catchers, baserunning and cutting down on errors. First-base coach Jeff Smith has been working with the catchers, while Major League coach Jeff Pickler has been working with the outfielders.

"I don't know if there's anything aesthetically that'll jump out at you, but there a few subtle things with our outfield, catching, baserunning and bunting," Molitor said. "You'll see more smaller group things in the morning."

It was also the first day of live bullpen sessions, with the hitters facing pitchers for the first time. Notable pitchers who threw include Phil Hughes, Kyle Gibson, Brandon Kintzler, Michael Tonkin, Trevor May, Jose Berrios, Buddy Boshers, Taylor Rogers and Justin Haley.

Hughes, who is coming off surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome, said he threw without any issues while facing Joe Mauer, Miguel Sano, Robbie Grossman and Jason Castro. He also joked about his success against Mauer, who didn't swing, as he uses the first day to track pitches.

"I struck him out looking," Hughes said with a laugh.

Worth noting

• Left-handed reliever Mason Melotakis threw on flat ground on Saturday, but he had to cut his throwing session short because of discomfort in his right oblique, according to general manager Thad Levine. He'll have a few days off from throwing.

• Michael Cuddyer arrived to Twins camp as a special instructor on Sunday, joining Torii Hunter and LaTroy Hawkins. Cuddyer, who played with the Twins from 2001-11, will make two trips to Fort Myers to help assist the coaching staff.

"Just another high character guy with a nice resume in Twins history," Molitor said. "It's a nice mix. Throughout the years, we've been expanding in that, which is good. They don't play anymore. Don't get carried away. But it's nice to bridge to generations of Twins players and bring in voices of experience and success."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.