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Updated: July 14th, 2014 9:17pm
Gardenhire rejects suggestion that the Twins stunted Carlos Gomez

Gardenhire rejects suggestion that the Twins stunted Carlos Gomez

by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com
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Audio Clip
7/7/2014
Sports Over Beers, episode 23. Dave St. Peter on the All-Star Game
Twins President Dave St. Peter joins the Sports Over Beers podcast to talk about this year's All-Star Game at Target Field. The best events of All-Star week, the concert at TCF Bank Stadium, the color run, the parade down Nicollet Mall, the Futures Game, the Home Run Derby and the rest of the party. Are there tickets available for any of the events for the week? Where can fans go to find tickets or seating for any of the All-Star events? How will the Twins and the city of Minneapolis benefit from hosting All-Star week at Target Field? Glen Perkins and Kurt Suzuki will be in the game, but several others with Twins ties will be involved, too. What upgrades have the Twins made to Target Field to make the All-Star Game as good as it can be? -- How were season ticket sales affected by the All-Star Game, and how will that change once the game is a thing of the past? What is St. Peter most looking forward to? (AllStarGame.com.) -- Also, from Mason's Barre in downtown Minneapolis, Phil Mackey and Derek Wetmore have a couple Shock Tops and chat about their expectations for the All-Star Game. What do you want to see in this year’s game and surrounding events (read: party)? Does Justin Morneau stand a chance to make it in the Final Vote? #VoteMorneau. Did Brian Dozier get robbed? How cool is it that Pat Neshek made it? Special thanks to Mason's Barre and Shock Top.
[Click to listen]
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MINNEAPOLIS - The popular narrative now that Carlos Gomez is a star for the Milwaukee Brewers is that the Twins stunted his growth.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire doesn't agree.

Gomez, in a cover story for Sports Illustated, told writer Luke Winn that for years he had been told to hit the ball on the ground to capitalize on his blazing speed -- despite his raw power potential. He's quoted in the piece as saying: "I might be out of baseball and never even try my way. I know I can do better. I want to be me."

It's easy to blast the Twins, if indeed they asked him to be a speedy slap hitter and then watched that power develop elsewhere.

"He wasn't told that here," Gardenhire said Monday. "We just told him to swing and hit the ball. We basically called him a Loose Cannon, he was going to do what he wanted to do.

"All we wanted to do with Go-Go was to get him out of fake bunting, fake swinging, fake bunting in the same at-bat -- on the same pitch. Because he would fake bunt, fake swing, [then] bunt. We just said, 'if you'll just make up your mind on a bunt or swing, we're happy.' You know what, we didn't try to limit the guy at all, I can tell you that right now."

Now that Gomez is now an MVP candidate, it's easy to look back say the Twins gave up prematurely on the former centerpiece of the Johan Santana trade. He had a poor season at the plate for the Brewers in 2010; same goes for 2011, although he showed improvement; in 2012 he hit 19 home runs; but he really took off in 2013 and was one of the best players in baseball.

--

Here are his slash lines, for those that are curious:

2009 (his last with the Twins): .229/.287/.337

2010: .247/.298/.357

2011: .225/.276/.403

2012: .260/.305/.463

2013: .284/.338/.506

2014 (through All-Star break): .304/.370/.510

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Trading J.J. Hardy for Gomez has worked out wonderfully for the Brewers, especially considering the latter's team-friendly contract. The current void in center field in Minnesota makes it even more noticeable among Twins observers that Gomez is destroying pitching in another city.

Gardenhire, though, rejected the suggestion that the Twins told Gomez hit it into the ground and run.

"There's a load full of talent there and I'm glad that everything is finally working for him because he's a wonderful kid and a wonderful player," Gardenhire said.

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
In this story: Ron Gardenhire, J.J. Hardy
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