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Twins' ballpark offers bit of rustic Minnesota

| Friday, April 13, 2007

MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Twins unveiled the long-awaited design of their new stadium Thursday, describing a cozy urban ballpark with great sightlines, subtle reminders of the state's beauty and a view of the Minneapolis skyline.

The 40,000-seat ballpark, tucked into eight acres of the Warehouse District, will sit at the hub of light rail and commuter rail lines.

In a nod to the state's rustic outdoors, fans walking from downtown will come upon the stadium's limestone facade.

Flowers, trees and shrubs native to Minnesota will be planted around the stadium -- including a band of pine trees visible to fans behind the center-field wall. An extra-big canopy will protect fans from the sun and rain.

"I really like it, but I didn't expect it to be so modern-looking. I was hoping for something a little more retro," said Brian Watson, a Twins fan from White Bear Lake. "Like Wrigley Field, something like that."

Mike Pacovsky, a fan from Burnsville, deemed the design "very impressive" and said he liked how close the seats are to the field. The Twins said the seats will be closer to the field -- 45 feet -- than in any other major league stadium.

"Whether this is a modern-day Wrigley Field ... it is absolutely unique to the state of Minnesota," said Earl Santee of HOK Sport, the firm that designed the ballpark.

The natural-grass field will be heated to melt snow.

More arm problems for Prior

Cubs pitcher Mark Prior had discomfort in his right shoulder and left his first extended spring training start after two innings yesterday.

Prior was limited to nine games last season by shoulder problems and pitched only 101/3 innings in spring training. The Cubs said Prior is scheduled to visit orthopedic specialist Dr. Lewis Yocum in California for further evaluation.

Indians move night game to day

The Cleveland Indians have rescheduled Saturday's night game against the Chicago White Sox to an afternoon game due to concerns about weather, the club said yesterday.

The new start is 1:05 p.m., moving the start time by six hours.

Cold and snow prevented the Indians from playing their first home series of the season, a four-game stint with the Seattle Mariners. The next series, a three-game set with the Los Angeles Angels, was moved to the enclosed Miller Park in Milwaukee.

Reds put Gonzalez on bereavement list

Shortstop Alex Gonzalez will miss several games for the Cincinnati Reds, who placed him on the bereavement list yesterday.

Gonzalez left the team to attend to a family matter in Venezuela. He can stay on the bereavement list for up to one week. The Reds were off yesterday before opening a weekend series in Chicago.

Gonzalez is hitting .313 with three RBI for the Reds, who signed him as a free agent in the offseason to improve their defense. He must stay on the bereavement list for a minimum of three days, meaning he will miss at least the first two games in Chicago.

Minor leaguer suspended for positive test

Philadelphia Phillies infielder Hector Made was suspended for 50 games yesterday for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance under baseball's minor-league program.

Made was acquired by the Phillies last July in the trade that sent catcher Sal Fasano to the New York Yankees.

Team moves

Jaret Wright is back on the 15-day disabled list with a shoulder injury, although the right-hander and the Baltimore Orioles insist this trip won't be a long one.

Wright was placed on the disabled list yesterday with a sore right shoulder. The move is retroactive to Wednesday, the day after he walked off the mound with shoulder stiffness during a game against the Detroit Tigers.

• San Diego Padres catcher Josh Bard was put on the 15-day disabled list yesterday with a strained groin suffered the night before in a 4-0 victory against the San Francisco Giants.

• The Washington Nationals put left-handed reliever Ray King on the 15-day disabled list yesterday with left shoulder tendinitis and recalled right-handed reliever Saul Rivera from Triple-A Columbus.

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