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Holiday Q&A with Brian Duensing
MINNEAPOLIS -- Unlike many players who head to warmer climates after the season, Twins left-hander Brian Duensing spends his offseason in his native Nebraska.

Duensing grew up there, played baseball at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and still lives in Omaha with his wife, Lisa, and their daughter, McKenna, who was born on Jan. 5.

Returning to Nebraska allows Duensing to be with his family, and it's especially nice during the holidays, as Lisa also grew up there and has family nearby as well.

The holidays are always a busy time for the Duensings, but this year is even more special, considering it's McKenna's first Christmas.

Duensing recently took some time out of his day to talk with about a variety of topics, including the holidays, the offseason and his goals for the upcoming season: This is your first holiday season as a father. What's that been like for you, and how excited are you and Lisa for McKenna's first Christmas?

Duensing: We're stoked. It's fun to watch her react and interact with the Christmas tree and all that. It's still all new to her. I told Lisa we should just get her an empty box for Christmas because she'd be happy just playing in it [laughs]. But we're really excited. It's fun watching her. Right now it's snowing, and she's up by the window, watching and screaming at it. So it's still new to her, and it's refreshing to see it in the eyes of someone so young. Do you have any special Christmas traditions?

Duensing: We usually go out to my grandparents' house on my dad's side and we have Christmas there. We go to Lisa's side for Christmas Eve, and then Christmas Day is with my family. So we have a bunch of stuff going on. It's fun that way. We get to see a lot of family in a short period of time. How nice is it to have so much family nearby in Nebraska during the holidays?

Duensing: It's great. It's easy on everybody. A lot of families don't get to see each other during the holidays, so to be so close is nice. It's really fun that way. I know you stay active in the community during the season and are a regular participant in the Twins' annual Winter Caravan. Do you do any special charity work during the holidays?

Duensing: Every year Lisa and I adopt a family, which is something we really enjoy doing. We do it through a local radio station and the Salvation Army. A lot of players start throwing again right around the holidays. What's your offseason regimen like?

Duensing: I've been playing catch for three weeks now, [starting in late November] -- nothing more than 120-130 feet. We went on vacation last week, so I took a week off, but I was throwing before that. So everything feels good. It's actually kind of new to me. Usually, I have the offseason aches and pains, but everything feels good. Last year was a tough season for the Twins. What are your goals for next season -- both as a team and on a personal level?

Duensing: For the team, our goal is to win. The last couple years have been horrendous. I was on the team in both 2009 and 2010 and we made the playoffs both years, but the last two years have been unacceptable. And not just as a player and as a team, but for the fans. They don't want to see that, so our main goal is to win and be consistent. And those goals go for me personally, too. I want to be consistent, whatever role I'm in. I want to be able to give our team a chance. Obviously, there's going to be ups and downs, but I think if everyone is consistent and can stay within themselves, it can turn around. You obviously want to make the playoffs and win the World Series, but you have to start winning games first.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger.

Minnesota Twins, Brian Duensing