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Twins' success not a surprise to GM Ryan

Club was in postseason contention until end of season

MINNEAPOLIS -- After the dust settled on a Twins season that saw them surpass outside expectations by remaining in postseason contention until the second-to-last day, Twins general manager Terry Ryan met with the media for an hour at Target Field on Tuesday.

Ryan said he was pleased with the way the season went, but he believes they can and should be better going forward. He said that while many labeled the Twins' season as surprising, it isn't viewed that way by the organization.

"Early on in Spring Training I told people who wanted to listen we had a chance to be pretty decent here, and we got off to that very difficult start and it made me look foolish," Ryan said. "But then we regrouped and got back into the thing. So overall, I had some expectations we were gonna be pretty good and battled into September and all that stuff and it came true. So that was rewarding. So I don't think inside the organization it was a shock."

Ryan was vague when asked about his top priorities this offseason, but he did say upgrading the rotation and bullpen are things he'll look at. Twins starters were much better in 2015 than over the previous four years, but Ryan said you can't have enough good starting pitching.

Ryan also said he's not ruling out looking at help at catcher or shortstop, but said he believes Kurt Suzuki can be better and that Eduardo Escobar played well enough to put himself in good position going into next year. He said the most important thing is that young players such as Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Tyler Duffey, Trevor May and Aaron Hicks continue to improve.

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"We had a nice group come along here that contributed to a club that was in this thing, and for the most part they helped us and didn't hinder our ability to compete," Ryan said. "So 83 wins is nice, but we're looking for more next year."

Here are some other notes from Ryan during his hour-long rundown of the season and next year:

• Second baseman Brian Dozier will have an MRI on his hip, but Ryan said it isn't believed to be serious. He said no Twins player is currently scheduled to undergo offseason surgery.

• Ryan said Sano can't get into the mindset of being a designated hitter and he would like him to play in the field next year. But he also said Trevor Plouffe is only a third baseman moving forward and that Joe Mauer will return at first base next year. So Ryan has some interesting decisions to make this offseason, including the option to trade to Plouffe.

• May was told to head to Spring Training prepared to be a starting pitcher but that the Twins still haven't decided whether he'll be a starter or reliever next year. The Twins also haven't decided whether Alex Meyer will pitch as a starter or reliever either, and Ryan said they haven't given up on Meyer after his rough season.

• Ryan said he invited the entire coaching and training staff back for next season, but nothing has been finalized. He also expects the front office to remain intact.

• Ryan admitted he rushed Buxton to the Majors due to need, so he said he's not worried about his struggles at the big league level. Buxton will still have rookie status next season.

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