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Original Issue

A Quick Study At the Plate Minnesota's Lew Ford

Though outfielder Lew Ford is the Twins' resident nerd--the
27-year-old Texan scored 1,400 on his SATs and studied electrical
engineering and computer science in college--he has kept his
teammates laughing while getting his big league education. Last
July manager Ron Gardenhire wanted him to pinch-run against the
Angels, but when teammate Matthew LeCroy went looking for Ford,
he found him in the clubhouse icing his arm. Ford dashed out of
the clubhouse but ran the wrong way and missed his chance to

In a spring training game this year, Ford was scheduled to bat
against Red Sox closer Keith Foulke, the American League saves
leader for the A's in 2003. Ford, who spent most of last season
at Triple A Rochester, walked up to teammate Mike Restovich and
asked, "Did we see this guy at Pawtucket last year?"

But that's not the only reason Ford has his teammates shaking
their heads. He's also a major reason why they were tied for
first place in the AL Central at week's end with a 17-13 record.
After centerfielder Torii Hunter went down with a hamstring
injury on April 6, Ford was recalled from Rochester and hit .391
in 13 of the 15 games in which Hunter was sidelined. Since
Hunter's return two weeks ago Ford has remained in the lineup,
playing centerfield, left and DH, and still led Minnesota in
hitting (.344) and was tied for the team lead with 20 RBIs.

COLOR PHOTO: BRAD MANGIN (FORD) With his timely hitting, the spacey Ford made the Twins looksmart.