ON PLAYING CENTERFIELD I'll do anything to get that little white ball. I'll put my life on the line. But you have to keep in mind where you're playing. The Metrodome is kind of dangerous. You jump up, and when you come down, you can land on these sharp metal poles that they have [supporting the fence]. You can hurt your shoulder, you can hurt your chin. A few years ago I crashed against the unpadded wall at Fenway Park, and the next thing I knew, I was on the ground and my body was all shook up. I stayed in the game, but the next day I couldn't move.
ON HIS MOTIVATION AS A FIELDER When I don't have any hits at the plate, that's when I'm really [teed] off. That's when I'm going to try to take hits away from everybody.
ON BEING A FOOTBALL PLAYER AT PINE BLUFF (ARK.) HIGH To me, playing in the secondary and playing in the outfield are the same thing. I was a free safety and a cornerback. When you're out there in centerfield getting balls, it's like trying to get an interception. You react to a hit like you're reacting to a pass, and crashing into the wall is like getting hit after a pass.
ON DETROIT DH DMITRI YOUNG'S EARLY-SEASON PREDICTION THAT THE AL CENTRAL WILL COME DOWN TO THE INDIANS AND THE TIGERS He's a good friend of mine, and I know he knows better than that. I got on him for it, told him, 'What'd you say that for? You know we're good.' He said he was 'just going by what happened last year,' when the Indians and the Tigers both improved significantly. But he learned his lesson. When the Tigers came to Minnesota last month and we swept them, he went back to the media and was like, 'Ohhhh, I was just kidding. Those Twins are still good.'
ON MINNESOTA'S OFF-SEASON LOSSES I was very disappointed that we didn't keep [shortstop] Cristian Guzman and [third baseman] Corey Koskie. Cristian was like a brother to me; I had played with him since 1998 in Double A. I didn't think anyone could fill their shoes at short and third, and it still hasn't happened. We're getting the job done with our starting pitching, and we're getting the runs we need to get.
ON HIS SON TORII JR.'S FOURTH-GRADE BASKETBALL TEAM Last year they went undefeated and were beating guys pretty bad, so this year they moved up and played against older kids. They were a bunch of fourth-graders playing sixth-graders; it was the only way they were going to get better. They went 4-4 this year, losing games by only a few points, so I'm proud of them. My son is really good, but I think he's a better baseball player. Too bad he hates baseball.
ON STEROIDS [The Congressional hearings] were unnecessary. We're headed in the right direction. People have to understand that we're not like the NFL, we're just starting this process from the beginning, and it's going to take time. The first thing we've got to do is get rid of steroids [on the street]. If you stop it there, then we're going to stop this thing. --As told to Albert Chen
A FOUR-TIME GOLD GLOVE WINNER, HUNTER, 29, HAS A TEAM-HIGH 12 STOLEN BASES FOR THE TWINS (25-17), WHO TRAIL CHICAGO BY FIVE GAMES IN THE AL CENTRAL
"MY SON IS A REALLY GOOD BASEBALL PLAYER. TOO BAD HE HATES BASEBALL."
Photograph by Steve Wewerka
BOB ROSATO (WILLIS)
"I like the action, the spears flying through the air."--Dontrelle Willis,Marlins pitcher, page 42