Report: Twins tell 1B he could be dealt

CHICAGO -- Struggling first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, who
finds himself in the middle of trade rumors, said Monday that he doesn't
want his situation to be a distraction to the Minnesota Twins.

"If I could predict the future, I wouldn't be hitting .240,"
Mientkiewicz said before the first-place Twins opened a key
three-game series against the Chicago White Sox.

Citing team sources, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported on
its Web site that Mientkiewicz has been told by team officials he
would be traded. The Twins have been looking for another starter,
possibly Kris Benson of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"I respect [general manager] Terry Ryan. I'm not upset with
anybody in the organization," Mientkiewicz said.

"The timing couldn't be worse. We're in a pennant race and in a
big series. I don't want to take the focus away."

Bothered by a wrist injury, Mientkiewicz is batting .238 in 77
games with five homers and 23 RBI. He has been replaced by Justin
Morneau, who was called up from Triple-A earlier this month and is
batting .299 with five homers. Mientkiewicz is 30, Morneau 23.

"I know his name is being mentioned everywhere, but it's not by
me and it's not by Terry Ryan," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said

"I talked to Terry today, and everybody is looking at everybody
and everybody's name has come up in trades. I've already talked to
Mientkiewicz. You know his name is going to be out there. He
understands the situation, although he is frustrated with it, I'm
sure. If something happens with him and he does get traded, we
can't control it. All we can do is play for the day. And if it
happens, it happens."

Mientkiewicz has batted .306, .261 and .300 the last three
seasons as the Twins have established themselves as a contender in
the American League. He's also known as one of the best fielding
first basemen in the league.

"I wanted to be one of the group that turned the franchise
around, and I think I did that," Mientkiewicz said. "That's
something to hang my hat on -- if I do go."