- Associated Press - Friday, January 28, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The hard-hitting Minnesota Twins might be finding some new lumber this winter.

The Twins say they will take down the pine trees that were planted behind the center field wall at Target Field. Hitters complained the trees made it difficult for them to pick up the ball out of the pitcher’s hand.

There are 14 trees out there and the way they swayed in the wind, along with the shadows they cast, caused problems for several hitters on the Twins and other teams. Last year was the Twins‘ first season at their outdoor ballpark.

“First year in the stadium, it was pretty bad,” All-Star catcher Joe Mauer said on Friday at the team’s annual fan festival. “It was one of the worst backdrops that we’ve seen and it’s nice to see them address it.”

Twins President Dave St. Peter said the team is still trying to determine what to do with the trees. Relocating them inside the ballpark is a possibility. The team will also install a material on the batter’s backdrop that cuts down the glare during afternoon games.

The Twins also announced they will unveil a bronze statue of Tony Oliva at Target Field on opening day.

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