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In wake of ‘Opener’ experiment, Twins seek to deploy new ‘Radke’ strategy

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“Doesn’t hurt to ask,” said a team official.

Brad Radke

The recent Twins experimentation with the “opener” strategy, in which a reliever pitches the first inning before giving way to the traditional starter, has offered decidedly mixed results. Still, with no playoff berth awaiting them, it’s hard to blame the team for trying something different.

The next move may prove to be more controversial.

Sources close to the team said the team is leaning towards an unorthodox strategy called “The Radke”, in which former Twins pitcher Brad Radke will be asked to start every home game for the remainder of 2018.

“He’s clearly still in real good shape,” said a source familiar with the front office’s thinking. “The fans still love the guy, and honestly, we don’t have any other good ideas.”

Radke, 45, retired in 2006, and was named to the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame in 2009. He currently lives in Florida.

“We sent a couple guys down to Tampa-St. Pete in the company sedan with a briefcase full of gift cards and some gas money,” said the source. “We know he loves to fish, so we greenlit a Bass Pro Shops stop if gets in the car.

“Not like a shopping spree or anything, but he can get some nice things if he says he’s going to use them,” added the source.

Radke could not be reached for comment, and it is not clear if the Twins have had any contact with him about the proposal.

“Honestly, that’s above my paygrade,” said a clubhouse source. “But he’s a super nice guy, and it doesn’t hurt to ask, you know? Sure would be something.”

The Twins have 13 home games remaining, including three against the seemingly invincible New York Yankees.

“I know we’ve had troubles with the Yankees for awhile now,” said the clubhouse source. “But if we could run Brad out there every day? Give the fans a little something to smile about before (Giancarlo) Stanton hits 20 home runs? I don’t see any flaws.”