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PADRES UPDATE : NOTEBOOK / BOB NIGHTENGALE : Twins Admit Interest in Teufel

Andy MacPhail, general manager of the Minnesota Twins, confirmed Thursday that they are having trade talks with the Padres in an attempt to acquire Padre infielder Tim Teufel.

The Twins, first in the American League West, want Teufel for his veteran leadership and bat off the bench.

The Twins also are talking to the Baltimore Orioles about veteran Dwight Evans, and are hopeful of acquiring one of the two players by 9 p.m. Saturday, the deadline for setting playoff rosters.

The Padres are seeking one of the Twins’ top pitching prospects in return for Teufel, but are not eager to trade him. They believe that Teufel has helped solidify their infield, and will be a valuable commodity off the bench or in a platoon role next season.

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“We’ll see what happens,” said Joe McIlvaine, Padre general manager. “It’s a hard choice because we’re still hanging in the pennant race. You don’t want to pull the plug if you’re still alive.

“I can’t say anything’s imminent.”

Padre starter Dennis Rasmussen, scheduled to start tonight against the Pittsburgh Pirates, has attracted the interest of the Detroit Tigers and Twins.

The Tigers, who contacted Rasmussen when he was a free agent last winter, would like him to take the place of John Cerutti, 2-5, 4.78 ERA, in their rotation. The Tigers have the worst ERA in the American League, and Frank Tanana (11-8, 3.72 ERA) and Bill Gullickson (16-7, 3.99 ERA) are the only starters with an ERA lower than 4.00. Padre second baseman Bip Roberts, who’s recovering from arthroscopic surgery to his left knee, is expected to begin taking batting practice tonight.

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