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Twins GM believes a return trip to the playoffs is 'realistic'

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If losing is contagious, the Twins need a doctor.

Ninety-plus losses four consecutive seasons has been a thorn in the side Terry Ryan; but despite Las Vegas oddsmakers predicting a fifth straight season of 90 losses, the general manager isn't counting out a return trip to the playoffs.

“We have got to get to the point where we’re battling for the postseason,” Ryan told Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune. “I’d be wrong if I didn’t put the sights up there. I don’t care what our record was last year, it’s realistic. A lot of things will have to happen for us to get there, there’s no doubt. But there’s no reason for us not to be in that mix.”

The Twins' pitching staff should be better than it was last year. Phil Hughes returns as the likely Opening Day starter, Ervin Santana brings a durable arm to the front end of the rotation, Ricky Nolasco is finally healthy and Kyle Gibson is a year older (and further removed from Tommy John surgery).

The fifth member of the rotation could be flame-throwing right-hander Alex Meyer, lefty Tommy Milone or one of a few other options.

Seth Stohs of Twins Daily took a closer look at team in his latest prediction of what the 25-man roster could look like when the season opens next month.

Brian Dozier, who could soon sign a contract extension with the Twins, could lead lineup that he believes will "score a lot of runs" and compete in the AL Central.

If the Twins do want to compete, they can help themselves by getting off to a fast start. Minnesota opens the season with 15 straight games against the Tigers, Royals, Indians and White Sox.

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