The Quote: “"It seemed like everything was in slow motion. When I saw her go down, I couldn't do anything but run after her and make sure she was OK." – Center fielder Denard Span after lacing a foul ball off his Mother’s chest.
- Scott Baker had his first rough inning of the spring – allowing eight runs in 2.2 innings to a very formidable Rays lineup. Even with the blemish, his spring season was much better than a year ago. In 2009, Baker struggled through shoulder tightness and allowed six home runs in 23.2 innings with a 16/3 K/BB ratio before being placed on the 15-day DL. This year, Baker worked 22 innings and turned in a 22/3 K/BB ratio while giving up just one home run. Baker is the de facto ace of the staff and will be the opening day starter in Los Angeles next Monday.
- In the split-squad game at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Brian Duesning got another crack at the World Champs lineup with a presumed full night of sleep. This time, the Twins lefty shut down the Yankees, holding them to one run in five innings while limiting New York to just four hits. The Twins are keeping Duensing in flux, using him as both a starter and a reliever. He’s shown that he’s a proficient starter but a mediocre reliever in his short time at the major league level. In the minors, only five of his 106 appearances were in relief. Keeping him as a starter in Rochester would ensure that the Twins have a very good backup in the event of injury and a potential trading chip.
- TwinsCentric’s number two prospect, Wilson Ramos, was sent down to AAA in favor of defensive-heavy caddy Drew Butera. MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo speculates that the Twins decision was influence on the ability to showcase Ramos’s talent at AAA, even citing the need for Nathan’s replacement. While on the surface trading a prospect for a proven closer seems to be a working formula, in most cases, “proven closers” is a commodity that is artificially inflated. Pitchers can be groomed to be closer – like people who live in Phoenix – they usually did something else before landing there. Last year, the Mariners acquired David Aardsma from the Red Sox for a low-level minor leaguer in Fabin Williamson. Aardsma had a power arm and erratic control but saved 38 games for the Mariners at a very low cost.
- On his blog, La Velle E Neal showed that Scott Baker was second to Justin Verlander in foul strikes, then speculated it was because he throws up in the zone so much. Had Mr. Neal visited Over The Baggy back in February, he would have learned not only that, but that Baker was also baseball’s leader in percentage of foul strikes (35%) and that with two-strikes, Baker favors his fastball up in the zone for the killshot.
- Dave Cameron at Fangraphs.com labeled the Minnesota Twins as the 5th best organization in baseball.
- TwinsGeek.com John Bonnes has some information on how to purchase a Target Field collectible item while donating to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Please show your support if possible!
- At MLBTradeRumors.com, Tim Dierkes notes that the Twins were 22nd overall in free agent spending this offseason with $14.4 million committed to Jim Thome, Orlando Hudson and Clay Condrey. This sends the message that even though they raised payroll by $30 million for 2010, a higher portion of that is allocated to internally developed players. I suspect after my conversations with Assistant GM Rob Antony that the organization’s philosophy will never shift towards free agent acquisitions – but will pick off those that fall within the one-year range.