March 17, 2005

Twins Notes

In between getting angry e-mails from Notre Dame basketball fans yesterday, I somehow found some time to collect a whole bunch of Twins-related links and notes. Just for the record, yesterday's entry actually had very little to do with Notre Dame, other than the fact that they were the team Dick Vitale was going nuts about. The things that cause people to get upset enough to rip off an angry e-mail never cease to amaze me. With that said, Chris Thomas and his .346 shooting percentage are extraordinarily overrated. There, now you Golden Domers have something legitimate to e-mail me about today.

Now, let's talk Twins ...

  • Jayson Stark wrote a nice column on the Official Pitcher of AG.com and the impact his Cy Young season had in his home country of Venezuela. Lots of good quotes and some interesting stuff that hasn't been covered a million times over already elsewhere.
  • Speaking of the OPoAG.com, Tom D'Angelo of the Palm Beach Post wrote a column about Johan Santana's 30 minutes or so as a member of the Florida Marlins. For those of you who aren't familiar with the story, the Twins held the first pick in the 1999 Rule 5 draft and the Marlins picked second. Florida wanted a pitcher named Jared Camp, and because they were scared the Twins would snatch him up, they agreed to draft whoever Minnesota wanted with the second pick and then trade them that player and $50,000 for Camp. So the Twins drafted Camp, told the Marlins to draft a certain Venezuelan lefty, and the trade was made. Camp never threw a single pitch in the majors.
  • Going from my favorite topic to my least-favorite topic, here are a few interesting excerpts from a Scripps Howard News Service article carrying the headline "Twins Expecting a Lot from Rivas":
    At 5-11, 190 pounds, Rivas is the prototypical middle infielder and has the athletic skills to match. The comfort level he had with Guzman helped the pair form one of the best double-play combinations in all of baseball.

    [...]

    Minnesota's hitting coach, Scott Ullger, has been working hard with Rivas over the past two years ... it has become frustrating because Ullger would rather not have his second baseman batting ninth in the lineup.

    [...]

    "Luis's got to bunt, he's got to stay on top of the ball, he's got to use the whole field, he's got to avoid getting in the pull ruts, the pull routines that he does when he tries to lift the ball," Ullger said. "He's got to use his speed, keep the ball on the ground. We can hit and run with him, we can do whatever. And as long as he does that and realizes that he can be a top of the lineup guy.

    "He can be a second hitter, he can be a first hitter if he becomes a little more selective at the plate -- maybe walks a little bit, lays off high fastballs, which got him out consistently last year because he got in that pull mode."

    There have been more articles like this written about Luis Rivas then you'd probably imagine, and each time I am reading one I fully expect to see Ashton Kutcher come running into the room with a camera crew.

  • Nothing I could say about this St. Paul Pioneer Press article on Twins backup catcher Mike Redmond could possibly do it justice, so I'll just give you this snippet:
    "He doesn't have the most aesthetically pleasing body, either," [Andy] Fox said. "That's just my opinion."

    I'm almost afraid to go see if Bat-Girl has covered this story yet.

  • Bad news for Grant Balfour:
    Grant Balfour, bothered by pain in his right forearm, won't throw for 10 days and will start the season on the disabled list, manager Ron Gardenhire said Tuesday.

    "He hasn't thrown in a game, and 10 days takes you to the 25th [of March]," Gardenhire said. "There's no way he's going to be ready" for Opening Day, April 4 at Seattle.

    The Twins have enough power arms in the bullpen that this won't hurt much if he can get healthy eventually, but the more interesting thing is that this opens up a spot on the pitching staff for someone. The obvious answer to take Balfour's place in the bullpen is Rule 5 pick Ryan Rowland-Smith, but I actually don't think that's the case. Rowland-Smith has to be kept for the entire season if the Twins are to hold onto him, so the fact that there will be an open spot for a few weeks shouldn't really change much.

  • Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times writes that the Tampa Bay Devil Rays want to become the new Minnesota Twins. In other news, I want to become the new Wilmer Valderrama.
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