April 15, 2004

Dropping Like Injury Prone Flies

I'll say this much, I'm sick of these frickin' injuries.

Doug Mientkiewicz rolled his ankle trying to beat out a double play in the first inning last night. He immediately left the game and was taken to a hospital for x-rays. The Twins are saying it's just a mild sprain, but I would guess Mientkiewicz will be out for at least a few games.

The list of wounded Twins now looks like this:

- Doug Mientkiewicz, ankle

- Torii Hunter, hamstring

- Joe Mauer, knee

- Matthew LeCroy, ribs

- Rick Helling, leg

- Grant Balfour, shoulder

Seriously, that's pretty amazing, considering we're nine games into the season. Five of those six guys are on the DL.

This Twins team sure does look different than it did about a month ago. Terry Mulholland, Joe Roa and Seth Greisinger are in the bullpen, Henry Blanco is the starting catcher, Jose Offerman is playing every day, Aaron Fultz has been one of their best relievers, and Nick Punto is getting tons of at-bats.

Perhaps not being able to watch this team on TV right now isn't such a horrible thing after all.

Speaking of Henry Blanco, he is featured prominently in my new THT article for today.

Hot Starts and On Pace Fors

Here's the part about Henry:


Henry Blanco came into the 2004 season a career .219/.295/.353 hitter in 1,404 plate appearances. In his five full-seasons in the major leagues, his cumulative career-highs were .236/.320/.394 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs.

He began this season as Joe Mauer's backup, likely to see playing time maybe once or twice a week. First Mauer went down, and then the Twins made Matthew LeCroy the starting catcher. Then LeCroy went down. Now, Henry Blanco is playing every day.

In his first 33 plate appearances of the season, Henry Blanco is batting .360/.500/.840 with three homers, three doubles, six walks, seven RBIs and eight runs scored. That is plenty amazing in itself, but it becomes even more incredible when you consider the fact that Blanco started the season 0-for-8. Since then, he has gone 9-for-17 (.529) with a 1.235 slugging percentage.

Blanco has played in eight games this season. He went hitless in four of them, going a combined 0-for-11. Check out what he's done in the other four games:

 AVG      OBP       SLG       OPS

.643 .722 1.500 2.222

For those of you interested in specifics, that is 9-for-14 with four walks, three homers and three doubles.

A guy who was a career .219 hitter with a career-high of seven homers in a season, already has a two-homer game and a 4-for-4 game under his belt, and he's driven in three runs in a game twice already.

Forget Joe Mauer, folks. The Twins have Henry Blanco.


There's plenty more where that came from, so head over to The Hardball Times and check out my articles from this week:

-- News, Notes and Quotes (April 12, 2004)

-- All Eyes on Barry

-- Garret Anderson: So Overrated He's...Underrated?

-- Hot Starts and On Pace Fors

Before I give my picks for the day, I want to thank everyone who helped me recover some of The Hardball Times' lost articles from our little "black out" this week. Particularly Wes and Marty, whose help was essential to getting us up and running again.

It should be smooth sailing from here on out over there, so make sure to make THT one of your daily stops.

Oh, and GO WOLVES!

Today's picks:

Florida (Oliver) +110 over Atlanta (Wright)

Arizona (Johnson) -110 over San Diego (Peavy)

New York (Vazquez) -125 over Boston (Wakefield)

Chicago (Wright) -110 over Tampa Bay (Abbott)

Total to date: $720

W/L record: 15-13 (1-0 yesterday for +100.)

*****Comments? Questions? Email me!*****

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