March 17, 2005
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 ...
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.
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."
I'm almost afraid to go see if Bat-Girl has covered this story yet.
"He doesn't have the most aesthetically pleasing body, either," [Andy] Fox said. "That's just my opinion."
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.
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.