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Article: Kernels In A Dogfight For Mwl Postseason Spot

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 03:01 AM
In mid-June, after a brutal first half to their Midwest League season, the Cedar Rapids Kernels limped in to the MWL’s All-Star break wit...
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Are The Twins The Unluckiest Team In Baseball?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:19 AM
I posed this question in a column on the SweetSpot blog at ESPN.com today. You can read it here.   Basically, the premise is that wh...
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Having Issues With Sound In Ads? Screenshots Here, Please

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:53 AM
Okay, I'm tired of this happening. All the ad networks are pointing fingers at one another and nobody is taking responsibility for this a...
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Nate Roberts Released

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 12:10 AM
The Twins and Ft. Myers Miracle announced (via the FSL transaction page at this point) that Nate Roberts has been released.   It's u...
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Trades Now Please

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:10 AM
You can call this a rant if you want to do so.   1. Kurt Suzuki to the Orioles for either Zach Davies or Brandon Kline.   2. Jo...
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The Store

Tanaka Topples Twins and Correia

Another day, another (meaningless) spring loss. After falling to Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees 5-4 on Saturday, the Twins are now 0-5 since I arrived in Ft. Myers on Monday, but fortunately the games don't start counting for another week.

Dig into the bullet points below for notes on the Asian import, Kevin Correia's second-to-last spring start, an emerging option for the second spot in the lineup, and more.
[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]
* The stadium and press box were both packed on Saturday afternoon with Tanaka and the Yankees visiting Hammond. The Japanese phenom tossed 5 2/3 innings for New York, allowing three runs on five hits while fanning six and walking one.

"Fun to watch," Gardenhire said of Tanaka. "The ball had a lot of movement."

Gardy complimented Tanaka's famed splitter and commented that his changeup (or "whatever that thing is") was diving down hard.

"Looks like he's going to be a good one."

* We had a chance to see the review system in action when New York manager Joe Girardi challenged a call that had Aaron Hicks sliding safely into second by maneuvering around a tag. After another look, the call was reversed.

Girardi spent about a minute in discussions with the second base umpire before requesting a replay, but once the review process went into effect it was very fast. Forty-four seconds was all it took to get the call right.

* Kevin Correia had a decent outing, as he became the first Twins pitcher to complete six innings in a Grapefruit League start. He held a Yankees lineup that included no starters outside of Brett Gardner scoreless outside of a rocky fourth in which four runs crossed.

Of note: Correia has faced 50 batters this spring and struck out two.

Attached Image: gardysuzuki321.jpg * Kurt Suzuki batted in the two-hole Saturday, marking the second straight time Gardenhire has placed the catcher there with his 'A' lineup. Nothing is set in stone, but prepare yourself to see a guy with a .282 on-base percentage over the last two years near the top of the order when the season starts.

"I've got no problem with it," the manager said of batting Suzuki second. "I'm not going to sit here and tell you my lineup right now but I'm taking looks at all kinds of things… I don't think it's a bad fit."

On the plus side, Suzuki doesn't strike out much -- only 11 percent of the time last year, which might be a reason Gardenhire is trying him there -- but if he hits anything like he has over the past few seasons he's a brutal choice for one of the most important spots in the lineup.

* Pedro Florimon had a tough game. He failed to secure a couple ground balls that hit his glove (though neither was ruled an error) and struck out in all three of his trips to the plate, dropping his average to .091.

"He wasn't getting his front foot down which is a bad sign for him," said Gardenhire. "It looked like he was really late on all the pitches."

Nevertheless, one thing I've come to realize down here is that Florimon has a tight grip on the shortstop job. There's no competition for the position despite his late start to the spring, and right now Gardenhire is simply focused on getting him as much playing time as possible before the season gets underway.

"We're working on trying to get him going here."

* Today was my last at the ballpark, as I'll be flying back to Minnesota tomorrow. I've had a blast down here. It's been fun to put the journalist hat back on and brush up on some skills I haven't used much since college.

Everyone here has been first-rate. Huge thanks to Twins staffers and fellow media folks who have all been very friendly and helpful.

I'll be putting together a final roster projection either tonight or tomorrow morning, and then on Monday Parker (who was dubbed by Rob Antony as our "closer") will be arriving to bring us down the home stretch.


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