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  1. Pressure is on for Twins starters

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Size:  24.1 KBKyle Gibson is anxious to finally reach the big leagues, and he's currently making a strong case in Triple-A with a 3.32 ERA and 1.16 WHIP through seven starts. His most recent outing was his most impressive: a complete game shutout with eight strikeouts, two walks and four hits.

    Gibson is on an innings limit this year and has already logged 40 innings in Rochester, increasing the urgency to call him up soon so he can spend time adjusting to the majors, ...
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  2. A Sleeping Beast Awakening?

    Like a car engine struggling on an icy day, the Twins' lineup had a tough time revving up during the chilly month of April. Ambitious thoughts about the potential for an offensive core powered by numerous potent bats went wayward as the runs trickled in at a disappointing pace.

    The Twins finished the season's first month ranking near the bottom of the league in OPS and runs scored. This, at least for me, was somewhat jarring, because from my standpoint they didn't appear to be overmatched. ...
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  3. Don't Lose Faith in Unlucky Worley

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ID:	4015You've probably heard the story by now. On the very day that Vance Worley was told by Philadelphia general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. that he'd been traded from the Phillies to the Minnesota Twins, the 25-year-old pitcher had been planning to pick up an engagement ring from the jeweler so that he could propose to his girlfriend.

    Worley, who had just signed a lease for a new house in South Jersey nearby Philly, suddenly had his entire life uprooted. He would ...
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  4. Three-Bagger: Pelfrey's Progress, Plouffe's Paradox & Rebounds

    * Last week, I wrote that Mike Pelfrey's struggles had a reached a point where he should be removed from the rotation until he demonstrates legitimate signs of progress. In his next start, which came Sunday afternoon in Cleveland, that progress was plenty evident. Go figure.

    Sure enough, Pelfrey delivered his best start of the season by far, with six innings of one-run ball. His fastball flashed a couple ticks higher on the gun than we ever saw in April, and the added velocity (along ...
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  5. Time to Put Pelf on the Shelf

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ID:	3951In a season where he's largely stayed in the good graces of the fan base, Ron Gardenhire finally awakened the critics on Monday night.

    With the Twins leading Detroit 3-1 and angling for a big win to kick off their treacherous road trip, Gardenhire sent Mike Pelfrey out to pitch the sixth inning despite the fact that the starter had pretty clearly been surviving on smoke and mirrors all night. Pelfrey had not struck out a single hitter and, in the previous ...
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  6. Strong Start Bodes Well For Twins

    Justin Morneau and Josh WillinghamT.S. Eliot once famously wrote that April is the cruelest month, and for the Twins that adage has held true over the past two years. Between 2011 and 2012, the team went 15-33 during the season's first month while watching devastating injuries pile up – from Tsuyoshi Nishioka's broken leg and Joe Mauer's bilateral leg weakness to Scott Baker's unscheduled Tommy John surgery.

    Against that backdrop, the first four weeks of this 2013 campaign have been blissful, ...
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  7. Accelerating the Rebuild Timeline

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Size:  7.7 KBWhen healthy, Joe Mauer is one of baseball’s elite players, and a fitting centerpiece for a championship-caliber team. The Twins are aware of this, which is why they locked him up with a $184 million contract back in 2010.

    When they committed to paying the hometown star $23 million annually for eight years – up until he’s 35 – the Twins knew that the best value in the deal was likely to come on the front end. That’s just a natural facet of baseball and ...
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  8. Hicks Shaping Up As Bruno Success Story?

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ID:	3834On April 13th at Target Field, Aaron Hicks went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, dropping his batting average to .047. It was the seventh time in 10 major-league games that he'd notched multiple strikeouts, and in total the rookie had whiffed in a whopping 43 percent of his plate appearances.

    With the season two weeks old, even Hicks' most staunch supporters were facing the reality that his struggles amounted to more than a mere slump. He was overwhelmed and ...
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  9. Twins Being Crushed by Constant Contact

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ID:	3781During spring training, I observed a trend. It seemed that, all too frequently, a Twins starting pitcher would get knocked around in an outing, and then remark after the game that he felt good about his performance. Executed his pitches and just didn't get results. I asked a beat reporter in Ft. Myers, and he mentioned that he'd noticed the same pattern.

    Of course, there's nothing groundbreaking or especially noteworthy about this. Pitchers are generally ...
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  10. Arcia's Short Promotion Speaks Volumes

    According to the Star Tribune's Phil Miller, the Twins have elected to call up red-hot prospect Oswaldo Arcia from Triple-A. It appears that Arcia's major-league debut will be a brief one – just a few days while backup outfielder Wilkin Ramirez is away for the birth of his child – but still the decision carries many levels of intrigue.


    Arcia is an exciting yet curious choice as a roster fill-in. Typically in a situation like this, a team will simply call up a body to provide depth, ...

    Updated 04-15-2013 at 07:40 AM by Kevin

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  11. Patience warranted with struggling youngsters

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ID:	3708For all the buzz he built up during spring training, it didn’t take long for Aaron Hicks to sour the widespread enthusiasm surrounding him. We’re barely over a week into the season and already we’re seeing calls for the rookie center fielder to be shipped to the minors, or at least the bottom of the lineup.

    In fairness, Hicks has done his part. Through eight games, he has been flat-out overmatched, with two hits, two walks and 13 strikeouts in 32 plate appearances. ...
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  12. The Bullpen is Booming

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ID:	3692Since starting pitching was obviously going to be an unavoidable weakness, the Minnesota Twins knew they would need exceptional efforts from both the offense and bullpen in order to maintain a respectable record this season. We're only a week in, but thus far, both units have answered the call.

    In their 4-2 start, the Twins have averaged 4.7 runs per game on offense and the relievers have been outstanding outside of one implosion (or Chris Davis explosion) ...
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  13. Three-Bagger: Pelfrey, Power and Pedro

    Welcome to the season’s first edition of Three-Bagger. In these occasional columns, I will examine three different ongoing Twins storylines worth following. Today, we’ll take a look at Mike Pelfrey’s remarkable return to the hill, promising early signs from some key hitters in the middle of the lineup and a growing dilemma at the shortstop position.

    * I wrote earlier this week about the Twins’ low expectations, pointing out that they’ll need to find different ways to engage fans since ...
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  14. Low Expectations Are Easy to Exceed

    "Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he is never disappointed."
    – Alexander Pope

    Have you ever gone to see a movie that was hugely hyped, only to walk out of the theater underwhelmed after deeming it just OK? Conversely, another film that was “just OK” might have impressed you if your friends had all told you it was completely awful.

    Expectations can have an enormous impact on the way we perceive things. Which brings us to this year’s Minnesota Twins. Reality ...
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