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    by 03-27-2012, 08:16 AM


    Original Post from North Dakota Twins Fan
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    The Twins saw their long-time closer Joe Nathan leave the team in free agency this offseason. With his departure to the Texas Rangers, the organization turned to a familiar face to fill the closer role by signing Matt Capps. Before undergoing Tommy John surgery, Nathan had been one of the best closers in the game and he got a lot of guaranteed money to be the closer for the two-time defending American League champions. The Twins weren't ready to make this kind of offer to Nathan and the team seemed happy to settle for the cheaper option in Capps.
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    by 03-27-2012, 07:45 AM

    On Monday, the Twins reassigned RHP Brendan Wise to minor league camp. Tuesday morning, the Twins optioned OF Joe Benson and RHP Jeff Manship. They also reassigned INF Pedro Florimon and C Rene Rivera.

    None of the moves are completely surprising, and yet it further cements some of the roster spots that remain up for grabs.

    Benson had a terrific showing in big league camp. His defense shone as he made it clear that he is the organization's top all-around defensive centerfielder. His aggressiveness and hustle are a mainstay, and that's why it was so surprising yesterday when he popped a single to right and only got to 1B. Offensively, it was a struggle early in camp to make contact, but that improved as more games were played. Look for Benson to play a lot of centerfield in Rochester and be ready to help the Twins when needed.
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    by 03-26-2012, 11:11 PM

    Big roster announcements prompt a debate about the Twins making decisions based on spring training performances. Here are:


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    by 03-26-2012, 12:25 AM

    On Saturday, Luke Hughes went 5-5 with two doubles, a home run and five RBI. On Sunday, he went 2-3 with another home run. That raised his spring training numbers to .385/.429/.795 (1.223) with four doubles, four home runs and 13 RBI.

    When the 2011 season ended, TwinsCentric released its Offseason GM Handbook. In my offseason blueprint, I suggested that Luke Hughes be the Twins second baseman in 2012 with Alexi Casilla moving back to the utility role. I targeted Clint Barmes for shortstop, but the Twins signed Jamey Carroll and Barmes went to the Pirates (and I still really like the Carroll signing).
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    by 03-25-2012, 10:23 PM

    Likely Starter: Ryan Doumit
    2011 Stats: .303/.353/.477, 8 HR, 30 RBI, 17 R, 0/1 SB

    Potential Backups: Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer

    No team has everything set in stone with two weeks left in spring training. For the Twins, with uncertainties surrounding several players, plenty is subject to change between now and Opening Day. For example, last week I profiled the three outfield spots, and over the weekend it was revealed that two of those positions will be filled by different players than previously thought.

    Designated hitter is a particularly difficult position to analyze at this point.
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    by 03-25-2012, 08:51 PM

    Fueled by interviews with assistant GM Rob Antony and manager Ron Gardenhire, yesterday became the best day of the year for Twins spring training news. The result? Almost every projected lineup you saw this offseason was probably wrong. Instead, you’ll like see a whole lot of Josh Willingham playing left field, Ryan Doumit playing right field, Justin Morneau as the designated hitter and Chris Parmelee playing first base.

    The shakeup happens twelve days before the regular season starts and about a week before the Twins break camp. Like any reorg, it resulted in some good days and bad days:
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    by 03-25-2012, 12:50 PM

    After months of expecting Josh Willingham to move from left field, the outfield position he has played the most in his career, across the turf to right field, Ron Gardenhire has switched courses on that plan.

    Back in February, Gardenhire acknowledged that the experiment of moving Willingham to right field might not work but that they would be ready if he would be unable to adapt to the new position:

    "That's what we are going to do. We're going to try to figure this out in Spring Training. We're going to start out this way and if it looks like it's working OK and he's getting used to that,
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    by 03-25-2012, 11:39 AM

    A lot of key information has been coming out of Twins camp on Sunday morning. First, Assistant GM Rob Antony appeared as a guest of Sunday Morning Sports Talk on 1500espn with Tom Pelissero and Jim Souhan.

    He said many things that I found interesting, but these are the three that stood out most to me:

    1.) Maloney and Burton have separated themselves, so it's down to Manship, Burnett, Fien and Waldrop for ONE bullpen spot.
    2.) Parmelee has forced his way onto the roster, so it's likely Butera, Towles, Burroughs, Florimon and Revere battling for TWO bench spots. Very interesting in that a.) 3rd catcher isn't a given, and b.) Revere is not a given.

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    by 03-24-2012, 08:43 AM

    The last couple of weeks, Twins Daily readers have had the opportunity to vote for the preseason all-AL Central All Star Team. Here are those results:
    • Catcher – Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
    • First Base – Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers
    • Second Base – Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians
    • Third Base – Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
    • Shortstop – Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians
    • Left Field – Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals
    • Center Field – Denard Span, Minnesota Twins
    • Right Field – Josh Willingham, Minnesota Twins
    • Designated Hitter – Billy Butler, Kansas City Royals

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    by 03-23-2012, 08:46 PM

    I remember the first time I saw Bull Durham. It was 2004 and I was still living in mom and dad's basement. I was drinking cold bottles of Miller High Life with my buddy Al, and we were flipping channels when we stopped just in time to see Susan Sarandon – who was still in Vintage Babe Form back in the late 80s – walk out of her house and into a minor league ballpark. She delivered an A+ monologue to start the movie, and I was hooked as soon as she mentioned that there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and 108 stitches in a baseball. I've since learned this is an outright lie, albeit a poetic, beautiful tiny lie, but even so, her claim cemented for me a relationship between spirituality and baseball that I had always felt but had never been able to express. She called it The Church of Baseball.

    Even if the rest of the movie weren't wonderful, even if it rested on the laurels of its opening monologue and Kevin Costner's passable home run swing, I would have loved it still. Thankfully, the movie goes on to hilariously and sincerely portray the difficulties of love and friendship, as well as the beauty and tragedy of the sport. Just as Harbach's The Art of Fielding isn't just a book about baseball, Bull Durham isn't only a baseball movie; like Millie says of Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh, it's "sort of all over the place."
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    by 03-23-2012, 09:57 AM

    The past two weeks, I have attempted to project the Twins Opening Day roster. This week, we’ll try it again. I still believe that there are 20 “Givens” at this point, two weeks before Opening Day. I also believe that the five remaining positions are all pretty intriguing and could have several possibilities at this point, especially since there are some injury questions with Scott Baker and Justin Morneau.

    There are still 39 players in Twins big league camp which means 14 players need to be sent back down before the season starts. The manager, coaching staff and front office has some tough decisions. Terry Ryan stressed competition in spring training, and he has received that! The 40 man roster is not an issue as the Zumaya injury and Terry Doyle's return to the White Sox allows some flexibility too.

    (The players in Red are players that I believe are givens to make the roster (obviously pending injury). Those in black are potentially up for grabs. Discuss my selections and be sure to post your roster projections in the Comments as well.)

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    by 03-23-2012, 08:16 AM

    [Originally published at Twins Fan From Afar]

    He wasn't a household name last year at this time, even among many followers of the Twins' minor league system, but much has changed in the past 12 months. Depending on whom you speak to in the front office, there seem to be differing interpretations on Dozier's role in the Twins' organization this season. Make no mistake -- everyone is speaking of him highly right now. Terry Ryan, for instance, recently mentioned that he would not hesitate to call a player like Dozier up to the major leagues straight from AA New Britain, saying, "[t]hat's not going to scare us off. If he looks like he's mature enough . . . ." And we all know, now, that Ron Gardenhire actually wanted Dozier on the team last season, but that request was refused by management (side note: what does that tell you about how dire the Twins' middle infield situation was?).

    If Dozier stays healthy, and remains productive, it's a matter of when, not if, he will make his Twins debut. But today, I want to give you 8 reasons I think the Twins should add Dozier to the 40 man roster, award him the starting shortstop job in Minnesota for 2012, and call it a done deal.
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    by 03-23-2012, 06:34 AM

    Original Post from North Dakota Twins Fan
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    It felt good to get back to a full week of Twins coverage here at NoDak Twins Fan and after my vacation in Arizona it was great to get caught up on all of the happenings across Twins Territory. We are only a few short weeks away from baseball being played under the sun at Target Field. It will be a welcome sight to see the hometown nine take the field for the first time and for the memories of an awful 2011 to go away.

    The NFL continues to get all of the major headlines in the sports world but for fans of baseball there continues to be a ton of content to peruse through on a weekly basis. Here are a handful of the stories that I enjoyed from the last week with some fun stuff sprinkled in for a little spice.
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    by 03-22-2012, 09:34 PM

    Following Monday’s 0-for-2 performance, lowering his spring batting average to .100, Justin Morneau addressed his struggles:

    "It's gotten better. It's not where I want it to be yet. The swing's getting better. The swing feels a lot better than it did when I first got down here. It's a process, it's moving along. I just have to keep telling myself that it's slow, and just because it's not here now doesn't mean it's not going to be here a week from now."

    Sound familiar?

    A year ago, Morneau was coming off a serious concussion injury and slowly easing back into the game in mid-March. For the majority of the time in Florida in 2011, he struggled. He failed to leave the yard in his 11 games and batted .152 but managed to knock a trifecta of doubles. Reflecting on his performance, told the Star Tribune’s LaVelle E Neal that his “timing is starting to come .”

    Despite his claim to the contrary, in the regular season Morneau’s timing never came.
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    by 03-22-2012, 08:47 PM

    Likely Starter: Josh Willingham
    2011 Stats: .246/.332/.477, 29 HR, 98 RBI, 69 R, 4/5 SB

    Potential Backups: Trevor Plouffe, Joe Benson, Darin Mastroianni

    When he hasn't been needed elsewhere, Michael Cuddyer has spent most of the past six years roaming right field for the Twins. No player has spent more time in front of the big blue baggy and limestone overhang.

    Cuddyer was a fan favorite, a media darling and a community staple. He was also a productive player, putting up an .806 OPS while averaging 18 homers and 79 RBI during that six-year span.

    The notorious clubhouse magician pulled off a final disappearing act this winter, ending his 15-year tenure in the Twins organization to sign a lucrative contract with the Rockies. The man replacing Cuddy has his work cut out for him.
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    by 03-22-2012, 02:07 PM

    So most of you by now know I'm headed to New York City to inhabit the MLB Fan Cave this season and to be honest, I couldn't have done it without all of you. Twins Territory definitely stepped up when it came time to get a Twins fan into the Cave and I am so thankful for all of your support! I promise to make you all proud in New York City (and to boo the Yankees any chance I get)!

    It's been a wild ride and since most people have been curious about my experience, I figured I take a second or two and give you a sneak peek into what my life has been like the last few months.

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