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Miller: Put Them in Coach: These Twins are Ready to Play center field

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#1 East Coast Twin

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 04:57 AM

"It's all on their shoulders," Gardenhire said. "If we think Hicksie's ready or Benson's ready to do this, fine. Or if Mastroianni is ready to be an every-day center fielder, fine. They'll tell us. Players decide, they always have."


Put them in, Coach: These Twins are ready to play center field | StarTribune.com

#2 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 06:58 AM

Benson had microfracture surgery? I knew he had knee surgery... but microfracture is a big deal. Just ask Grady Sizemore or Greg Oden.

"Currently, Sizemore is the only player in MLB history to come back from knee microfracture surgery and play centerfield."

"One study has shown a success rate of 75 to 80 percent among patients 45 years of age or younger."

Both from Microfracture's Wiki page.

Edited by Jeremy Nygaard, 17 February 2013 - 07:05 AM.


#3 John Bonnes

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 02:02 PM

Boy, I sure like having Miller back on the beat. He's such a good writer.

Trouble is, the 23-year-old has never seen a Class AAA fastball, much less a major league curve.


I also loved this quote from Gardy:

"It's all on their shoulders," Gardenhire said. "If we think Hicksie's ready or Benson's ready to do this, fine. Or if Mastroianni is ready to be an every-day center fielder, fine. They'll tell us. Players decide, they always have."


If I had my druthers, I might leave Hicks in AAA unless I was REALLY sure he was ready to succeed in the majors. And I don't know why Benson is even in the discussion, to be honest. He certainly hasn't shown anything to suggest he's ready for the majors since August of 2011.

#4 Nick Nelson

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 02:25 PM

Benson had microfracture surgery? I knew he had knee surgery... but microfracture is a big deal. Just ask Grady Sizemore or Greg Oden.

That's a good nugget. To be honest, I was kind of low on Benson even when he was successfully ascending the minors because of his poor plate discipline, which was really exposed during that month in the majors. Speed has been one of his main assets and now he has to come back from a tough knee surgery. I'd love it if he surprised me but I've pretty much counted him out.

#5 ThePuck

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 02:30 PM

Boy, I sure like having Miller back on the beat. He's such a good writer.



I also loved this quote from Gardy:



If I had my druthers, I might leave Hicks in AAA unless I was REALLY sure he was ready to succeed in the majors. And I don't know why Benson is even in the discussion, to be honest. He certainly hasn't shown anything to suggest he's ready for the majors since August of 2011.


I think Benson is in the discussion because, as of now, only Maestro can play CF. Either Hicks or Benson is going to have to make the team. We aren't going into the season with only one guy able to play CF.

#6 Twins33

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 03:19 PM

Benson had microfracture surgery? I knew he had knee surgery... but microfracture is a big deal. Just ask Grady Sizemore or Greg Oden.

During Twinsfest, Benson did an interview with 1500, like most of the players do. He was talking about his injuries and said that the microfracture surgery was to a non-weight-bearing part of the knee. He made it sound less serious than the normal microfracture surgery, but I'm sure it's likely difficult either way.

I don't know if that's different from those two athletes, but he made a point of mentioning it.

Edited by Twins33, 17 February 2013 - 03:21 PM.


#7 Thrylos

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 03:21 PM

Let me put it this way:
Benson is about as ready as Florimon, Dozier, Escobar are to make the team with his bat and readier than Dozier and Escobar to make the team with his glove. I think that likely 2 and possibly 3 of those infielders will make the team, so I think that Benson does have at least some hope to make the team.
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#8 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 03:21 PM

I'd love it if he surprised me but I've pretty much counted him out.


I always considered it pretty much a two-horse race, but I'm thisclose to officially calling it so. The only thing in Benson's favor is this is his last option year and a perfect opportunity to let him sink or swim. I think he'll end up struggling again in AA. But I really hope I'm wrong.

#9 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 03:25 PM

Let me put it this way:
Benson is about as ready as Florimon, Dozier, Escobar are to make the team with his bat and readier than Dozier and Escobar to make the team with his glove. I think that likely 2 and possibly 3 of those infielders will make the team, so I think that Benson does have at least some hope to make the team.


Strictly on defense, he's ready. But he'll have to not take bad at-bats to the the field. Or to the clubhouse wall.

#10 spideyo

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 03:30 PM

I'm not very confident in Benson, and I really think Mastroianni is the ideal 4th OF for us, but I guess at this point I'd rather have those two battle it out to be the starter and let Hicks get at least a few months in at AAA.

If Mastroianni does get the start, what would you guys think about Clete Thomas as our 4th guy if Benson sucks it up in ST? Obviously his bat was awful last year, but that was considerably below his career averages and he can cover CF.

#11 Thrylos

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 03:31 PM

During Twinsfest, Benson did an interview with 1500, like most of the players do. He was talking about his injuries and said that the microfracture surgery was to a non-weight-bearing part of the knee. He made it sound less serious than the normal microfracture surgery, but I'm sure it's likely difficult either way.

I don't know if that's different from those two athletes, but he made a point of mentioning it.


There are not many not-weight bearing parts of the knee ;)

Microfracture surgery is to repair worn cartilage usually on the meniscus. What they do is the make tiny fractures on the healty bone, which stimulates new cartilage production. Fairly painless outpatient procedure, done with a scope and takes an hour to an hour and a half or so. But. The pain is the aftermath. You got to keep the knee practically immobile (and not bearing any weight ;) ) for about a month. And that is why there is about 50% failure rate. People are not in pain so they put weight in their knee... This is pretty common in Basketball not so in Baseball. Jeff Clement also had this done few years ago... Outside sports is a knee replacement alternative procedure, done usually to arthritic folks.
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#12 Thrylos

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 03:35 PM

Strictly on defense, he's ready. But he'll have to not take bad at-bats to the the field. Or to the clubhouse wall.


You know, it is about time that some of those Twins take some losses and bad happenings to the clubhouse wall, the gatorade tub, the chairs, the doors, something (just don't get hurt...) This has been one of the most apathetic teams I have seen in the dugouts the last couple seasons. Someone has to step up and get mad when they lose or when they do not perform the way they should, otherwise same things will happen. The attitude of "it's ok to lose if you give it all" should go away.
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#13 JB_Iowa

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 05:48 PM

Gardenhire has got to go -- if only so I don't have to hear him call Aaron Hicks "Hicksie". This has got to be a new low.

#14 DelawareTwinsFan

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 08:46 AM

We pretty much need four outfielders on this team. Two have to be able to play centerfield. Doesn't leave much other than Mastro and Hicks. The thought of Clete being counted on to put the bat on the ball makes me a bit squeemish. I think he had four great AB's when he joined the team then couldn't touch any breaking ball. He probably should have tried to bunt. Unless he demonstrates he can hit a curve or slider, Thomas can't be a major leaguer. Gardy already has stated that Mastro can play second so that opens things up. Mastro has made this ball club on paper and has to really stink it up defensively not to make the team. Who leads off is pretty much the biggest question. I doubt Florimon, Dozier, Escobar or Carroll are capable of leading off but they should be considered too.

However, in Gardy's world, there is that unwritten law that your position dictates where you hit in the order. I know this as true when I saw Drew Butera hitting third when he replaced Mauer. (Ack).

1) CF
2) 2B
3) C
4) 1B
5) LF
6) DH
7) RF
8) 3B
9) SS

Fill in the blanks. Wierd isn't it?

#15 jorgenswest

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 09:12 AM

Let me put it this way:
Benson is about as ready as Florimon, Dozier, Escobar are to make the team with his bat and readier than Dozier and Escobar to make the team with his glove. I think that likely 2 and possibly 3 of those infielders will make the team, so I think that Benson does have at least some hope to make the team.


This is the first I have read about Escobar not being ready with the glove. I do know that BBA had him listed as the best defensive infielder in the White Sox farm system 4 years running. Sickels and baseball analyst both list strong positives for his defense. I have seen questions in the reports about Florimon's high error rate and inconsistency inthe minors. Do you have a source that you can point me too that would cause you to question Escobar's defensive readiness?

#16 ThePuck

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 10:02 AM

We pretty much need four outfielders on this team. Two have to be able to play centerfield. Doesn't leave much other than Mastro and Hicks. The thought of Clete being counted on to put the bat on the ball makes me a bit squeemish. I think he had four great AB's when he joined the team then couldn't touch any breaking ball. He probably should have tried to bunt. Unless he demonstrates he can hit a curve or slider, Thomas can't be a major leaguer. Gardy already has stated that Mastro can play second so that opens things up. Mastro has made this ball club on paper and has to really stink it up defensively not to make the team. Who leads off is pretty much the biggest question. I doubt Florimon, Dozier, Escobar or Carroll are capable of leading off but they should be considered too.

However, in Gardy's world, there is that unwritten law that your position dictates where you hit in the order. I know this as true when I saw Drew Butera hitting third when he replaced Mauer. (Ack).

1) CF
2) 2B
3) C
4) 1B
5) LF
6) DH
7) RF
8) 3B
9) SS

Fill in the blanks. Wierd isn't it?


Butera has never started a game at the MLB level in which he was batting in the 3 hole...

#17 nicksaviking

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 10:36 AM

If Hicks and Benson don't make the team and the CF's are Mastroianni and Boggs/Thomas/Surprise, then I would think it likely that Herrmann makes the team as 3rd catcher over Butera as he would be able to function as the 4th outfielder, leaving Boggs/Thomas/Surprise simply as emergency CF defensive replacement.

Edited by nicksaviking, 18 February 2013 - 11:53 AM.


#18 birdwatcher

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 11:22 AM

This is the first I have read about Escobar not being ready with the glove. I do know that BBA had him listed as the best defensive infielder in the White Sox farm system 4 years running. Sickels and baseball analyst both list strong positives for his defense. I have seen questions in the reports about Florimon's high error rate and inconsistency inthe minors. Do you have a source that you can point me too that would cause you to question Escobar's defensive readiness?


Source: thrylos

#19 johnnydakota

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 11:48 AM

I'm not very confident in Benson, and I really think Mastroianni is the ideal 4th OF for us, but I guess at this point I'd rather have those two battle it out to be the starter and let Hicks get at least a few months in at AAA.

If Mastroianni does get the start, what would you guys think about Clete Thomas as our 4th guy if Benson sucks it up in ST? Obviously his bat was awful last year, but that was considerably below his career averages and he can cover CF.


We could claim Tony Campanas , 327 mlb plate apperences and a .262 avg, along with 54 stolen bases, left handed and would complement Mastroanni ....

#20 twinsnorth49

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:05 PM

If Mastroianni does get the start, what would you guys think about Clete Thomas as our 4th guy if Benson sucks it up in ST? Obviously his bat was awful last year, but that was considerably below his career averages and he can cover CF.



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#21 mattkummer

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:20 PM

"It's all on their shoulders," Gardenhire said. "If we think Hicksie's ready or Benson's ready to do this, fine. Or if Mastroianni is ready to be an every-day center fielder, fine. They'll tell us. Players decide, they always have."


There's your answer. It's Hicks.
Gardenhire is already calling him "Hicksie". Clearly, he's already a "Gardy guy". :P

#22 spycake

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:26 PM

And I don't know why Benson is even in the discussion, to be honest. He certainly hasn't shown anything to suggest he's ready for the majors since August of 2011.

Interestingly, I think it's precisely because Benson has been so terrible lately that he's in the discussion for a major league spot. Basically, he's fallen enough on the prospect list that his development path is no longer a vital concern, so he's not much different from the other warm bodies who could fill the spot until Hicks is ready.

Don't know if that's actually the case, though -- he's not out of options and he's only season removed from some solid minor league success (2011). His presence in the competition could just be lip-service, and he's ticketed for AA again or perhaps AAA to play a corner spot.

#23 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:28 PM

You know, it is about time that some of those Twins take some losses and bad happenings to the clubhouse wall, the gatorade tub, the chairs, the doors, something (just don't get hurt...)


I agree. Joe Benson punched a wall in frustration and missed a lot of baseball a few years ago. That's just not smart. I'm sure the guys in the clubhouse don't like to lose, I'm just not sure we'd hear about it everytime somebody lost their cool... unless they got hurt or did it publicly... or went after the manager's door.

Who knows what happens with the 4th OF role. I'd guess eventually it's Mastroianni (when Hicks is ready), but Thomas as a month fill-in while Mastro starts and Hicks get AAA at-bats - while not a terribly good idea - is probably a likely scenario.

Edited by Jeremy Nygaard, 18 February 2013 - 12:30 PM.


#24 Seth Stohs

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:58 PM

Benson came over and talked to me outside of the locker room at Twins Fest and we chatted for a good half-hour. He actually hurt his hamate bone late in spring training, but thought it was just a awkward feeling, maybe a muscle pull above his wrist or something. He struggled with it in Rochester for the few 3-4 weeks, and finally, on a swing and a miss, he actually lost the bat and was in incredible pain. It had finally given out and needed the surgery.

Then, when he hurt his knee, it wasn't the AA manager that noticed that something was wrong with Benson's knee. It was a former manager of Benson's who was in the opposite dugout, watched Benson play and said he wasn't right, something was wrong. That's what finally got Benson out of the lineup again.

He went in for surgery with the assumption it'd be cleaned up, he'd rehab right away and be ready for the Arizona Fall League in 4 weeks. When he got out of surgery, he was still more than half out of it. The doctor updated him on how the surgery went and that when they got in there, found out it was worse. The next day, Benson came in for his rehab, and the lady said that everything was looking good and that he should be ready to start working out fully in about 12 weeks. It was a new trainer at the hospital, and he thought she was just wrong. The next day, he met a different trainer, who again said everything looked good, and he should be good to go in 12 weeks. Again, Benson thought that he was just mistaken and maybe didn't know he was an athlete who could recover faster. The following day, he went in again and asked if the doctor that did the surgery was in. He was, and Joe had a chance to talk to him. At that time, the doctor said that he had told him that he had a microfracture right after surgery.

So, he was obviously disappointed, but he is very much anxious to be healthy and to get back on the field. He acknowledged that last year was incredibly frustrating and he's ready for 2013!

#25 Oldgoat_MN

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 02:37 PM

Gardenhire has got to go -- if only so I don't have to hear him call Aaron Hicks "Hicksie". This has got to be a new low.

Agreed. This is going to be really hard to listen to.

#26 drjim

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 06:07 PM

However, in Gardy's world, there unwritten law that your position dictates where you hit in the order. I know this as true when I saw Drew Butera hitting third when he replaced Mauer. (Ack).

1) CF
2) 2B
3) C
4) 1B
5) LF
6) DH
7) RF
8) 3B
9) SS

Fill in the blanks. Wierd isn't it?


I bet there wasn't 10 games last year that had this order. Revere played rf and batted second most the season.

#27 Thrylos

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 06:33 PM

Benson came over and talked to me outside of the locker room at Twins Fest and we chatted for a good half-hour. He actually hurt his hamate bone late in spring training, but thought it was just a awkward feeling, maybe a muscle pull above his wrist or something. He struggled with it in Rochester for the few 3-4 weeks, and finally, on a swing and a miss, he actually lost the bat and was in incredible pain. It had finally given out and needed the surgery.

Then, when he hurt his knee, it wasn't the AA manager that noticed that something was wrong with Benson's knee. It was a former manager of Benson's who was in the opposite dugout, watched Benson play and said he wasn't right, something was wrong. That's what finally got Benson out of the lineup again.

He went in for surgery with the assumption it'd be cleaned up, he'd rehab right away and be ready for the Arizona Fall League in 4 weeks. When he got out of surgery, he was still more than half out of it. The doctor updated him on how the surgery went and that when they got in there, found out it was worse. The next day, Benson came in for his rehab, and the lady said that everything was looking good and that he should be ready to start working out fully in about 12 weeks. It was a new trainer at the hospital, and he thought she was just wrong. The next day, he met a different trainer, who again said everything looked good, and he should be good to go in 12 weeks. Again, Benson thought that he was just mistaken and maybe didn't know he was an athlete who could recover faster. The following day, he went in again and asked if the doctor that did the surgery was in. He was, and Joe had a chance to talk to him. At that time, the doctor said that he had told him that he had a microfracture right after surgery.

So, he was obviously disappointed, but he is very much anxious to be healthy and to get back on the field. He acknowledged that last year was incredibly frustrating and he's ready for 2013!


Thanks Seth, this is good stuff. Interesting that Jeff Smith was clueless, since he managed Benson in Fort Myers as well... Not sure how long he would last in the organization, esp after his record season with the Rock Cats last year...
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