[Originally posted at Twins Fan From Afar]
Whether the 2012 Twins can even be a .500 team largely rests on the ample shoulders of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Let yourself think -- just for a second -- about how fun things could be if our 3-4 hitters were healthy and productive all season long. Thus far -- yes, I know players just showed up a week or so ago -- the early reports are positive. Justin Morneau took Francisco Liriano deep in batting practice, and hasn't had to sit out of any practice or drills. Joe Mauer has caught several bullpen sessions, participated in everything, and looks and sounds completely different than he did last year at this time. Denard Span collided with the center field wall yesterday, but feels OK thus far. For most Twins fans, these few snippets have to be at least a little encouraging. Not to imply that everything else is just details, but at the very least, there's room for optimism this March.
Now, onto Friday's links.
Jim Crikket over at Knuckleballs had an insightful post on Ryan Braun's issues, and Crikket's conclusion is that a movie must be made about this ordeal. It's hard to disagree. I heard that the role of Braun's urine sample will be played by Pauley Shore.
NoDak Twins fan noted that the Twins' early schedule is quite intimidating, featuring several AL East and AL West opponents. I'm glad that I'll see them against the Orioles.
Minnesota Twins Musings notes the great payroll debate in New York right now, as GM Brian Cashman has pledged to lower payroll in the next couple years.
On the Road with Shawn implores Joel Zumaya not to retire, for fear that Zumaya will end up like the rest of us!
The Tenth Inning Stretch had a great recap of yesterday's Twins B Game. The "Twins" (Rochester Redwings, mostly) beat the "Red Sox," (Pawtucket Red Sox, mostly) and new Twin Aaron Bates hit a home run.
Michael Cuddyer is up to his old tricks -- literally.
Finally, Jim Souhan at the Star Tribune continues to remind me of Walter Matthau in Grumpy Old Men. Jim, your company lets you go to Florida and write about baseball. If you don't want that assignment, I can think of about 100 Twins bloggers who would love it.