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Kirsten Brown

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    Living life between Twins games.

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  1. Download attachment: these+guys+03.jpg In less than a week, the Twins will officially open Spring Training camp. As of now, 66 players are expected to be there: 34 pitchers, 9 catchers (a lot of catchers needed for a lot of pitchers), 13 infielders, and 10 outfielders. There are a lot of bodies (I imagine the locker room might be a tad crowded), but there are also a lot of holes from 2012 to be filled. By the end of it, there will be 25 men ready to head north and face the Tigers on April 1. Now, if you're as tired as I am of this miserable winter, you're really looking forward to listening to the Spring Training games once they start on February 23 (you may be especially excited if you're in the Twin Cities area because now that the radio broadcasts will be on FM you can finally get radio reception at work). So I've wrote up this handy-dandy list of all the names you'll hear. [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] Originally posted at k-bro's baseball blog 40-Man Roster: These are the guys most likely to land on the big league club. And those who don't will likely be next in line in case of injury or ineffectiveness. A few guys are on the 40-man simply because the front office wants to protect their future with the team -- removing them from the 40-man roster would expose them to waivers. Guys We Know and Love (Maybe) Alex Burnett. RHP. Age 25. 2012: 67 games for the Twins. Jared Burton. RHP. Age 31. 2012: 64 games for the Twins. Drew Butera. C. Age 29. 2012: Red Wings and 42 games for the Twins. Jamey Carroll. IF. Age 38. 2012: 138 games for the Twins. Scott Diamond. LHP. Age 26. 2012: Red Wings and 27 starts for the Twins. Ryan Doumit. C/DH. Age 31. 2012: 134 games for the Twins. Brian Dozier. IF. Age 25. 2012: Red Wings and 84 games for the Twins. Brian Duensing. LHP. Age 25. 2012: 55 games (11 starts) for the Twins. Joe Mauer. C. Age 29. 2012: 147 games for the Twins. Justin Morneau. 1B. Age 31. 2012: 134 games for the Twins. Glen Perkins. LHP. Age 29. 2012: 70 games for the Twins. Trevor Plouffe. 3B. Age 26. 2012: Red Wings and 119 games for the Twins. Anthony Swarzak. RHP. Age 27. 2012: 44 games (5 starts) for the Twins. Will miss time due to cracked ribs. Josh Willingham. LF. Age 33. 2012: 145 games for the Twins.Guys We Kind of Know As Long As We Didn't Stop Paying Attention Last Season Cole DeVries. RHP. Age 27. 2012: Red Wings and 17 games (16 starts) for the Twins. Eduardo Escobar. SS. Age 24. 2012: Red Wings, 36 games for the White Sox, and 14 games for the Twins. Acquired in the Liriano trade. Casey Fien. RHP. Age 29. 2012: Red Wings and 35 games for the Twins. Pedro Florimon. SS. Age 26. 2012: Rock Cats, Red Wings, and 43 games for the Twins. Liam Hendriks. RHP. Age 23. 2012: Red Wings and 16 starts for the Twins. Chris Herrmann. C. Age 25. 2012: Rock Cats and 7 games for the Twins. Darin Mastroianni. OF. Age 27. 2012: Rock Cats, Red Wings, and 77 games for the Twins. Chris Parmelee. 1B/RF. Age 24. 2012: Red Wings and 64 games for the Twins. Tyler Robertson. LHP. Age 25. 2012: Red Wings and 40 games for the Twins.Guys From The Twins Minors Oswaldo Arcia. OF. Age 21. 2012: Miracle and Rock Cats. #93 of MLB's top 100 prospects. Joe Benson. OF. Age 24. 2012: GCL Twins, Miracle, Rock Cats, Red Wings (rehabbing injuries much of the season). Kyle Gibson. RHP. Age 25. 2012: rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. #49 in MLB's top 100 prospects. B.J Hermsen. RHP. Age 23. 2012: Miracle and Rock Cats. Pedro Hernandez. LHP. Age 23. 2012: AA and AAA of the White Sox organization, Red Wings. Acquired in the Liriano trade. Aaron Hicks. OF. Age 23. 2012: Rock Cats. #98 in MLB's top 100 prospects. Josmil Pinto. C. Age 23. 2012: Miracle and Rock Cats. Daniel Santana. IF. Age 22. 2012: Miracle. Caleb Thielbar. LHP. Age 26. 2012: Miracle, Rock Cats, and Red Wings. Michael Tonkin. LHP. Age 23. 2012: Snappers and Miracle.Guys We Know If We Paid Attention to Other Teams Kevin Correia. RHP. Age 32. 2012: 32 games (28 starts) for the Pirates. Signed as a free agent. Mike Pelfrey. RHP. Age 29. 2012: rehabbing from Tommy John surgery (with the Mets). Signed as a free agent. Vance Worley. RHP. Age 25. 2012: 23 games for the Phillies. Acquired in the Revere trade from the Phillies.Guys We Probably Don't Know But We Want to Welcome to the Twins Organization Trevor May. RHP. Age 23. 2012: AA in Phillies system. Acquired in Revere trade from the Phillies. Ryan Pressly. RHP. Age 24. 2012: A+ and AA in Red Sox system. Rule 5 draft from the Red Sox. Josh Roenicke. RHP. Age 30. 2012: 63 games for the Rockies. Claimed off waivers from the Rockies. Tim Wood. RHP. Age 30. 2012: AAA or Pirates system. Signed as a minor-league free agent.Non-Roster Invitees: While it's more likely that 40-man guys will break camp with the big-league club, these guys have earned the right to try to impress the decision-makers. A quick paperwork effort would make any of these guys a Twin. I predict one or two of these guys will impress enough to make it -- Jared Burton did it last year. Guys We Know and Love (Maybe) Nick Blackburn. RHP. Age 30. 2012: Red Wings and Twins. Will miss time due to wrist surgery.Guys We Know If We Didn't Stop Paying Attention Last Season Samuel Deduno. RHP. Age 29. 2012: Red Wings and Twins. Lester Oliveros. RHP. Age 24. 2012: Rock Cats, Red Wings, and Twins. Luis Perdomo. RHP. Age 28. 2012: Rock Cats, Red Wings, and Twins. Clete Thomas. OF. Age 29. 2012: Red Wings and Twins. Esmerling Vasquez. RHP. Age 29. 2012: Red Wings and Twins. P.J. Walters. RHP. Age 27. 2012: Red Wings and Twins.Guys From The Twins Minors James Beresford. IF. Age 24. 2012: Rock Cats. Chris Colabello. 1B. Age 29. 2012: Rock Cats. Brian Dinkelman. OF. Age 29. 2012: Red Wings. Deolis Guerra. RHP. Age 23. 2012: Rock Cats and Red Wings. Kyle Knudson. C. Age 25. 2012: Snappers and Miracle. Danny Lehmann. C. Age 27. 2012: Rock Cats and Red Wings. Shairon Martis. RHP. Age 25. 2012: AA and AAA between Pirates and Twins systems. Wilkin Ramirez. OF. Age 27. 2012: Miracle, Rock Cats, and Red Wings. Dan Rohlfing. C. Age 23. 2012: Miracle and Rock Cats. Deibinson Romero. 3B. Age 26. 2012: Rock Cats. Anthony Slama. RHP. Age 29. 2012: Red Wings.Guys We Know If We Pay Attention to Other Teams Rich Harden. RHP. Age 31. 2012: Injured (A's). Signed as a minor-league free agent.Guys We Probably Don't Know But We Want to Welcome to the Twins Organization Bryan Augenstein. RHP. Age 26. 2012: AAA of Rays system. Signed as a minor-league free agent. Brandon Boggs. LF. Age 30. 2012: AAA of Pirates system. Signed as a minor-league free agent. Jeff Clement. 1B. Age 29. 2012: AAA and Pirates. Signed as a minor-league free agent. Eric Fryer. C. Age 27. 2012: AAA and Pirates. Signed as a minor-league free agent. Alex Meyer. RHP. Age 23. 2012: A and A+ of Nationals system. Acquired in the Span trade from the Nationals. #40 in MLB's top 100 prospects. Ray Olmedo. 3B. Age 31. 2012: AAA of White Sox system. Signed as minor-league free agent. Mark Sobolewski. 3B. Age 26. 2012: AA and AAA in Blue Jays system. Rule 5 draft from Blue Jays.Goners: Don't be looking for these guys. They're not going to be there. Scott Baker. RHP. Signed with the Cubs. Matt Capps. RHP. Signed a minor-league deal with the Indians. Matt Carson. OF. Signed with the Indians. Alexi Casilla. IF. Claimed off waivers by Orioles. Carlos Gutierrez. RHP. Claimed off waivers by Cubs. Jeff Manship. RHP. Signed with the Rockies. Tsuyoshi Nishioka. IF. Granted unconditional release and signed with a team in Japan. Carl Pavano. RHP. Unsigned free agent. Recovering from a splenectomy. Ben Revere. OF. Traded to Phillies. Denard Span. OF. Traded to Nationals. Kyle Waldrop. RHP. Signed with the Phillies. Click here to view the article
  2. Originally posted at k-bro's baseball blog Twins 2012 Spring Training games start on Saturday! Isn't it wonderful that they figured out to have practice games in Florida right at the time when baseball fans can't stand not having baseball anymore and Minnesotans want to go somewhere warm? Download attachment: 19003.jpg If you've never been to Fort Myers for Spring Training, I highly encourage you to go. It's a great family vacation, whether you love baseball, the beach, or both. If you've never been, and would like some tips on the baseball part (the beach part you can figure out on your own), well then, read on. First of all, I'll refer you to fellow blogger, Thrylos98. He's written up a very nice Spring Training Guide to Fort Myersand a Fort Myers Culinary Guide (with a curve). Be sure to check them out. I will focus on what to do once you're at Lee County Sports Complex. The complex is comprised of several practice fields and the main field, Hammond Stadium. Hammond Stadium is the home of the Fort Myers Miracle Single-A affiliate and it's where the Spring Training games are played. It's kind of funny because it has a beautiful exterior, with a fountain and nice landscaping, but then the inside is really boring. As you would expect from a minor-league stadium, it's pretty small, which means there's not really a bad seat in the house. Even up in the second level, you're still pretty close to the action. Keep in mind that most of the Spring Training games are day games, and that the seats near the field are in the sun (hot!) and the seats "up high" are in the shade. There is also a grassy area where you can sit on a blanket and have a baseball picnic -- perfect if you have little kids who would rather run around than sit and watch baseball. If you go to the complex in the morning, you can catch the players doing their drills or hitting BP. The minor league affiliates have their Spring Training there too, so there are a lot of players. They usually have a table set up near the entrance with roster sheets. Each group of players wears different uniform combos -- blue and red tops, blue and gray tops, white pants, gray pants, etc. -- and the roster sheet will tell you who's who (there may be a total of four or five guys who wear #7 and there are no names on the jerseys, so you want to be sure). Get a new roster sheet every day because the groups change their uniforms every day. Also, you should probably bring Seth Stohs' Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook with you so you're armed with information about these guys. The atmosphere around the complex is relaxed and casual. Fans can wander from station to station watching players do their thing or even take some pictures. However, you have to remember that they're doing their jobs, so they may not have time for chit chat. They don't want to get in trouble with their manager after all. You may be able get some autographs before games or walking around the practice fields, and while a lot of players will be as accommodating as they can, it's not really an autograph signing event. Many players will limit their autograph signing for kids, and other guys prefer to wait until after the game to sign. If you're lucky enough to get a player willing and able to sign, be sure to help him out by having your item and pen -- cap off, ink flowing, and handed to him properly -- ready to go. Use a blue ball-point pen for baseballs (ball-point won't bleed into the leather, and blue won't fade like black does) and a Sharpie for everything else. Be nice; if he can't sign, he can't sign. Also, know who you're asking -- just because a guy looks like Jason Kubel doesn't mean he is Jason Kubel (yes, this actually happens more than you'd think). Don't be in a hurry to leave after a game, because if you hang out near the exit where the players park (it's a fenced-off lot), you might see a player who is willing to hang out in his car and sign autographs for a while. But don't expect premier players like Joe Mauer or Justin Morneau to be doing this -- there is just way too much demand for their autographs. Above all, relax and have a good time. Don't worry about the score of the game -- no one else does. Visit with folks. Enjoy the sunshine. Notice how everyone is happy. Click here to view the article
  3. Originally posted at k-bro's baseball blog We're fully aware, now that the All-Star break is over, that the non-waiver trade deadline is looming (I hate the "looming" cliche -- it makes me think of a big shadow of a ghost looming with the players rumored to be traded cowering against the wall a la Scooby-Doo). Download attachment: Scooby_baseball_wall.jpg Last season, the Twins did very little at the trade deadline. This year should be different; the Twins will most likely move a guy or two before the end of the month. What's different about this year: [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] There's a new (old) boss in town. Terry Ryan isn't historically known for making a ton of moves mid-season, but it seems like he's way more likely to let some guys go for a profit than Bill Smith was. I always got the sense that Smith made decisions with his emotions rather than his logic. There are new playoff rules. Now that there are two wild card teams in each league, there are more "on the bubble" teams vying for playoff spots. Many of those teams are just a good player or two away from making a nice September run. So there may be more interest than there was previously. There are new free agency rules. With the new collective bargaining agreement, the only way teams can receive a draft pick for losing a player in free agency is to offer him a one-year contract worth at least the average of the top 125 salaries in the MLB (which figures to be about $12 million this year). So the Twins may be more willing to trade pending free agents so that they can get something out of letting him go. 2011 happened. Last season at the end of July, the Twins were enjoying a nice little hot streak. Because they were only one year away from a playoff appearance, everyone was a little deluded into believing that they could turn things around. Well, we're all lucid now; we understand how bad things really are and that this team needs young help all up an down the organization. They can't afford to think about improving for 2012; they need to think about improving for 2013 and beyond.So, yeah, it really looks like we'll say goodbye to some of our guys in the next few weeks. It could be anybody, too -- Joe Mauer, who has a no-trade clause, and Ryan Doumit, who just signed an extension, are probably the only exceptions. It's important to realize that trading away anybody isn't likely to render huge immediate improvements; this would be all for strengthening the organization for the future. Let's hit a few of the top names: Fransisco Liriano (pending free agent). It seems bizarre that a team that so desperately needs quality starting pitching is willing to part with a guy who looks like he's found his mojo, but trading him actually makes sense if the situation is right. Offering him a $12 million contract (that he would have to decline) just so the Twins can get a draft pick might be a bit steep for their budget (because he just might accept it), so he's likely a goner anyway. The Twins may be able to net a nice prospect or two for him. Of course, this risk is that once he's gone, he'll turn into Cy Young. Matt Capps (pending free agent). Capps has been better than his reputation with Twins fans would suggest. He's freshly back from a minor shoulder injury, so he has a couple of weeks to shake off the rust and impress some scouts. Actually, he's back on the DL with shoulder soreness, and he's not due get off the DL until after the deadline, so never mind. Carl Pavano (pending free agent). Yeah, his shoulder injury must be pretty bad because after six weeks on the DL he has yet to throw off a mound. It really doesn't seem like he'll be back with the team before the deadline (although he could still be traded after July 31, but he would have to pass through waivers first). Considering his age, his injury history, and the extent of this most recent injury, it's unlikely that there will be any team interested. Denard Span (signed through 2014, team option in 2015) or Ben Revere (under team control through 2017). If there any teams out there looking for left-handed lead-off outfielders, the Twins have two. Span has the benefit of experience and has a little more power, and Revere has the benefit of youth and speed. Both also have the benefit of being contractually inexpensive, which would interest potential trade partners. However, the Twins have the upper hand in that there is no harm in keeping them the rest of the season to perhaps trade in the off-season, so they can ask for a lot in return. Of the two, it makes more sense to trade Span as he's 28 and has likely at or near his career peak; Revere is still valuable for the future. Justin Morneau (signed through 2013). About two weeks ago, it didn't seem like Morneau was a trade target at all with his inability to hit left-handed pitching and everything, but he's recently turned things around and is looking good. Teams may shy away from him due to his injury history and high salary. Again, there's no particular hurry to trade him yet this season, so the Twins will likely keep him. Josh Willingham (signed through 2014). Willingham has been one of the few bright spots in the Twins batting order this season, which would make him quite attractive to a number of teams. However, Terry Ryan has intimated in interviews that he's not particularly interested in trading Willingham. Of course, if someone calls and offers a huge haul of prospects for him, Ryan should listen. But it would have to be a haul to be worth it. There could be others, too. Ryan says they'll entertain offers for everyone.All this should make an interesting trade deadline. I just hope it's not a terribly sad one. Click here to view the article
  4. Originally posted at k-bro's baseball blog An INFIELD FLY is a fair fly ball (not including a line drive nor an attempted bunt) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, when first and second, or first, second and third bases are occupied, before two are out. The pitcher, catcher and any outfielder who stations himself in the infield on the play shall be considered infielders for the purpose of this rule. When it seems apparent that a batted ball will be an Infield Fly, the umpire shall immediately declare Infield Fly for the benefit of the runners. If the ball is near the baselines, the umpire shall declare Infield Fly, if Fair. Download attachment: 27917924.jpg The ball is alive and runners may advance at the risk of the ball being caught, or retouch and advance after the ball is touched, the same as on any fly ball. If the hit becomes a foul ball, it is treated the same as any foul. [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] If a declared Infield Fly is allowed to fall untouched to the ground, and bounces foul before passing first or third base, it is a foul ball. If a declared Infield Fly falls untouched to the ground outside the baseline, and bounces fair before passing first or third base, it is an Infield Fly. Rule 2.00 (Infield Fly) Comment: On the infield fly rule the umpire is to rule whether the ball could ordinarily have been handled by an infielder, not by some arbitrary limitation such as the grass, or the base lines. The umpire must rule also that a ball is an infield fly, even if handled by an outfielder, if, in the umpires judgment, the ball could have been as easily handled by an infielder. The infield fly is in no sense to be considered an appeal play. The umpires judgment must govern, and the decision should be made immediately. When an infield fly rule is called, runners may advance at their own risk. If on an infield fly rule, the infielder intentionally drops a fair ball, the ball remains in play despite the provisions of Rule 6.05 (L). The infield fly rule takes precedence. ---------------- I love the Infield Fly Rule. I love it because everyone knows about it, but no one really understands it. It's my go-to for smacking down knowledge on doofuses who don't believe that a chick can really understand baseball. Whether you're a die-hard or casual fan, after Friday's Braves-Cardinals game, you've thought and heard more about the Infield Fly Rule than you ever expected. Probably more than you wanted. Let's recap what happened: Braves had two runners on base with one out. The batter, Andrelton Simmons, lifted a pop up to short left field. Neither the Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma nor left fielder Matt Holliday caught the ball. Bases loaded with one out, right? Wrong! The Infield Fly Rule was called; batter's out and the runners go back to their original bases. Also, a fan riot ensues. Infield Fly Rule?! In the outfield?! Really?! Was it the right call? According to the rule, a ball "which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort" is called an Infield Fly. It specifically doesn't state where the ball should be caught, only that an infielder, or other player positioned in the infield, should be catching it -- as long as it's in fair territory. So, under the letter of the rule, it's not an incorrect call. Did this call make a difference in the game? After I saw some replays, it looks to me like Kozma was camped under the ball, and when the umpire called the Infield Fly, Kozma believed Holliday was calling him off and he ducked away. If the umpire, Sam Holbrook, would have zipped his mouth, Kozma would have remained under the ball, and made the catch. Batter's out and the runners go back to their original bases. Just the same thing, without all the chaos afterward. But (and it's a big but), with all that being said, I believe it was a bad ball. It wasn't necessary wrong, but it was poorly applied. The spirit of the rule is to protect the base runners from the infielder intentionally dropping the ball and initiating a double play. That wasn't at all at risk of happening in Atlanta. Also, what does "ordinary effort" really mean? Ordinary for whom? Even though the Kozma appeared to be camped under the ball at one point, I believe that it still took more than ordinary effort for him to get there. I'm not familiar with how he plays, but he seemed pretty speedy on that play. Because this is an "umpire's discretion" call, no amount of appealing, or replaying, or robo-umpiring will change it. And it shouldn't. But the umpires need to make more sound decisions. Click here to view the article
  5. Download attachment: Spring Training - Twins.jpg Now that the spectacle of the NFL championship is over, thoughts of green grass, and leather gloves, and wood bats take over baseball fans' minds. Spring Training is right around the corner, and I bet you can't wait. I know I can't. And, by now, it kind of looks like the Twins are done adding players and the Spring Training crew is set. If you're planning on heading to beautiful Fort Myers to visit our boys or if you're planning on listening to some broadcasts, you'll want to know who it is you should root for. So I decided to compile a helpful list. [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] Guys With Whom We're Acquainted Scott Baker, RHP Nick Blackburn, RHP Alex Burnett, RHP Drew Butera, C Matt Capps, RHP Alexi Casilla, IF Brian Duensing, LHP Luke Hughes, IF Francisco Liriano, LHP Jeff Manship, RHP Joe Mauer, C Justin Morneau, 1B Tsuyoshi Nishioka, IF Carl Pavano, RHP Glen Perkins, LHP Trevor Plouffe, IF/OF Ben Revere, OF Denard Span, OF Rene Tosoni, OF Danny Valencia, 3BGuys Whose Names Sound Familiar, But If They Walked In Our House And Raided Our Refrigerators, We Wouldn't Be Sure If We Knew Them Joe Benson, OF Scott Diamond, LHP Liam Hendriks, RHP Lester Oliveros, RHP Chris Parmelee, IF Anthony Swarzak, RHP Brian Dinkelman, IF (non-roster invitee) Phil Dumatrait, RHP (non-roster invitee) Steve Holm, C (non-roster invitee) Rene Rivera, C (non-roster invitee) Anthony Slama, RHP (non-roster invitee)Guys Who Will Be Wearing Twins Uniforms For The First Time But We Know Them From Other Teams Jamey Carroll, IF Ryan Doumit, DH/OF/1B Jason Marquis, RHP Josh Willingham, OF Joel Zumaya, RHPGuys On The Twins 40-man Roster Who Make Us Say "Who?" Oswaldo Arcia, OF Terry Doyle, RHP (new) Jeff Gray, RHP (new) Deolis Guerra, RHP Carlos Gutierrez, RHP Matt Maloney, LHP (new) Tyler Robertson, LHP Esmerling Vasquez, RHPGuys Whose Numbers Will Probably Be Greater Than 60 Because They're Non-roster Invitees Aaron Bates, 1B Jason Bulger, RHP (new) Sean Burroughs, IF (new) Jared Burton, RHP (new) Matt Carson, OF (new) Ray Chang, 3B Samuel Deduno, RHP (new) Casey Fien, RHP (new) Pedro Florimon, IF (new) Chris Herrmann, C Mike Hollimann, 2B (new) Danny Lehmann, C Steve Pearce, 1B (new) Luis Perdomo, RHP (new) Wilkin Ramirez, OF (new) Daniel Rohlfing, C Aaron Thompson, LHP (new) Daryl Thompson, RHP (new) JR Towles, C (new) PJ Walters, RHP (new) Brendan Wise, RHP (new)Wow, that's a lot of bodies...65 to be exact. 33 pitchers. 24 new guys. 12 guys with first names that start with J. 2 guys with initials for first names. 2 Diamonds if you count the one they'll play on. I'm sure they're all ready to get this season started. I am. Click here to view the article
  6. Download attachment: TwinsFest.jpg The days are beginning to get noticeably longer. Football teams are being eliminated from the playoffs one-by-one. The Minnesota Twins Caravan is winding down. So it must be almost time for TwinsFest. I know many fans enjoy going to TwinsFest yearly. Those folks already already know what they want to do. But, if you haven't been in a while, allow me to point out some of my TwinsFest traditions. [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]Originally posted at k-bro's baseball blog Make a plan: Be sure to visit the TwinsFest website to view the autograph and photo schedules. If you're in to these things, you'll want to plan your arrival at the optimum time to visit with your favorite players. Now is the time to gather or purchase the items (photos, baseballs, jerseys, etc.) that you want signed. Allow plenty of standing-in-line time. Grab Seth's book: You've already ordered Seth Stohs' Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2013, right? It's a must-have for all the cool Twins fans. A fun thing to do is have the prospects sign their entries in the Handbook. If you haven't ordered it, you should get on it (there are expedited shipping options). There is also an e-version available for a reduced price. Be warned that I don't recommend you have prospects sign their entries on the e-version of the book. It might ruin your device. Decide whether you'll carry your coat, stash it, or do without: It's almost always the coldest weather in a generation during TwinsFest. This makes it worth taking pause when you're deciding whether your awesome Twins sweatshirt will be warm enough to make the dash to the Dome from your parking spot. If you do wear your coat, try to score a plastic bag when you walk in (they give bags filled with coupons, ads, and other stuff at the doors). If you trust the masses to not steal it and want to stash it among the blue seats, please be considerate to the said masses and stick it somewhere where it isn't likely that some masses will want to place their asses (i.e.: away from the ESPN1500 radio area). Score a grab bag: I love stadium giveaways. Who doesn't? And being the neat freaks that they are, the Twins clean out their closets of all the old giveaways and other treasures, bag them up, and sell them -- a couple years ago, they went for $15 for a large grocery bag. And sometimes, they'll throw in an autographed item. Be sure to get there early, though. They sell out quickly. Get your (or your kids') pic taken with the best mascot in the bigs: There is no doubt that our friend TC Bear is a great mascot. He usually hangs out in the kids' area. And if you're the one getting your picture with him, don't be afraid to butt in line in front of all those kids waiting their turn. (Joking.) Revisit the past: Make sure you take a stroll through the National Baseball Hall of Fame exhibit. They always put on an fascinating display of Twins and baseball heroes from past generations. Plus, you can say howdy to the two Twins World Series trophies. Shop 'til you drop: TwinsFest features the area's largest gathering baseball card and memorabilia vendors. So if you're looking for that elusive 1972 Charlie Manuel card or that Twins-themed Hamm's beer can, you can look for it here. The Twins Pro-shops will also be there, so you can get yourself a sweet new shirsey. Sing your heart out: They'll be holding auditions for singing the National Anthem and God Bless America for the season. So, you're at all musically inclined, you may as well give it a go. What do you have to lose? The worse they can do is point and laugh. Take a load off: It's probably been a while since you've had some horrible stadium food, so grab yourself a Dome Dog and a pop, and take a seat in front of the ESPN1500 radio booth area and listen to what some players, coaches, and other Twins folks have to say. They'll be conducting interviews throughout the event, and it's kind of fun to sit there, rest up, and listen. Get excited for BASEBALL!​See you Friday, January 25th through Sunday, January 27. Editor's note: #11:Join TwinsDaily for our TwinsFest After-Party on Saturday night! Click here to view the article
  7. Nothing breaks up a drab, blah, boring, post-holiday winter's weekend quite like talking baseball. And the best place to talk baseball, and see baseballs, and hear baseball stories, and to think about baseball, and otherwise get your baseball fix in January is TWINS FEST! [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] I was especially motivated to go this year, because Brad Radke was appearing for the first time since he retired. I don't normally like to spend my time in autograph lines, but this was for Brad Radke, so I had to. He shared an autograph station with Jacque Jones and Shannon Stewart, so it was kind of like a 2004 reunion tour. The line was longer than I expected, but fortunately I made it in just in the nick of time (they closed the line 5 or so people behind me). http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-p3zJ4t-F1Z8/TyWyKmP6dkI/AAAAAAAABug/IN9FuaJZt9o/s320/bradke.jpg Success! http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-N33IY7ps7tA/TyWyegqxCNI/AAAAAAAABuw/1svtk4GAd_s/s320/jonesstewart.jpg I didn't want Jacque and Shannon to feel bad, so I got theirs too. For the record both Jacque Jones and Brad Radke are better looking in person than any picture I've ever seen; they both have fabulous smiles. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-a3zuXVZoIbk/TyWxQpcEFNI/AAAAAAAABuQ/qo5Ni3vVUoE/s320/brad.jpg Brad has short hair now. But he's still good looking. But not so much in this picture. After I finally got my autographs, I went inside. It's the first time I'd been in the Dome since they put on the new roof. It was a lot brighter in their than it used to be. I can't imagine trying to catch a fly ball with that sun-bright roof. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-V8b5KpS7448/TyWzvbZZPoI/AAAAAAAABu4/iNR-BIqoJRw/s320/twinsfest.jpg It was crowded, but not as much as it was a couple of years ago. I sat at the ESPN1500 radio area, which is one of my favorite things to do -- you can relax, and listen to the radio guys interview the players. It's a great way to see the guys as they're being interviewed. http://1.bp.blogspot...s320/justin.jpg Justin Morneau also commented on the bright white roof. When we started wondering around, we checked out Bert Blyleven's new Hall of Fame plaque, ... http://4.bp.blogspot...4/s320/bert.jpg Hmm. I don't think it really looks like him. visited the Twins Pro Shop, ... http://2.bp.blogspot...20/mikelamb.jpg You can get your very own Mike Lamb banner. and found TC Bear, among other things. http://2.bp.blogspot...s320/tckbro.jpg Best mascot in the Majors. By the time I did all that, the Twins Grab bag booth was closed down because they had run out of grab bags for the day. I was really disappointed because for $15, you can get a treasure of stuff -- old stadium giveaways, media guides, and other prizes. Bummer. Next time, I'll get those first. All in all, though, I had a great time. And now I'm really in the mood for baseball to start. Click here to view the article
  8. Download attachment: brunansky_landscape.jpg The Twins conducted another Fan Form conference call for season-ticket holders, this time featuring new hitting coach Tom Brunansky and new bench and catchers' coach Terry Steinbach. I furiously scribbled notes as fast as a could so I can recap the call for you. As always, I'm pretty crappy at taking dictation, so please don't consider any of this true quotes, but rather regard it as paraphrases and general ideas.[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] Originally posted at k-bro's baseball blog. Does Joe Mauer have the capability to hit for more power? Response from Tom Brunansky: The Twins think he will. When you have a leg injury, you have doubt on the strength of the back leg. Now that his legs are healthy, he can generate more power. He's excited to start hitting because he feels good. What are the primary responsibilities of a bench coach (other than hoping Gardy doesn't get ejected)? Response from Terry Steinbach: Be Gardy's right hand man. Worry about matchups between your bench guys and the opponents bullpen. Worry about your bullpen and make sure the BP coach knows who should be warming up. Double check everything. Communicate. Be like a secondary manager (emphasis on secondary). Fans were sad when Bruno was traded. What brought him back to Minnesota? What's the draw? Bruno: I was sad too. The draw is that the Twins are a family. When I decided to come back to baseball, I only called Jim Rantz. When an opportunity opened up in the minors, I took it. I didn't know if I could handle it, but I worked everything out. Now I'm hoping to catch some of that same chemistry in the big leagues. Who has pleasantly surprised you the most? Steiny: The guys competing for outfield spots, Mastrioanni, Hicks, and Benson, have been really fun to watch. Hicks has opened a lot of eyes, not only with his hitting, but also with the way he patrols center field. He makes great jumps and covers a lot of ground. Bruno: Terry took my answer. Hicks is going about this opportunity in a great way. He carries himself well. Also, Pedro Florimon has been fun to watch play shortstop. He's been working on his offense. Dozier is also fun to watch. It's too bad we've missed watching some of the guys due to the WBC. How much input do you have on deciding which guys make the roster? Bruno: I'm a newbie, but Gardy asks my opinion and we discuss. Steiny: Gardy wants our opinion and wants to know what we think. We can give him input on both sides of a player: from the cages and from the practice fields. What's your perspective on how the starting rotation will fill out? Steiny: It's a work-in-progress. We've got Pelfrey, Worley, and Correia ready. There's a lot of healthy competition of the rest of the spots. There are 12 games left to figure that out. Bruno: I specialize in the hitting side, but I can see how opposing hitters approach our pitchers. A lot of guys are throwing well, they have to go grab it. What's the biggest change in the game since your playing days? Steiny: The social media. Everyone in the clubhouse is looking at their devices with their Tweeter [sic] accounts and stuff. But once they leave that on the sidelines, the game is still the same. Fundamentals are still important. Bruno: The game itself is the same, with an emphasis on fundamentals. But I think the biggest change is the training staff, and conditioning. There's more emphasis on nutrition and diet. When I played, I always grabbed a cup of coffee and a donut. Now there's even sports psychologists. If the weather doesn't warm up soon, how will the cold affect the game on Opening Day? Bruno: No matter the weather, I'm nice and warm next to the heater in the dugout. I feel bad for Vav [Joe Vavra, third-base coach] and Scotty [ullger, first-base coach] out there. The players bundle up to stay warm, but it's harder to move around or swing the bat. The ball doesn't carry as well. And, as a hitter, if a pitcher gets in on the hands, it hurts. Steiny: A lot of it is mental; if you believe you're cold and miserable, then you'll be cold and miserable. But, if you go out there with a winning attitude, you're more apt to play well. Being a catcher has it's drawbacks, but it's great being a catcher on cold days with all the gear and working to keep you warm. Do you think Trevor Plouffe is able to become a consistent power hitter? Bruno: Absolutely! A good power hitter puts back spin on the ball. Trevor became a little pull-conscious and didn't adjust. He's been working on it all off-season. His plate coverage is better. And he's beginning to believe it. As much as fans appreciate manufacturing runs, is this going to be a more power-hitting club? Bruno: Hitting homers at the Dome was fun and it happened often. Target Field isn't as conducive for hitting homers. We're trying to encourage creating damage. Creating damage happens many ways: hitting to the gap, get extra-base hits. They still like reaching the seats, but it's about creating damage. Will the club carry three catchers again? If not, who can do it in an emergency? Steiny: We have had discussions about this, it's ultimately up to Gardy. With three, if one's starting at catcher and the other is at DH, there's another one available if one gets hurt. With two, if one's starting and the other's at DH, an one gets hurt, either you lose your DH and the pitchers have to hit, or someone comes in as an emergency catcher. Jeff Clement was drafted as a catcher, so he could do it. Escobar can do it do. Having these guys available keeps the options open. How's Brain Dozier coming along? Bruno: When he was sent down to Rochester last season, he was a lost ballplayer. The game had become too quick for him. I told him "just remember who you are." During the off-season, he went back to the basics. He was on his back leg too much. I want him to be an aggressive hitter, to drive the ball and hit the gaps. I don't want him to swing meekly; he should let loose. Caller saw Bruno with Morneau hitting off a tee. What were they working on? Bruno: Tee work is good for youngsters, but it's also very good for veterans. They were working on getting the feel of working on the back side and flattening the back swing until he gets a consistent feel. Then we'll move the tee out a little to get used to the feel of pulling the ball. They use all kinds of tee drills, depending on the players. With Joe Mauer, we work on the feel of his legs. With Brain Dozier, its the feel of his follow through. How confident are you with the infield defense? Steiny: A key aspect of Twins baseball has let them down the last few years. Florimon has improved at short. And Dozier moving to second has made a very healthy competition with Carroll. Every morning, they go to Tom Kelly field and work on fielding drills. They also make the pitchers watch so they can learn how the defense behind them will work. What's Joe Mauer's value at calling games and handling the pitching staff? Steiny: Joe absolutely has an impact on the pitchers and the outcome of the game. He has tremendous experience, and he's very good back there. We want him back there as much as he can be, but to keep him healthy, he can't be back there every day -- no catcher can. You just can't catch 162 games. So we'll try to make matchups accordingly and put Doumit in there when it works out. But Joe's fantastic. Bruno: I think the two toughest positions are bench hitter and designated hitter. Most hitters do better when they can play out in the field. So we want Joe out in the field as much as possible. Do you worry about the results of Spring Training games? Bruno: I don't pay attention to win/loss records in Spring Training. I want the players to develop every day. Sometime a pitcher might be working on stuff, so we don't regard wins and losses. We still play to win so we feel like we're a winning team. Steiny: We want to find out what the veterans need: some like to ramp up towards Opening Day, some guys like to dial it back towards the end of Spring Training. Plus with so many guys in camp, there are a lot of guys to evaluate, and they have to play. We want a winning attitude and the guys want to win. Joe Mauer is a special hitter. What separates special hitters from good hitters? Bruno: The best hitters, like Joe, make hitting look so easy. And that's saying something. First, they have a gift, but they also keep it simple. They have simple mechanics. There isn't a lot of stress. They also trust their ability. Confidence is key. Steiny: They have to have the ability. They find a way to get it done. They can do so much with the bat. Great hitters don't get nervous regardless of the count. They trust themselves. What kind of power potential do you see in Hicks and Parmelee? Bruno: Hicks is a switch hitter. He has a good, strong core. Good base. I see 10-20 homers until he learns his true potential. Parmelee is a little more advanced, 15-25 homer potential. [He said a whole bunch more good stuff about both players, but he was talking so fast, I couldn't keep up.] What are the differences in the mental approach for someone like Willingham and someone like Florimon? Bruno: It's a different approach with each. For expample, if there's a runner at second, we're not going to ask Hammer to ground out on the right side to move the runner over. His approach is always going to be the same -- drive the ball. With Florimon, he may have to shorten his swing and avoid high pitches in order to get the grounder to move runners over. He's getting better with his command of the strike zone. Asked again: what does the bench coach do? Steiny: [Pretty much the same answer as before.] Also, keep track of the opponent's running game. Decide when to call a pitch out or a throw over to first. You both took over for guys who are still with the team. How's that going? Steiny: I'm the new kid on the block, so I'm doing everything I can to tap into these guys and use them as a resource. We're good friends. I'm always asking for advice. The key is we all check our egos at the door. We always learn. Everyone wants to win. Bruno: Yes, we check our egos at the door. We work as a staff. We use them as resources. They're different eyes, different points of view. They will be watching from the bases. We're all watching batting practice and communicating. We're pretty well bonded. I apologize in advance if I get any of this wrong. Also, my phone rang a few moments after the call started, so I think I missed the first question. Click here to view the article
  9. Download attachment: notes.jpg Right when I go and figure the Twins are done making moves, they go and make a move. However, it's not a move to get terribly excited about. The Twins claimed outfielder Darin Mastroianni off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. This looks like it's mostly a minor league filler move. One has to be skeptical about claiming players off waivers -- after all, there's a reason he was put on waivers in the first place. In order to make room on the 40-man roster, they designated RHP Esmerling Vasquez for assignment -- which means they have to trade him or pass him through waivers and put him on the minor league roster. The Twins claimed Vasquez off waivers at the end of last season. ~~~ It looks like I might have to make sure my injury paper doll machine is fully tuned up early in the 2012 season. Luke Hughes sprained his shoulder in a home plate collision during an Australian Winter League game. He's been shut down 3-4 weeks. Which is kind of too bad, because his team, the Perth Heat, went on to win the Australian Baseball League championship, and he had to miss it. I'll refrain from creating a paper doll for him for now. He's not due to miss much playing time during Spring Training, so he doesn't need one yet. However, if he, baseball gods forbid, suffers a setback or he doesn't heal as expected, I'll be on top of it. Just a note to the players for anyone who is unclear: Having an injury paper doll is a bad thing. Continued good health is the goal here. ~~~ Spring Training is very close. The equipment truck has been loaded and is headed to Fort Myers. It's such a big task that everyone needs to lend a hand -- even TC the mascot: http://www.twitvid.com/5T7QZ[/media] Very exciting! Click here to view the article
  10. Hey Guys, I'm finally getting around to listening to the podcast, and I thought I'd help you clarify what an aneurysm is. An aneurysm is when the walls of the vessel get thin and then the blood causes it to blow up like a balloon. Because the blood is spending time in the balloon, it doesn't really flow like it should, causing poor circulation. Also, the balloon could possibly pinch nerves or other vessels. You really don't want aneurysms to burst. A clot is a hunk of plaque or calcium stuck on the inside of the vessel wall, thereby pinching off blood supply. They can break off and travel to places where you really don't want them: the heart, brain, or lungs. Clots can also form inside aneurysms -- double trouble. There are a number of ways to treat aneurysms. What happens with surgery depends on the kind of aneurysm. If the balloon is on the side of the vessel, they could put a tiny clip on it to pinch it off. If the whole vessel is ballooning, they might put a tiny, collapsible fence-like tube called a stent in the vessel to strengthen the walls and allow blood to flow normally. They could also bypass it. I'm not a health professional, and I really don't know what's going on with Zack Jones's aneurysm. But I do get to know about aneurysms and stents and stuff for my job. Keep up the great work on the podcast. Oh, and safe travels Seth.
  11. The Twins hosted another Fan Forum phone call on Tuesday night, this time featuring closer Glen Perkins and catcher Kurt Suzuki. I took some notes, and I thought I'd kind-of, sort-of transcribe them. My usual caveat: keep in mind, I'm a horrible transcriptionist, my notes are hard to read, my hand cramped up halfway through, and my dog needed to be let out in the middle of it. All the questions and answers written here are rough estimations of what was really said, and most likely somewhat abbreviated. In other words, I apologize in advance for any mistakes in this. General impressions: Both Glen and Kurt sound like great guys who I would love to go have beers with. Of course, they answered every question as positively as they could, but they genuinely sounded like they were happy to be talking with fans. And I noticed that Glen said something about fishing in just about every answer he gave; it's hard to tell if he fishes too much, or not enough. I'm going to say that he'll say "not enough." Question for Glen: You stay in Minnesota all year-round, how was your winter? Glen's Answer: Cold! Coldest in memory, but it's a no-brainer to stay in Minnesota. Q for Kurt: You're from Hawaii and California. What's it like in Hawaii in the winter? Kurt's A: It's always the same: about 80-85, humid, sunshine. When it rains, it rains for 10 minutes. Paradise. Q for K: You're on a new team and taking over for Joe Mauer. Is he helping you prepare to work with a new pitching staff. K's A: Joe and I are locker mates. We have conversations daily about pitchers. Joe's a leader. It's never easy to replace someone. I have so much respect for his accomplishments. I'm glad I get to pick his brain and get to know the pitching staff. Q for G: How much will you miss having Joe as your catcher? G's A: Joe was great, but so far I'm very impressed with Kurt's pitch framing. I like throwing to him. He'll handle the staff well. It'll also be great to get Joe's bat in the lineup more often. Q for K: Does the fact that you faced Twins pitchers when you were with the A's help you know them now? K's A: Facing them helps a little, and you always have scouting reports. But it's important to get to know their personalities, who wants to be pumped up, who needs to be calmed down. Q for G: You're a veteran on the team. How does that affect your responsibility to help the younger guys? G's A: I'm glad to show the young guys and new guys that the Twins do things the right way, the Twins way. Doing this is on my shoulders. Q for K: How many offers did you get this off-season, and what was it about the Twins that made you want to sign here? K's A: There were some offers. I've always liked and respected the Twins organization. They do things the right way. It's a great team, great city, great fans. Q for G: You've made the transition from a starter to a closer. Is there a difference if your off-season preparation, both mentally and physically? G's A: Not much mentally -- I wasn't a very good starter, so I probably didn't have a starter mentality. But physically, I focus on being able to get ready faster. I don't have to worry about having the arm strength to throw 100 pitches, so I can work on being ready faster. Q for K: Last year the Twins hitters had a lot of strike outs. What are the coaches doing in Spring Training to reduce the number of strike outs this season? K's A: Not sure. The coaches do a great job of getting the guys ready. Strike outs happen. You try to reduce them, and there's a lot of talent in the room. Guys just have to stay within themselves, and good things will happen. Q for G: What does it feel like on Opening Day? G's A: Cold! Nah, it's awesome. It should be a national holiday. Even though it may be chilly, the grass is so green. The stands are full, and it's a fun, festive atmosphere. Q for K: How do you work out in the off-season? K's A: I play with my daughter -- lift her over my head and stuff. Just kidding. I do strength and conditioning programs. I condition like I'm preparing to play 162 games. As a catcher, I don't really expect to play 162 games, but you never know. Conditioning is a year-round process. Q for G: You got to experience the All Star Game last year. What was it like? And what do you think about it coming to Target Field this year? G's A: It was the experience of a lifetime. As a kid, you dream about standing next to the best players in the game. I hope I can do what it takes to make it back there this year with Target Field hosting it. Can't describe how cool it would be to play it at home. It was a great honor last year; being able to go when it's at Target Field would be infinitely better. Q for K: How are you dealing with the transition to a new team? K's A: There are challenges with leaving. I some experience with that when I went to Washington. Facing other teams helped me get to know hitters around the league. Q for G: There are two outs in the ninth inning. Who do you most fear facing? G's A: The hitter that makes me most uncomfortable is Miguel Cabrera. You never know what he's looking for and he's so strong he can hit just about anything. It's hard to know what to throw him. The hitter who hits me most is Carlos Santana from the Indians. I always seem to face him, and he seems to always get a hit off me. Q for K: How do you prepare for wear and tear on catchers, like we saw in Joe? K's A: It's tough, but you can't really tell with Joe's Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers. But you get foul balls off the mask, your knees wear out. It's tougher than it looks. Your legs go slowly grinding away. But it drives you to remain fresh. Q for G: How's the knee after your surgery this off-season? G's A: 100% It's great. A week after the surgery, I was out in a fishing boat, standing and balancing. I worked on the strength, and now it's an afterthought. It couldn't have gone any better. I injured it in July, but played through it. Q for K: What are your strengths and weaknesses? K's A: Defense first. I take pride in my defense. Last couple years have been a little tough offensively. I take pride in taking starters 7, 8 innings with no runs, and get to Perk with a lead. As a hitter, I like to put the bat on the ball, I won't strike out too much. I do love to hit. Q for G: What's it like to put on a Twins jersey every day? G's A: Awesome. It's an honor to put on the same uniform as the players I watched as a kid at the Metrodome -- Kirby, Hrbek, Jack Morris. I had a book as a kid about the Twins. Q for K: Who was your least favorite pitcher to catch? K's A: Henry Rodriguez. He threw 100 miles an hour straight into the ground. I would've hated to stand in the box against him, and he sure was hard to catch. Q for G: How did going to Stillwater High School help you become a Twin? G's A: That was a long time ago. The coaches there did a great job, but going to the University of Minnesota really helped me learn what it takes for a professional lifestyle. Q for K: What do you think about the new play at the plate rules? K's A: We'll have to see how it plays out so we can get more clarity on it. It won't really affect my game because I'm not the type of guy who blocked the plate. I'm not the biggest guy, so I always give a lane to the plate and try to make tag plays. Q for G: How do you feel about the guys who were gone and are now back? G's A: It's fun to have Bartlett and Kubel back. But I have a special friendship with Guerrier. It's exciting to have these guys back. Q for K: Do you talk with managers about motivating pitchers? K's A: I really prefer to talk player to player, getting to know the pitchers on a personal level. I like talking, hanging out, developing a bond, and also going out in game situations. Q for G: You played in the Metrodome as a Gopher and as a Twin. How do you feel about it being torn down? G's A: Sad. As a kid, I watched a lot of games there, and there was the spirit of all those great former players in the clubhouse. But Target Field is awesome, and playing baseball outside is awesome. It was time for it to go, but it's still sad. Q for K: Have you had a chance to catch any of the young Twins pitching prospects? How are they? K's A: Only Kyle Gibson so far. He's pretty good. Heavy sinker, nice slider. Could be devastating for hitters. I'm impressed. He'll be in a good battle for that 5th spot. Q for G: Do you have to adjust your mindset if you're asked to get 4 or 5 outs rather than 3? Also, is it different if you're facing the heart of the order rather than the bottom? G's A: You do have to adjust your mindset. [He made some fishing reference that I didn't understand -- something about going out to catch one kind of fish and actually catching another kind.] There's nothing like going out there with the game on the line, and you have to try to get yourself pumped up that much when you go in for longer. Q for both: What are meals like on game days? G's A: I'd prefer more fish [as in fish he caught]. I like chicken breast. And Chipotle. K's A: I like to mix it up. Sandwiches and stuff. I don't like to eat a lot on game days -- that makes me sleepy. I don't want to get too full. Q for both: Has Kurt razzed Glen yet about the homer he off you in college? G's A: I'll never forget that. That was huge it went into a pond outside the field or something like that. K's A: I hit that with my eyes closed. Just kidding. Glen mixes up his pitches really well, so you have to really focus to get a hit off him. I just focused on one. Q for G: Do you use sabermetrics and PitchFx to figure out how to pitch to hitters? G's A: I'd like to use that stuff for more fishing. Actually those things are more for players as a whole rather than for situational stuff. Scouting reports are better for pitch selection and situations. I love sabermetrics, but they're for bigger sample sizes. Q for both: What were your impressions on the expanded replay used the other day? K's A: Took too long. G's A: I was already off fishing by the time it happened. K's A continued: As a concept, I can see how you want to get the calls right, but it takes away the human element. Sometimes you need that so you can catch some breaks that will help you win games and get you to the playoffs. But you do want to get the calls right. We'll see how it plays out. However, in Target Field in April on a cold day if takes 2 1/2 minutes to make the call, players won't like that. G's A continued: I've always been pro-getting the call right. But Kurt makes a good point. I never thought about a cold day. My arm would get cold in a hurry if I have to stand there for 2 1/2 minutes. They got to do what they can to keep the game moving along. Q for K: With all the talk of concussions, what's been your experience? And what's your view on equipment and neck-strengthening exercises? K's A: I've never had major issues. I've had my bell rung a couple times. I don't know if there's anything to be done. You get 90mph pitches fouled off your facemask. It's part of the game. I guess that's why they call them tools of ignorance. Q for both: What's it like to work with great former players like Paul Molitor and Rod Carew as coaches? G's A: They have this calming influence. Honored to have great players parlay their experience into coaching. K's A: I'm in awe to talk to them on a daily basis. They've been there before, they've been through the ups and downs. They can talk about their successes. I'm blown away to have them around, they make you a better player. Q for K: What do you do when a young pitcher shakes you off? K's A: I'm not a fan of being adamant about my pitch selections, so I'll go talk to him to find out why he wants to throw what he wants to throw. There's no sense in making him throw something he doesn't want to. If he can't throw a pitch with conviction, it's no good to anybody. It makes all the difference in the world if his heart is in the pitch.
  12. Originally posted at k-bro's baseball blog As expected, on March 22, the Twins placed Anthony Swarzak and Scott Diamond on the 15-day Disabled List. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-KFwBaUCUB7E/UU5dEyvCL_I/AAAAAAAACH8/inQ2Qgz2NYA/s640/swarzakribs.png Anthony Swarzak was placed on the DL with cracked ribs suffered at the end of January while he was in Minnesota for TwinsFest. Apparently he and some teammates were goofing around, officially stated as "horseplay" but I'm guessing wrestling, and ouch. The Twins are bringing him along slowly, making sure he heals. It probably hurts with the twisting motion of pitching. He's been pitching some live batting practices. He's due back possibly mid-April. ~~~ http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ZLonsqEiqF4/UU5dHfgbRFI/AAAAAAAACIE/nizR8gQfXKA/s640/diamondelbow.png Scott Diamond was placed on the DL because he's still recovering from bone chip removal surgery in December. He heard a crack in his elbow while jumping rope for cardio exercise. The bone chips have probably been there awhile -- he suffered discomfort in 2007 -- and they shifted. He opted to have them removed now because the doctor informed him that they were close enough to his tendon that they might damage it, which might require Tommy John surgery in a couple of years. Even though it was arthroscopic surgery, and the Twins initially believed he'd be fine by Opening Day, he's had some setbacks and he needs more time. He's been pitching live batting practices and minor league games. He's due back possibly April 12. ~~~ Sources: Minnesota Twins: Anthony Swarzak blows up bats, moves closer to return Scott Diamond will begin the season the disabled list Twins' Scott Diamond enjoying brighter spring Injury Report
  13. Originally posted at k-bro's baseball blog As expected, on March 22, the Twins placed Anthony Swarzak and Scott Diamond on the 15-day Disabled List. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-KFwBaUCUB7E/UU5dEyvCL_I/AAAAAAAACH8/inQ2Qgz2NYA/s640/swarzakribs.png Anthony Swarzak was placed on the DL with cracked ribs suffered at the end of January while he was in Minnesota for TwinsFest. Apparently he and some teammates were goofing around, officially stated as "horseplay" but I'm guessing wrestling, and ouch. The Twins are bringing him along slowly, making sure he heals. It probably hurts with the twisting motion of pitching. He's been pitching some live batting practices. He's due back possibly mid-April. ~~~ http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ZLonsqEiqF4/UU5dHfgbRFI/AAAAAAAACIE/nizR8gQfXKA/s640/diamondelbow.png Scott Diamond was placed on the DL because he's still recovering from bone chip removal surgery in December. He heard a crack in his elbow while jumping rope for cardio exercise. The bone chips have probably been there awhile -- he suffered discomfort in 2007 -- and they shifted. He opted to have them removed now because the doctor informed him that they were close enough to his tendon that they might damage it, which might require Tommy John surgery in a couple of years. Even though it was arthroscopic surgery, and the Twins initially believed he'd be fine by Opening Day, he's had some setbacks and he needs more time. He's been pitching live batting practices and minor league games. He's due back possibly April 12. ~~~ Sources: Minnesota Twins: Anthony Swarzak blows up bats, moves closer to return Scott Diamond will begin the season the disabled list Twins' Scott Diamond enjoying brighter spring Injury Report
  14. You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.com/content.php?r=1477-Fan-Forum-Conference-Call-Brunansky-and-Steinbach
  15. The Twins conducted another Fan Form conference call for season-ticket holders, this time featuring new hitting coach Tom Brunansky and new bench and catchers' coach Terry Steinbach. I furiously scribbled notes as fast as a could so I can recap the call for you. As always, I'm pretty crappy at taking dictation, so please don't consider any of this true quotes, but rather regard it as paraphrases and general ideas.[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] Originally posted at k-bro's baseball blog. Does Joe Mauer have the capability to hit for more power? Response from Tom Brunansky: The Twins think he will. When you have a leg injury, you have doubt on the strength of the back leg. Now that his legs are healthy, he can generate more power. He's excited to start hitting because he feels good. What are the primary responsibilities of a bench coach (other than hoping Gardy doesn't get ejected)? Response from Terry Steinbach: Be Gardy's right hand man. Worry about matchups between your bench guys and the opponents bullpen. Worry about your bullpen and make sure the BP coach knows who should be warming up. Double check everything. Communicate. Be like a secondary manager (emphasis on secondary). Fans were sad when Bruno was traded. What brought him back to Minnesota? What's the draw? Bruno: I was sad too. The draw is that the Twins are a family. When I decided to come back to baseball, I only called Jim Rantz. When an opportunity opened up in the minors, I took it. I didn't know if I could handle it, but I worked everything out. Now I'm hoping to catch some of that same chemistry in the big leagues. Who has pleasantly surprised you the most? Steiny: The guys competing for outfield spots, Mastrioanni, Hicks, and Benson, have been really fun to watch. Hicks has opened a lot of eyes, not only with his hitting, but also with the way he patrols center field. He makes great jumps and covers a lot of ground. Bruno: Terry took my answer. Hicks is going about this opportunity in a great way. He carries himself well. Also, Pedro Florimon has been fun to watch play shortstop. He's been working on his offense. Dozier is also fun to watch. It's too bad we've missed watching some of the guys due to the WBC. How much input do you have on deciding which guys make the roster? Bruno: I'm a newbie, but Gardy asks my opinion and we discuss. Steiny: Gardy wants our opinion and wants to know what we think. We can give him input on both sides of a player: from the cages and from the practice fields. What's your perspective on how the starting rotation will fill out? Steiny: It's a work-in-progress. We've got Pelfrey, Worley, and Correia ready. There's a lot of healthy competition of the rest of the spots. There are 12 games left to figure that out. Bruno: I specialize in the hitting side, but I can see how opposing hitters approach our pitchers. A lot of guys are throwing well, they have to go grab it. What's the biggest change in the game since your playing days? Steiny: The social media. Everyone in the clubhouse is looking at their devices with their Tweeter [sic] accounts and stuff. But once they leave that on the sidelines, the game is still the same. Fundamentals are still important. Bruno: The game itself is the same, with an emphasis on fundamentals. But I think the biggest change is the training staff, and conditioning. There's more emphasis on nutrition and diet. When I played, I always grabbed a cup of coffee and a donut. Now there's even sports psychologists. If the weather doesn't warm up soon, how will the cold affect the game on Opening Day? Bruno: No matter the weather, I'm nice and warm next to the heater in the dugout. I feel bad for Vav [Joe Vavra, third-base coach] and Scotty [ullger, first-base coach] out there. The players bundle up to stay warm, but it's harder to move around or swing the bat. The ball doesn't carry as well. And, as a hitter, if a pitcher gets in on the hands, it hurts. Steiny: A lot of it is mental; if you believe you're cold and miserable, then you'll be cold and miserable. But, if you go out there with a winning attitude, you're more apt to play well. Being a catcher has it's drawbacks, but it's great being a catcher on cold days with all the gear and working to keep you warm. Do you think Trevor Plouffe is able to become a consistent power hitter? Bruno: Absolutely! A good power hitter puts back spin on the ball. Trevor became a little pull-conscious and didn't adjust. He's been working on it all off-season. His plate coverage is better. And he's beginning to believe it. As much as fans appreciate manufacturing runs, is this going to be a more power-hitting club? Bruno: Hitting homers at the Dome was fun and it happened often. Target Field isn't as conducive for hitting homers. We're trying to encourage creating damage. Creating damage happens many ways: hitting to the gap, get extra-base hits. They still like reaching the seats, but it's about creating damage. Will the club carry three catchers again? If not, who can do it in an emergency? Steiny: We have had discussions about this, it's ultimately up to Gardy. With three, if one's starting at catcher and the other is at DH, there's another one available if one gets hurt. With two, if one's starting and the other's at DH, an one gets hurt, either you lose your DH and the pitchers have to hit, or someone comes in as an emergency catcher. Jeff Clement was drafted as a catcher, so he could do it. Escobar can do it do. Having these guys available keeps the options open. How's Brain Dozier coming along? Bruno: When he was sent down to Rochester last season, he was a lost ballplayer. The game had become too quick for him. I told him "just remember who you are." During the off-season, he went back to the basics. He was on his back leg too much. I want him to be an aggressive hitter, to drive the ball and hit the gaps. I don't want him to swing meekly; he should let loose. Caller saw Bruno with Morneau hitting off a tee. What were they working on? Bruno: Tee work is good for youngsters, but it's also very good for veterans. They were working on getting the feel of working on the back side and flattening the back swing until he gets a consistent feel. Then we'll move the tee out a little to get used to the feel of pulling the ball. They use all kinds of tee drills, depending on the players. With Joe Mauer, we work on the feel of his legs. With Brain Dozier, its the feel of his follow through. How confident are you with the infield defense? Steiny: A key aspect of Twins baseball has let them down the last few years. Florimon has improved at short. And Dozier moving to second has made a very healthy competition with Carroll. Every morning, they go to Tom Kelly field and work on fielding drills. They also make the pitchers watch so they can learn how the defense behind them will work. What's Joe Mauer's value at calling games and handling the pitching staff? Steiny: Joe absolutely has an impact on the pitchers and the outcome of the game. He has tremendous experience, and he's very good back there. We want him back there as much as he can be, but to keep him healthy, he can't be back there every day -- no catcher can. You just can't catch 162 games. So we'll try to make matchups accordingly and put Doumit in there when it works out. But Joe's fantastic. Bruno: I think the two toughest positions are bench hitter and designated hitter. Most hitters do better when they can play out in the field. So we want Joe out in the field as much as possible. Do you worry about the results of Spring Training games? Bruno: I don't pay attention to win/loss records in Spring Training. I want the players to develop every day. Sometime a pitcher might be working on stuff, so we don't regard wins and losses. We still play to win so we feel like we're a winning team. Steiny: We want to find out what the veterans need: some like to ramp up towards Opening Day, some guys like to dial it back towards the end of Spring Training. Plus with so many guys in camp, there are a lot of guys to evaluate, and they have to play. We want a winning attitude and the guys want to win. Joe Mauer is a special hitter. What separates special hitters from good hitters? Bruno: The best hitters, like Joe, make hitting look so easy. And that's saying something. First, they have a gift, but they also keep it simple. They have simple mechanics. There isn't a lot of stress. They also trust their ability. Confidence is key. Steiny: They have to have the ability. They find a way to get it done. They can do so much with the bat. Great hitters don't get nervous regardless of the count. They trust themselves. What kind of power potential do you see in Hicks and Parmelee? Bruno: Hicks is a switch hitter. He has a good, strong core. Good base. I see 10-20 homers until he learns his true potential. Parmelee is a little more advanced, 15-25 homer potential. [He said a whole bunch more good stuff about both players, but he was talking so fast, I couldn't keep up.] What are the differences in the mental approach for someone like Willingham and someone like Florimon? Bruno: It's a different approach with each. For expample, if there's a runner at second, we're not going to ask Hammer to ground out on the right side to move the runner over. His approach is always going to be the same -- drive the ball. With Florimon, he may have to shorten his swing and avoid high pitches in order to get the grounder to move runners over. He's getting better with his command of the strike zone. Asked again: what does the bench coach do? Steiny: [Pretty much the same answer as before.] Also, keep track of the opponent's running game. Decide when to call a pitch out or a throw over to first. You both took over for guys who are still with the team. How's that going? Steiny: I'm the new kid on the block, so I'm doing everything I can to tap into these guys and use them as a resource. We're good friends. I'm always asking for advice. The key is we all check our egos at the door. We always learn. Everyone wants to win. Bruno: Yes, we check our egos at the door. We work as a staff. We use them as resources. They're different eyes, different points of view. They will be watching from the bases. We're all watching batting practice and communicating. We're pretty well bonded. I apologize in advance if I get any of this wrong. Also, my phone rang a few moments after the call started, so I think I missed the first question.
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