March 19, 2009

Twins Lowdown: March 19, 2009

Patrick Reusse of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune has a great article about the ups and downs for Alexi Casilla over the past few years. After a slew of injuries and poor performances, the Twins gave Casilla the shot he needed early last season and Casilla ran with it. From May-July, Casilla hit .313 with 15 doubles, 4 home runs, 39 RBI and a 16/25 BB/K ratio in 243 at bats. Unfortunately after a late-season thumb injury, Casilla returned, but was not nearly the same hitter that he was prior to the injury. He finished the season with a .281/.333/.374 hitting line with 22 extra-base hits and 50 RBI in 385 at bats. So far this Spring, Casilla has been one of the best hitters for the Twins, hitting .457 with three doubles and only one strikeout in 35 at bats. The Twins will rely on Casilla to return to his first-half 2008 form that is still embedded in so many people's minds.

Nick Nelson of Nick & Nick's Twins Blog (and Baseball Digest) is currently in Fort Myers and gives us a few nuggets he's noticed while he's been there. He also shares with us a few photo's that he took.

Yesterday, the Twins lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 in 10 innings. Francisco Liriano worked wild 4 innings, giving up 2 runs (1 earned) on just one hit. Unforunately, Liriano's command was non-existant today and the 25-year-old southpaw walked 4 batters. It was his fifth start this Spring, but overall he's been very impressive. Delmon Young hit his second home run of the season, but also grounded into four double plays. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire joked about it after.

“We yelled there that last inning, ‘Someone get on, so Delmon can hit into another one,’” Gardenhire said. ”And he did. Good stuff.”

Young said after that he was trying to pull the ball, which resulted in a lot of ground balls. Regardless, Young is also having an impressive Spring hitting .382 with two home runs in 34 at-bats. Matt Tolbert also hit a home run of his own in the game.

Today I wrote a Twins Player Profile for Tony Oliva. Make sure to check that out and Seth Stohs' Twins Player Profile for Jimmie Hall which he posted on Tuesday.

At The tenth inning stretch, Thrylos has done a catcher profile for Jose Morales which is worth a read.

And perhaps the news that everyone in Twins Nation is waiting for, and that's news regarding Joe Mauer's back injury. The Twins say that they'll have an update for everyone at some point today. Twins general manager Bill Smith hinted that the diagnosis from Mauer's second opinion will be similar to that in his first examination. The good news is that so far, the Twins have not heard of any 'red flags' on Mauer's injury which means that the Twins are hopeful further surgery will not be needed.