April 2, 2009

Twins Rundown: April 2, 2009

First and foremost, make sure to check out the staff of Twins writers here at Baseball Digest make their predictions for American League and National League Breakout Player of the Year. With the American League prediction, each player comes from two teams out of the American League Central, remember, there are 14 teams in the American League. In the National League, out of 16 teams, only three have players we predicted to be the biggest breakout players. Make sure to check it out to see who I'm talking about.

The Twins faced the Tampa Bay Rays for the second time this week, yesterday. Only this time, it didn't yield the same results. Despite a great start by R.A. Dickey, the Twins lost to the Rays, 2-1. Dickey went 4 shutout innings before Philip Humber came on in the 5th inning and gave up 2 runs, which proved to be enough. With multiple Twins players banged up right now, the Twins fielded a weaker lineup than they're used to. Matt Tolbert drove in the Twins only RBI of the game.

The Twins certainly have a hard decision to make regarding the bullpen, which Phil Miller discusses in his latest article at the St. Paul Pioneer Press. With two bullpen spots remaining, the Twins figure to go with Philip Humber and Brian Duensing. Humber is out of options while Duensing will give the Twins another left-handed relief option. Although the move would leave R.A. Dickey out in the cold, it makes sense. Humber is out of options, Dickey signed a minor league deal and it's somewhat overkill to carry two long-relievers. Although Duensing could be considered a long reliever by some, he'll likely be a LOOGY (Lefty-One-Out-GuY) while with the Twins. Humber came to the Twins in the Johan Santana trade and it would be a shame to let him leave for just about nothing without one last impression.

The Dog Days of Spring Training have been upon us for a little while now. While some players don't mind the length of Spring Training, others end up paying for it. The Twins as a collective unit are pretty banged up right now with minor injuries to Brian Buscher, Justin Morneau, Joe Crede, Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young (among others). And just to think, less than a week away they'll be in Minnesota, getting ready for 162 games over the next 6 (hopefully 7) months.

Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune talks about Jose Morales' problems holding runners on base during yesterdays game.

Great news! Target Field is on schedule for Opening Day 2010!

Check here to find out Joe Mauer's batting music for 2009.

Over at his Your Voices blog at the Star-Tribune.com, Seth Stohs of Seth Speaks gives us his list of the Top 15 Baseball Movies of all time. The list looks great, but he left off one of my favorite movies of all time (and favorite baseball movie of all-time), The Sandlot!

After not making the Seattle Mariners roster, Rule V draftee Jose Lugo has returned to the Twins and will head to Double-A New Britain. Lugo was taken by the Kansas City Royals in last December's Rule V Draft and then traded for cash considerations to the Mariners quickly after. The soon-to-be 25-year-old southpaw is 18-23 with a 4.25 ERA in 301+ innings pitched with the Twins. He has yet to pitch about Advanced-A Ft. Myers.

Twins reliever Pat Neshek gave us an update on his rehab from Tommy John Surgery at his blog On the Road With Pat Neshek. If you haven't been to the site, you don't know what you're missing! Neshek has been maintaining this blog throughout his professional career and has given readers a lot of information and in-depth looks from the life of a minor leaguer all the way up to being a big league pitcher.

Over at the Big League Stew blog on Yahoo! Sports, David Brown has a comical interview with Joe Nathan.

Nick Nelson of Nick & Nick's Twins Blog gives us some Spring Training notes.

Twins fans know the value of Carlos Gomez's defense in center field. And we're not the only ones. The Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune writes about "The Fielding Bible" comparing Gomez to last year's N.L. Gold Glove Winner Nate McLouth of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The book also describes how valuable Denard Span was for us in right field last year while Delmon Young wasn't so great in left field. I've said since day 1, the Twins would have been better off moving Span to left and Young to right after finding out Michael Cuddyer would miss extended-lengths of time throughout the season. Left field is much more spacious in the Metrodome than what right field is.

This post can also be read at Baseball Digest.com