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  1. Position Analysis: Second Base

    Likely Starter: Alexi Casilla
    2011 Stats: .260/.322/.368

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    Potential Backups: Luke Hughes, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Brian Dinkelman, Brian Dozier

    We've been down this road before.

    Alexi Casilla was the Opening Day starter at second base in 2009, and at shortstop last year. In neither instance did he hang on for long. With a career .185/.232/.219 hitting line in April, the Dominican infielder has made a habit of stumbling ...
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  2. Cardinals 3, Twins 2: The Hits Keep on Not Coming

    Yeah, it's only the second week of March. But early in spring training, positive signs have been hard to come by for this offense.

    Today at Hammond Stadium, the Twins snapped a string of 27 consecutive scoreless innings, but did so without a run-scoring hit. Their two runs both came on bases-loaded walks. The latter took place with two outs in the ninth inning, drawing the Twins within a run of the Cardinals before Rene Tosoni grounded out to second on the first pitch of the next at-bat ...
  3. Position Analysis: First Base

    Likely Starter: Justin Morneau
    2011 Stats: .227/.285/.333, 4 HR, 30 RBI, 19 R, 0/0 SB

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    Potential Backups: Joe Mauer, Luke Hughes, Ryan Doumit, Chris Parmelee, Sean Burroughs, Steve Pearce, Aaron Bates

    Through a couple weeks of camp, this much can be said for Justin Morneau: he hasn't raised any warning flags yet. He's been able to get through all his workouts, he's participated in a few exhibition contests and he laced a hard double ...
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  4. Position Analysis: Catcher

    At my former writing home, I made an annual tradition of running through each position on the Twins' roster in March, sorting out the backup options and projecting the starter's performance. That tradition will continue here at Twins Daily, and today I'll kick off the Position Analysis series with catcher, where Joe Mauer is looking for a big comeback year.

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    Likely Starter: Joe Mauer
    2011 Stats: .287/.360/.368, 3 HR, 30 RBI, 38 R, 0/0 SB

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  5. Parmelee's Promising Power

    There's a saying that goes: one man's persisting and possibly career-ending concussion aftermath is another man's opportunity. Something like that, anyway. Up to this point, things have gone smoothly for Justin Morneau, who has been able to get through all his workouts and delivered an RBI single in the Twins' Grapefruit League opener on Saturday. But the first baseman acknowledged recently that post-concussion symptoms continued to haunt him throughout the offseason, and that if they return he's ...

    Updated 03-13-2012 at 11:21 AM by Nick Nelson

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  6. Rough Day for Gutierrez

    The Twins played their unofficial first game of the spring on Thursday -- a 'B' game against the Red Sox at Hammond Field. Obviously, you can't put much stock into what goes on during exhibition contests particularly an informal affair such as this one but one performance that stuck out to me was that of Carlos Gutierrez, who struggled through two-thirds of an inning and raised the ire of his manager.

    Pitching in relief against a lineup filled with Boston backups, Gutierrez issued ...
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  7. On Tone of Writing

    The following are examples of comments we've received on blog posts over the past few days.

    The first came from Twins Daily member roger responding to my post earlier this week about the Zumaya injury:

    Is the new Twins Daily going to be another site where everyone 'bad mouths' everything Mr. Ryan and the organization does? Your site has only been around for a couple days and I for one am already tired of all the bitching!
    ...

    Last time I checked, spring
    ...
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  8. Building a Bench

    A year ago, the Twins went into the regular season with a bench consisting of Drew Butera, Jason Repko, Matt Tolbert and Jim Thome. In other words: three guys who possessed only defensive value, and one who possessed only offensive value. It was a pretty limiting group, and the lack of flexibility caused headaches for Ron Gardenhire with starters shuttling in and out of the lineup all summer.

    Repko, Tolbert and Thome won't be back this year, and that's probably no coincidence. Nor is ...
  9. Ryan Must React

    In his efforts to augment a bullpen that last year ranked last in the league in ERA, FIP and WHIP, Terry Ryan's moves essentially amounted to re-signing Matt Capps and adding Joel Zumaya to replace the departed Joe Nathan.

    That was hardly a recipe for guaranteed substantial improvement, and now with Zumaya's unfortunate yet unsurprising injury news, Ryan's passive approach to addressing this unit in a buyer's market looks all the more irresponsible.

    With their sole bullpen ...
  10. The 2008 Blueprint

    In my attempts to determine a plausible best-case scenario for this year's Twins team, I've struggled to come up with real-life examples to use for comparison. On the forum earlier this week, Twins Daily member sam.ekstrom pointed to the 2008 Twins as a potential "doppelganger" for the 2012 squad. I've got to say, I find this to be an encouraging model for a positive outcome if things break reasonably well.

    Now, to be clear, that 2008 team was by no means great. They won 88 games, were ...
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  11. Bad Days

    Eight months after suffering a concussion in a home plate collision with Royals catcher Brayan Pena, Denard Span still says he has "bad days" in which his head doesn't feel quite right, but he has no way of knowing whether or not those symptoms stem from the incident in Kansas City.

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ID:	171Span's situation is unique, in that he had dealt with migraines and vertigo back in 2009, long before taking that blow to the head on June 3rd last season. At the time, those issues ...
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  12. Spring Training Preview

    The Twins invited a staggering 66 players to big-league camp this year, which seems more than a little excessive when you consider that only 25 will make the Opening Day roster and very few of those spots are legitimately up for grabs.

    So why the prodigious assembly at Lee County Sports Complex? I'd guess it has something to do with the coaching staff wanting a chance to familiarize themselves with as many guys as possible. Forty-five different players either took a swing or threw a ...
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  13. What to Watch in 2012: Revere's Average

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ID:	143When he was a prospect coming up through the minors, Ben Revere showed promise as a lightning-fast outfielder who could make things happen with his legs and with his glove. He was drafted in the first round in 2007, put himself on the map by leading the Midwest League with a .379 average in 2008 and graduated to the majors by the age of 22.

    Revere's projected value in the bigs is overstated by minor-league numbers that include a .326/.385/.408 slash line ...
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  14. What to Watch in 2012: Pavano's Strikeouts

    When the Twins acquired Carl Pavano in August of 2009, his fastball was averaging almost 91 miles per hour and he was striking out 16 percent of the batters he faced. In two seasons since, his velocity has dropped by two miles per hour and his K-rate has descended steadily, to 13 percent in 2010 and 11 percent in 2011.

    Among qualifying major-league starters, only Brad Penny had a lower K/9 mark last year than Pavano's 4.1. A lack of whiffs isn't necessarily a death knell, especially ...
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