For three straight years, the refrain for hopeful Twins fans has been the same: Keep waiting, help is on the way.
That can be difficult to accept, especially when few signs of progress are evident on the field. The Twins lost 99 games in 2011, and they've lost 96 in each season since. It wouldn't be too surprising if they lost 90-plus again this year.
So why watch? Fortunately, you don't have to look far to find reasons.
Letting The Kids Play
Somewhere on the horizon, an end is in sight; a merciful conclusion to this horrendous chapter for the Minnesota Twins that has been characterized by losses piling up while mind-boggling injuries have plagued every level of the organization and interest has steadily declined in a team that should be enjoying its renaissance with a beautiful new outdoor ballpark.
The Twins keep pointing to a day where their heralded prospects will arrive to usher in a renewed
With Vance Worley outrighted and Kyle Gibson seemingly in line to claim the fifth spot in the rotation, the Minnesota Twins' roster is beginning to come into focus.
Based on recent developments, rumblings around camp and general deduction, here's a final stab at projecting the 25 men that will head north in a week when the Twins head to Chicago to open their 2014 season.
As always, names in red are the players who should be considered locks (barring injury) while the names
Another day, another (meaningless) spring loss. After falling to Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees 5-4 on Saturday, the Twins are now 0-5 since I arrived in Ft. Myers on Monday, but fortunately the games don't start counting for another week.
Dig into the bullet points below for notes on the Asian import, Kevin Correia's second-to-last spring start, an emerging option for the second spot in the lineup, and more.
* The stadium and press box were both packed on Saturday afternoon
First, the most important news: Twins GM Terry Ryan was in the building today, the first time he's been present at Hammond all spring after being diagnosed with cancer in the offseason. Ryan was in good spirits during a 15-minute session with reporters, stating that he's "feeling pretty damn good right now."
Ryan, who is only in town for a day and a half, said that he's been going to radiation five days a week, and that he will continue to do so for the next five weeks. For at least
"You want to work on your weaknesses, but you can't forget to work on your strengths."
Wise words from Trevor Plouffe, and ones that can be forgotten amidst all the spring talk of ironing out wrinkles and fixing flaws.
Plouffe knows the weaknesses that he needs to work on, but he's not forgetting about the strengths that have made him the Twins' principal third baseman for two years running. And the greatest of those strengths is… well, strength.
The Twins made the short trip up to Port Charlotte Thursday night to take on the Rays. Scott Diamond, making his case for the fifth spot in the rotation, faced the same team that effectively knocked Vance Worley out of the running two nights earlier.
The Twins fell 5-4, their third loss in three tries since I arrived in Florida on Monday. There were a few interesting tidbits to be gleaned from the contest so let's dive in.
* Diamond looked
The vibe down here in Ft. Myers is that the pitching will definitely improve this year. Although Vance Worley's ugly outing on Tuesday may still be fresh in your mind, various coaches and media types have commented on how sharp guys like Phil Hughes, Mike Pelfrey and Ricky Nolasco have looked. Kyle Gibson and Samuel Deduno have both been cruising.
There's less confidence that this club is going to score enough runs.
Last year, the Twins tallied 614 runs to rank 13th in
* The Twins' lineup on Tuesday looked an awful lot like one we might see in the regular season, and that makes sense since we're less than two weeks from Opening Day and everyone was rested following a rainout on Monday.
I asked Ron Gardenhire after the game if we should make anything out of Alex Presley's presence in center field with this group of potential regulars.
"Gotta play everybody," he said, downplaying any significance. "Gotta see how they do against lefties,
It was only a minor-league start against Single-A hitters, but still the reviews of Phil Hughes on Tuesday were glowing.
"I thought he looked really good, really sharp," said assistant GM Rob Antony.
"Hughesy threw the [expletive] out of the ball," said Ron Gardenhire.
There's a palpable buzz surrounding Hughes this spring. If you ask anyone who's been down here for positive signs they've seen in a camp that has featured its fair
There's really no way to put a positive spin on Vance Worley's start Tuesday night. With his chance of making the team very much on the line after back-to-back clunkers, the righty came out and delivered the worst outing of this spring -- for him or any other Twins starter.
The final line: 2.2 IP, 7 ER, 11 H, 2 BB, 1 K. Six doubles allowed. ZERO swinging strikes on 61 pitches.
Reflecting on the game, a dejected Worley couldn't find words to explain
Overcast skies in the morning gave way to a bright sun, and this Tuesday has turned into a beautiful one here in Ft. Myers, where the Twins are getting set to face off against the Orioles in a couple hours.
To tide you over until then, here are a few notes gathered from wandering around the complex this morning and afternoon:
* Phil Hughes got his work in on the side fields earlier today, facing off against Orioles minor-leaguers under
From the beginning, there was never really any doubt that Eduardo Escobar was going to make the 25-man roster out of spring training. The intriguing young infield talent is out of options and the Twins, short on infield help, were not going to let him slip away.
That hasn't stopped the 25-year-old from going out and playing like he's trying to win a job. And that he might.
After delivering a key two-run single in the seventh inning of Sunday's
Over the past few days, two pitchers that the Twins have been connected to at various points ended up signing with different teams.
Darren Wolfson reported over the weekend that the Twins were interested in Joe Saunders, but the veteran left-hander agreed to terms Tuesday with the Rangers. And Johan Santana, who has of course been linked throughout the offseason to his former club, chose to sign a minor-league deal with big bonuses in Baltimore.
A few fans may have been