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Over the Baggy

  1. Willingham proving the Twins hired the right muscle

    Just two seasons into Target Field’s existence and already the ballpark’s environment had drawn as much consternation from hitters as an expanded strike zone or moving the mound ten feet closer to the plate. Departing Twins took shots at the venue as they left the team, suggesting that the way the field plays makes players alter their swings to avoid long fly outs to the gaps.

    Rather than continuing to jam square pegs into a round hole, the Twins made an offseason signing that is ...
  2. A new-look Nick

    On Monday against the Angels, Nick Blackburn, despite taking the loss in a 5-1 contest, provided the team with some assurance that he may be able to outperform the lowly expectations that have been outlined for him based on his track record the last two years.

    What has been the most impressive about his 2012 debut was his ability to miss bats. After all, at an 89.9% rate over the past two seasons, he has allowed more contact than any other qualified starting pitcher. It has been ...
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  3. Decrease in velocity should be a concern for Pavano

    The Twins recently announced that Target Field would be a smoke-free facility starting in 2012. Apparently, they were not referencing tobacco products but rather Carl Pavano’s fastball.

    Minnesota’s inning-eating stalwart of the past several seasons entered Opening Day in Baltimore and was not impressing any radar gun enthusiasts by tossing his fastball a touch over 85 miles an hour. On Saturday, Star Tribune columnist Jim Souhan reported that there were some organizational staffers ...
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  4. How much hardship do minor leaguers experience?

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ID:	548Lily Rothman of Slate.com recently wrote a very interesting piece on the treatment of minor league baseball players and their plight to make ends meet.

    Rothman noted that these “hidden underclass of workers” make a salary comprising of $1,100 a month and receive that pay for only half the year. As opposed to their major league brethren, minor leaguers have little or no protection as a working class.

    There have been some players within the system ...

    Updated 04-07-2012 at 12:55 PM by Parker Hageman

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  5. Pitching will be biggest issue in 2012

    On Thursday, Ron Gardenhire announced his opening day lineup. Giving it the once over, you will notice that the lineup is filled with “professional” hitters, a start contrast to the motley crew that the manager was forced to field at the end of last year.

    Headlining names like Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Denard Span have returned. It is deep enough that Chris Parmelee, who hit in the heart of the order in September, is batting eighth. With the offseason additions of Josh Willingham, ...
  6. Five things to watch as you watch this April

    While many fans will be focusing their attention on the more mainstream topics such as Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau’s health, Denard Span’s lingering concussion effects and Francisco Liriano’s resurgence, here are five things you can point out to your buddies as you watch games this month to make you seem like a genuine hipster seamhead:

    (1) Nick Blackburn’s adjustments and repertoire.

    Much has been made this spring about Blackburn’s shift on the rubber from the first ...
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  7. Doumit demonstrating patience

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ID:	480When the Twins signed Ryan Doumit, they gained a switch-hitter who had a modern level of pop and decent batting average ability thanks to a high line drive rate. What they did not necessarily sign was a patient hitter who has been able to coax walks. The former Pittsburgh Pirate has held a 6.8% walk rate for his career, a mark that is slightly below the average of 8%. However, this spring, bolstered by nine walks in 54 plate appearances, Doumit has turned in a 15% walk ...
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  8. Gardenhire announces his outfield plans

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Size:  11.0 KBAfter months of expecting Josh Willingham to move from left field, the outfield position he has played the most in his career, across the turf to right field, Ron Gardenhire has switched courses on that plan.

    Back in February, Gardenhire acknowledged that the experiment of moving Willingham to right field might not work but that they would be ready if he would be unable to adapt to the new position:

    "That's what we are going to do. We're going ...
  9. Is it time to worry about Morneau yet?

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ID:	418Following Monday’s 0-for-2 performance, lowering his spring batting average to .100, Justin Morneau addressed his struggles:

    "It's gotten better. It's not where I want it to be yet. The swing's getting better. The swing feels a lot better than it did when I first got down here. It's a process, it's moving along. I just have to keep telling myself that it's slow, and just because it's not here now doesn't mean it's not going to be here a week from now." ...
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  10. Gardenhire: Dozier will start in Rochester

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ID:	405After sending Tsuyoshi Nishioka to Rochester, many fans began to think that Brian Dozier may have done enough this spring to entice the powers that be to include him on the major league roster. On Tuesday, manager Ron Gardenhire squelched that notion.

    According to the Star Tribune’s Joe Christensen’s tweet which paraphrased Gardenhire’s comments on the situation, the Twins will not be bringing Dozier northward but rather sending him to Rochester to start ...
  11. Kyle Waldrop, the grounded pitcher

    With a bullpen that is holier than the Pope, the Twins have been hosting an audition with many of their arms this spring hoping to fill some of the openings.

    Many of the early front-runners have likely exited the race early. Some, like Joel Zumaya, had the misfortunate of being bounced out due to injury. Others, like Terry Doyle and Jason Bulger, have just failed to perform. As a lot of the field continues to falter for one reason or another, Kyle Waldrop has emerged as a potential ...
  12. Christensen: Twins concerned over Baker's elbow

    In just 134 innings in 2011, we witnessed how good Scott Baker can be as a starter. Of course, we also witnessed what has become the inevitable season-ending injury for the second-straight year.

    After having a procedure to remove bone chips from his elbow in 2010, Baker experienced discomfort in the pitching side elbow once again in 2011 and was sidelined, making just four appearances post-August. The hope coming into camp was that Baker would be fully healed for what is a pivotal ...
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  13. What can Alexi Casilla provide in 2012?

    In spring training last year, New York Mets manager Terry Collins said that second base has become “an enormous offensive position. Some of the guys that have been playing there have been putting up huge numbers at second. It’s become an offensive position, so to me that’s a big piece of the puzzle.”

    In the American League, this has become exceedingly true. Players like Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler and Robinson Cano have packed a wallop for their respective teams. The Twins meanwhile ...
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  14. Glen Perkins and the future

    Question: Why is this graph smiling?

    Answer: Because its owner just locked in $10.3 million guaranteed.



    On Thursday morning, the Twins announced that they have extended Glen Perkins through 2015with an option for 2016. Heading into 2011, based on his substandard results such as his strike out rate, this would have been unheard of, a Twitter punch line among baseball ...
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