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Over the Baggy

  1. Shipley: Nick Blackburn makes adjustments

    Nick Blackburn’s greatest redeeming quality is his ability to consume innings. Unfortunately, for the past two consecutive seasons, he has not come close to proving his worth in this department.

    When he was not sidelined by injuries, Blackburn pitched on either side of the spectrum for the Twins. One month - like May 2011 where he went 3-0 with a 2.53 ERA in 42 innings pitched - he would be dazzling, using his sinker effectively and keeping opponents off-balanced. The next month ...
  2. Luke Hughes is battling injuries and for spot on roster

    As the battle for the 25-man roster heats up in the Florida sunshine, utility hopeful Luke Hughes is going to be given a long look but no leeway, regardless of his current option situation says Twins general manager Terry Ryan:

    "Being out of options, that doesn't mean much. You just play the game," Ryan said. "Ultimately if they're one of the best 25, you keep 'em. If they're not, the decision comes from up here, which I don't particularly like, but we go through this every spring.
  3. Nick Punto expresses concern for Justin Morneau

    There’s plenty of concern internally for Justin Morneau’s future. Now former teammate and friend Nick Punto has echoed that concern.

    On Monday, Punto described a game of phone-tag he’s been having with Morneau and he sounds like he’s having some concerns that the big Canadian is not returning his calls.

    From Gordon Edes’s ESPN Boston article:

    Ordinarily, Punto might think nothing of it. His buddy, the Twins' first baseman and former MVP, is busy.
  4. Shipley: Terry Ryan on Danny Valencia

    John Shipley had an article this morning regarding Danny Valencia and shared some of the spillage of information gathered from general manager Terry Ryan in his blog.

    Ryan on how he handles players:

    “When you get to know players, you hear some things on occasion that just aren’t good, aren’t right, that you’d like to do something about. I would never hesitate to maybe mention what we think about going about the business, what might be the right way, or how to react to
  5. Twins Daily was created with non-clubhouse types in mind

    Twins Daily’s Seth Stohs tweeted that this morning on ESPN1500’s Judd & Phunn show, co-host Joe Anderson, aka “Phunn”, “just bashed blogs and big-timed all fans for not being in the clubhouse.” Anderson apparently said that only then could bloggers and fans have opinions.

    Not having heard the rant live (you can likely go to the show’s webpage and catch it on-demand shortly), I cannot comment on the overall tone of Anderson’s remarks. He’s a radio guy that is likely making a statement ...
  6. Behind Joel Zumaya's elbow blowout

    On Saturday, Joel Zumaya, the Twins key bullpen addition of the offseason, prepared to throw live batting practice for the first time in the spring.

    After 13 pitches, he was headed off the mound and into an MRI machine.

    News broke on Sunday that the injury, a snapped UCL, would require Tommy John surgery and that it would end his 2012 Comeback Player of the Year campaign, his time with the Twins and, very likely, his career. Because of his extensive history with injuries, ...
  7. Table-setters needed

    One of the questions posed on our new message board was how will the Twins account for 200 runs in their runs scored/runs allowed differential over the 2011 season which would bring the club back towards 81 wins and beyond.

    On the defensive/pitching side of the ledger, Minnesota allowed 804 runs – the second-highest in the American League behind only Baltimore. At the plate, they managed to score just 619 – the second-fewest ahead of only Seattle. It is simple enough: ...
  8. Twins to get Tsuyoshi Nishioka reps at third

    According to AP Guy, Jon Krawczynski, Twins GM Terry Ryan said that Tsuyoshi Nishioka could see some time at third base this spring.
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    This might be the attempts to Punto-ize the middle infielder, giving him experience at all infield positions in efforts to bolster his resume as a potential utility candidate. While his range may play well at the hot corner as Punto’s did, Nishioka clearly lacks the same arm strength to adequately perform at that position.

    Consider ...
  9. Gabbin' Grapefruit: Francisco Liriano's Delivery

    The 2011 season was quite a mess for Francisco Liriano. Coming off the solid 2010 season, expectations had been high for the lefty and instead of moving forward he regressed heavily, turning in one of the worst seasons among qualified starters. Command-wise, his 12.7% walk rate was the highest among pitchers with a minimum of 130 innings pitched.

    According to a recent John Shipley article at the PiPress, Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson offered up a cure for what he believes ails ...

    Updated 02-22-2012 at 12:15 AM by Parker Hageman

  10. Gabbin' Grapefruit: Terry Doyle

    La Valle had a good piece on Rule 5 pick Terry Doyle at the Strib today. The 26-year-old right-hander discussed some his route to the Twins organization, listening in on Internet radio at his home in Warwick, Rhode Island when he found out that Minnesota had drafted him.

    For their part, the Twins were impressed with Doyle’s performance in the Arizona Fall League in which he went while in the Chicago system and, as Neal writes, “Doyle he was dominant at times while going 4-0 with a ...
  11. Will Francisco Liriano rebound in 2012?

    Without a doubt, there will be plenty of storylines to monitor during spring training this year. One of the bigger ones that you should keep an eye on in Fort Myers is Francisco Liriano’s fastball.

    Injuries took him out of the 2011 season but it was clear that the southpaw was not the same pitcher as he was the season before. Between a decrease in velocity, an inability to locate his fastball and regularly falling behind his opponents, Liriano posted a career high in walks (75) and ...
  12. Twins hitting coach looking to fix team's approach at the plate

    Hitting coach Joe Vavra recently shared some ideas behind what was causing the drought at the plate with the Pioneer Press’s Tom Powers. Plenty of factors played into the team’s offensive ineptitude but for those who did make it to the plate, Vavra felt that the approach was fundamentally lacking:

    “Some couldn't grasp that they couldn't pull every pitch or that sometimes it was better to take a few. As a result, they struggled.”
    Despite some fans objections to the contrary, Joe ...
  13. Joe Mauer delivers the most Joe Mauer quote ever.

    Each spring fans are entertained by non-news news from the southern camps in Florida relating to how great of shape a player is in, how re-dedicated they are, etc, etc. Early February brings a lot of "I feel great" moments from players who were injured the previous season and, of course, wealthy catcher Joe Mauer is one such player who draws this kind of attention from the media.

    In January, right around TwinsFest when Mauer made a quick circuit of local appearances, reports spread that the catcher had put on nearly 30 pounds
  14. Should Ben Revere play center?

    Before the spikes have even hit the turf at Hammonds Stadium, manager Ron Gardenhire has gone on the record as saying Denard Span is his 2012 center fielder.
    "[Span's] going to lead off and be my center fielder. That’s my expectations. If somebody were to tell me that he’s not able to do that, then we’d have to ad lib. But if Denard comes in healthy, then he’s my center fielder, there’s no questions to me about that."
    Apparently, Ben Revere, who performed admirably in center in Span’s absence, ...
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