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    by 03-14-2012, 10:11 PM

    Likely Starter: Jamey Carroll
    2011 Stats: .290/.359/.347, 0 HR, 17 RBI, 52 R, 10/10 SB

    Potential Backups: Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Brian Dozier, Pedro Florimon

    Welcome Jamey Carroll, the latest passenger on Minnesota's never-ending shortstop carousel.

    Since Cristian Guzman's departure, the Twins have opened with six different players at the position in seven seasons. Their Opening Day shortstops have ended up averaging 68 starts there, and only one Ė Jason Bartlett in 2007 Ė actually started over 100 games in a season.

    At this point, the Twins would settle for even short-term stability, and that's what they're seeking in Carroll, a 38-year-old journeyman signed to a two-year deal during the offseason.
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    by 03-14-2012, 07:27 PM

    The first week here (in Ft. Myers) has been a wild ride. From the plane ride, where I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to John Cena, WWE Wrestler, to having our first game today. The check-in day is always fun as you get to see your teammates and get to meet some of the new guys or players you haven't played with before. That day usually goes smooth and then the season starts the next day. As A.J. Pettersen pointed out in one of his posts, that day includes a lot of lines and being poked and prodded.

    After being given a clean bill of health we are able to hit the field and get some running tests done. Having long legs usually helps with these, and it is fun to see some guys putting up some good times. After the running day, the real practice starts the next day, and we get into groups and participate in drills.

    It is funny to think that we are doing the same drills as every other player in the world. Baseball is a game rich in tradition and has a very strong foundation. The Twins pride themselves on fundamentals and playing the game the right way. There is no better way to learn both of those than repetition after repetition.
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    by 03-14-2012, 03:12 PM

    Chris Parmelee (pictured) delivered a clutch hit against Philadelphia ace pitcher Roy Halladay on Wednesday, resulting in a 6-4 Minnesota Twins win. Parmelee played the whole game at first base, recording a walk and two hits, which included a three-run home run versus Halladay that gave the Twins a 5-4 lead. A number of impressive bullpen performances preserved the win.

    Twins starting pitcher Jason Marquis gave up four runs in the first four innings on eight hits. But for the second of his first three starts, his infield defense
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    by 03-13-2012, 11:50 PM

    In spring training last year, New York Mets manager Terry Collins said that second base has become ďan enormous offensive position. Some of the guys that have been playing there have been putting up huge numbers at second. Itís become an offensive position, so to me thatís a big piece of the puzzle.Ē
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    by 03-13-2012, 10:54 PM

    Likely Starter: Danny Valencia
    2011 Stats: .246/.294/.383, 15 HR, 72 RBI, 63 R, 2/8 SB

    Potential Backups: Luke Hughes, Sean Burroughs, Steve Pearce, Tsuyoshi Nishioka

    With a lineup that will feature as many as five players who pose virtually no threat to hit the ball over the fence, the Twins are going to be heavily reliant on a few bats in the middle of the lineup to produce some pop in 2012. Among the incumbents, the only player who even reached double digits in home runs last year is Danny Valencia. He led the Twins in RBI and ranked second in homers, though that spoke more to the general struggles of the offense than to his success.

    Make no mistake: the Twins need Valencia's power. But in order to win over a coaching staff that seemingly soured on him somewhat last year, he'll need to master some of the more basic elements of his game.
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    by 03-13-2012, 10:41 PM

    Today, we'll round out the infield and vote for the preseason AL Central third baseman. Let's get the discussion going on "Which AL Central Third Baseman will be the best in 2012?" Vote now and comment your rankings.

    The Candidates (2011 stats)

    Minnesota Twins - Danny Valencia - .246/.294/.383 (.677) with 28-2B, 2-3B, 15-HR, 72 RBI
    Chicago White Sox - Brent Morel - .245/.287/.366 (.653) with 18-2B, 1-3B, 10-HR, 41 RBI
    Cleveland Indians - Jack Hannahan - .250/.331/.388 (.719) with 16-2B, 2-3B, 8-HR, 40 RBI
    Lonnie Chisenhall MLB - .255/.284/.415 (.699) with 13-2B, 0-3B, 7-HR, 22 RBI
    Lonnie Chisenhall MILB - .267/.353/.431 (.784) with 15-2B, 3-3B, 7-HR, 45 RBI
    Detroit Tigers - Miguel Cabrera - .344/.448/.586 (1.033) with 48-2B, 0-3B, 30-HR, 105 RBI
    Kansas City Royals - Mike Moustakus MLB- .263/.309/.367 (.675) with 18-2B, 1-3B, 5-HR, 30 RBI
    Mike Moustakus MILB- .287/.347/.498 (.845) with 15-2B, 1-3B, 10-HR, 44 RBI
    by 03-13-2012, 04:44 PM

    According to Hardball Talk, two Twins Minor Leaguers have been suspended 50 games for testing postive to a banned substance. Both players played in the Dominican Summer League in 2011.

    Yeison Florentino went 1-2 with 3 saves and a 3.16 ERA in 2011. In 25.2 innings, he gave up 22 hits, walked 15 and struck out 18. As an 18 year old in 2010, he was 1-2 with a 2.70 ERA. In 16.2 innings, he gave up nine hits, walked 22 and struck out 11.

    Ezequiel Zarzuela will be 21 years old throughout the 2012 season. In 2011, he went 3-2 with 3 saves and a 2.60 ERA. In 19 games and 34.2 innings, he gave up 30 hits, walked 19 and struck out 40. In 2010, he was 7-3 with a 2.68 ERA. In 53.2 innings, he gave up 50 hits, walked 20 and struck out 36.
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    by 03-13-2012, 12:39 PM

    So far we have voted on the Preseason AL Central Catcher, First Baseman and Second Baseman choices. Now let's get the discussion going on "Which AL Central Shortstop will be the best in 2012?" Vote now and comment your rankings.

    The Candidates (2011 stats)

    Minnesota Twins - Jamey Carroll - .290/.359/.347 (.706) with 14-2B, 6-3B, 0-HR, 17 RBI
    Chicago White Sox - Alexei Ramirez - .269/.328/.399 (.727) with 31-2B, 2-3B, 15-HR, 70 RBI
    Cleveland Indians - Asdrubal Cabrera - .273/.332/.460 (.792) with 32-2B, 3-3B, 25-HR, 92 RBI
    Detroit Tigers - Jhonny Peralta - .299/.345/.478 (.824) with 25-2B, 3-3B, 21-HR, 86 RBI
    Article Preview
    by 03-13-2012, 07:44 AM

    Manager Ron Gardenhire wanted him up in the big leagues last summer. Teammates praise his leadership as well as his ability to do anything and everything needed with the bat. Pitchers love when he is playing shortstop behind them. How can Brian Dozier make the Twins Opening Day Roster?

    There are many things going against Dozier this spring, at least in terms of making the opening day roster. The biggest thing he has going for him is his play and his personality.

    Letís start with the reasons that he will not make the Opening Day Roster:
    • Jamey Carroll and Alexi Casilla Ė The Twins brought in Jamey Carroll and paid him enough that he will get a starting job. Heís earned that by playing in 140+ games the last two years, being solid defensively and getting on base at a very good clip. The Twins are committed to giving Alexi Casilla another shot as a starter at second base. Even if the leash on Casilla isnít real long, he will get a shot to start.
    Article Preview
    by 03-12-2012, 09:09 PM

    Today's links include the analytical, the hopeful and the whimsical:

    Analytical
    Thryloss updates his bullpen and bench dashboards with yesterday's results. A couple of previously maligned bullpen arms put their best foot forward, as did Brian Dozier.

    Hopeful
    Twins Fan From Afar is getting hopeful watching Danny Valencia this spring. He reviews Valencia's time in the majors, both good and bad.

    Whimsical

    MrHorrorPants relates the Twins upcoming season to a Civil War campaign. It's every bit as righteous and scary as one might expect.
    Article Preview
    by 03-12-2012, 08:59 PM

    Aaron & the Twins Geek discuss Perkins' new contract, the Twins history of long-term contracts and then review Vegas' over-under predictions for the Twins and the rest of the AL. Here are:

    Article Preview
    by 03-12-2012, 01:03 PM

    Likely Starter: Alexi Casilla
    2011 Stats: .260/.322/.368, 4 HR, 21 RBI, 52 R, 15/19 SB

    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 out of the gates, and there's no question that it's hurt him. When a player shows no signs of life early in the season, fans are quick to pass judgment and coaches begin looking at other options.
    Article Preview
    by 03-11-2012, 11:18 PM

    The voting for preseason AL Central catcher and first basemen will continue for another day, but let's get the discussion going on "Which AL Central Second Baseman will be the best in 2012?" Vote now and comment your rankings.

    THE CANDIDATES (2011 stats)
    Minnesota Twins - Alexi Casilla - .260/.322/.368 (.691) with 21-2B, 3-3B, 2-HR, 21 RBI

    Chicago White Sox - Gordon Beckham - .230/.296/.337 (.633) with 23-2B, 0-3B, 10-HR, 44 RBI

    Cleveland Indians - Jason Kipnis MLB - .272/.333/.507 (.841) with 9-2B, 1-3B, 7-HR, 19 RBI (MILB - .280/.362/.484 (.846) with 16-2B, 9-3B, 12-HR, 55 RBI)

    Detroit Tigers - Brandon Inge - .197/.265/.283 (.548) with 10-2B, 2-3B, 3-HR, 23 RBI
    Article Preview
    by 03-11-2012, 03:47 PM

    If you're looking for some more to nibble on from this weekend, try these

    - Thryloss has brought executive style management techniques to spring training. (I'll let you decide if that's a good or bad thing.) He's updating two executive style dashboard reports, one for the bullpen and the other for the bench battles. Check them out and see how your favorite dark horse is running.


    - Speaking of dark horses, minor league catcher Chris Herrmann might be one to make it to the show sometime this year. Over the last year or so he's overcome his clear obsession with redundant consonants to position himself as a lineup fixture as early as 2013. You can find out a bit more about him in a profile by ShawnTheRoad.


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