"Let us go forth a while, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our closed rooms...
The game of ball is glorious."

--Walt Whitman

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Twins notes: Second base belongs to Punto:
BALTIMORE -- Nick Punto has officially usurped Luis Rivas as the Twins' starting second baseman.
Manager Ron Gardenhire didn't want to make a big announcement, but he confirmed the decision before Monday's game against the Baltimore Orioles.
'Right now, Punto's playing second base and he's playing very well,' Gardenhire said. 'It's not like a platoon there. I'm going to play him, and mix in Luis whenever I possibly can, just like I have the other guys.'
The righthanded-hitting Rivas had started only three of the past 11 games at second base, with his past two starts coming against lefthanded pitchers. The switch-hitting Punto made the other starts at second base in that span, all against righthanders.
'I can't do anything about it,' Rivas said. 'I have to keep working hard. It's tough for me because I've always been in every game.'
Rivas, who had been the starter since 2001, said he started pressing too hard once he realized his job was on the line. He is batting .204 with a .273 on-base percentage; Punto is batting .234 with a .319 OBP after going 0-for-4 in Monday's 3-0 loss to Baltimore.
Gardenhire said he didn't have a formal meeting with Rivas to explain the situation, but third base coach Al Newman has spoken to Rivas about it.
'I'm sure he'd rather be out there every day playing,' Gardenhire said. 'But like I said all along, we're going to put the best team out there. And he wasn't getting it done there. He had a bad stretch, and the other guy was playing well.'

Well, after a "bad stretch" spanning much of the last three years, it's about darn time! Not that Rivas doesn't have the sweetest double play pivot you've ever seen--he does--but if a guy is going to hit under .260 every year, he's going to have to either hit a lot of homers or be able to consistently lay down a bunt when it's called for.

Neither Rivas nor Punto will ever be a power hitter, but Punto can definitely bunt. He's got greater range in the field, too, which is a definite plus with Silva and his ground ball extravaganza going every fifth game.

1 rejoinders:

Anonymous sounded off...

Plus Punto does totally sweet handstands.