"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, March 13, 2007

Hard Times on the Hot Corner

Ever since the Twins let Corey Koskie go (TBL still believes that one day she will be able to utter that name without weeping) the state of affairs at the hot corner has been, shall we say, less than ideal. I'm not talking about the hitting, although that hasn't been inspired, but about the actual play at the base. Or the lack thereof.

Sure, five years of the superlative fielding of everyone's favorite goofy Canuck spoiled us. How could it not? But even allowing for that, we've been subjected to some truly appalling glovework since he left us. If the words "Tony Batista fielding third" don't make you flinch, you haven't been paying attention. And even after the passage of more than a year, TBL still runs shrieking into the night at the memory of the season Michael Cuddyer* spent there.

After shedding the Batista burden last season, utility infielder Nick Punto was inserted into the position as a fill-in. He had some trouble adjusting in the beginning, but toward the end of the season he settled in and flashed enough leather to make some of us wonder if the Twins had blindly stumbled upon a competent third baseman.

Now, the noises coming out of the Twins clubhouse seem to indicate that Nick Punto will be our 2007 third baseman. While there will be those who gripe that third base is supposed to be a power hitter's position, TBL says "hallelujah!". We've got enough power at first to cover both corners, and with a starting rotation in flux and under fire, the Twins pitchers need every possible inch of the field covered behind them. Punto can drive in some runs, too, he just won't often do it with homers. He'll also score some runs a typical power hitter couldn't leg out.

Now, if we can just decide on a left fielder and the fourth and fifth starters...

*Allow TBL to give credit where credit is due, however: Cuddyer has since turned into a perfectly acceptable outfielder.

2 rejoinders:

twayn sounded off...

With White, Kubel, and LeCroy on the roster we'd have a nice platoon option. Against righties, Kubel and White interchangeable at LF/DH. Against lefties, White in LF and LeCroy at DH. With Ken Harvey's knee injury, Matty suddenly has a much better chance to make the team this year.

Third Base Line sounded off...

Very true. And given the injury histories with both Kubel and White, having a perpetually healthy player in the DH mix would be a nice safety net.