"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

Monday, July 31, 2006


So. The trading deadline is at 3:00 CDT. We know two things about the Twins vs. the market:

1. The guys every other team wants (Liriano, Garza, Santana, Morneau, Kubel, etc.) are not on the block.

2. Kyle Lohse is.

Which leads me to the conclusion that we've got what amounts to zero chance of making a trade for a major-league player. The Twins won't pay the price, and no one will give us an ML-ready player for Hittable McTantrum over there. That said, we might still work a deal for some prospects, and you can never have too many prospects. Especially since the organization's been raiding Rochester like it was a fridge and they were on Ambien.

Mind you, we're still looking at some roster moves. Hunter's coming off the DL tonight, and Guerrier is within days of returning. I've gotta think that, salary or no salary, Lohse is as likely as Eyre to be on that plane to Rochester when Guerrier is ready, assuming Lohse is still a Twin. Not that Eyre is pitching any better than Lohse, but we still have hope for Willie's future.

I'd like to leave you with one final, yummy thought that has nothing to do with the trading deadline.

It's July. Justin Morneau has 28 homers already.

(Pray to whatever deity/ies you see fit that he stays healthy!)

Edit, 11:00 a.m.: Lohse has been traded to the Reds for a Class A RHP by the name of Ward.

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Wrapped Up, With a Bow

When you've got the best backup catcher in baseball, you don't let him go.

Minnesota Twins catcher Mike Redmond has accepted a two-year contract extension with a club option for 2009.

The 35-year-old Redmond has been backing up Joe Mauer, who leads the majors with a .375 average. Redmond is batting .333 with eight doubles and 14 R-B-I's in 29 games this season.He's played errorless ball while throwing out 38 percent of his potential base-stealers since joining the Twins before last season.
(Associated Press)

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I tell you, I have had the most abominable case of writer's block the last couple of weeks. I don't think I could have managed the rent check if I'd needed to fill that out. And blogging? Pffft. Out of the freakin' question.

Nothing loosens the proverbial tongue like a sweep of the Whine Sox though, eh? Now there was a thing of beauty, what with the BOOM! And the STRIKE THREE! all over the place.

And how about Jason Bartlett, huh? (Ignore that smacking sound, it's just me hitting TK across the nose with a rolled-up newspaper.) Can that kid play or what? He hits! He fields! He runs! After the last five years or so, did anyone in Twinsland still remember that shorstops were supposed to do that?

Speaking of blindingly obvious roster moves, Pat Neshek's been a great addition to the bullpen. I love watching the hitters after they see their very first Neshek pitch. Batters of all nationalities and levels of experience invariably make the exact same face, the one that looks remarkably like Wile E. Coyote when he has that split second to wonder why he's suddenly running on thin air.

Meanwhile, Jason Tyner is the clear winner of this month's AL Award for Best Performance by a Guy Who Really Quite Desperately Wants to Stay in the Majors. Good job!

Oh, and one more thing. I'd like to give a big ol' round of applause to Michael Cuddyer for wearing his socks the right way on Sunday. Ya looked good, Cuddy.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Limping Boldly Onward


Since last I b*tched about the rash of injuries plaguing the Twins (on Friday), our boys continue to fall like dominoes.

Approximately five minutes after coming off the disabled list, Shannon Stewart went back on after re-aggravating his plantar fascitis Saturday.

Then Hunter left the game Sunday due to extreme pain from a "tweak" in his foot which occurred about a month ago, and which he'd been hoping would just go away eventually. Turns out "tweak"="fracture". Ouch. Onto the DL with you!

Monday, Jack-Of-All-Positions Nick Punto (who is a tremendously valuable resource with half the team on the DL) jammed his trick knee. Oh, the joy. He's not on the DL, but they're not saying he'll play tonight, either.

Now, two or three injuries in a row is one thing. Sometimes you just get a little cluster, it's all part of the law of averages. But when six guys go down in a week? Well, I expect to see some funky-looking person dancing around the Dome waving incense and a rubber chicken, or whatever you need to wave around to take this damn hex off, and I expect to see them soon. Surely after the last couple of seasons TR's got a got a good witch doctor on speed dial?

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunday Catblogging: Caption This!

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Friday, July 14, 2006

This Was A Break?

Seems like every year the Twins (and presumably every other team out there) heads into the All-Star Break saying something to the effect of "we can really use these three days off to heal up all those nagging little injuries and get strong for the second half".

But our Twins, ever the young rebels, seem to have left "healing up" and "getting strong" off the ol' to-do list. Why do I think this?

First: Jason Kubel is now sore in both knees.

Jason Kubel knew he'd have to deal with soreness in his surgically repaired left knee all season.

He just didn't expect to deal with it in his right knee, as well. But lingering soreness in both knees caused the left fielder to be scratched from Thursday night's lineup.

Only recently did Kubel begin having problems with both knees. He said he's been feeling it in each knee for about a month.

Kubel didn't inform the coaching staff of the knee issues until last week, on the club's road trip to Kansas City and Texas. He hoped the pain would settle over the three-day All-Star break, but Kubel was still sore just walking around his apartment in Minneapolis over the past few days.

The cause of the pain is unknown. The outfielder was told by others who suffered similar knee injuries that soreness would linger and sometimes spread to the other knee.

"I don't know if I'm favoring the other knee or not, or if it's the turf or anything," Kubel said. "It's just been getting sore. It's nothing serious, I can work through it. There are just good and bad days, and the last week has been bad."

Kubel said he feels pain mostly when he starts moving after having rested for a while, but that it really flares when he's making plays on balls in the outfield and running the bases.

Second: Lew Ford hurt himself in the first game back.
It seems that left field is a spot prone to injuries for the Twins this season.

In Thursday night's game against the Indians, left fielder Lew Ford strained his right external oblique muscle during a fifth inning at-bat, forcing him to exit the game. Following the Twins' 6-4 loss to the Indians, Minnesota placed Ford on the 15-day disabled list and selected the contract of outfielder Jason Tyner from Triple-A Rochester.

The club is hoping Kubel will be ready to start in left field for Friday's game.

The Twins were already limited at the position prior to Ford's injury, as Shannon Stewart is still dealing with a sore left foot that caused him to miss 33 games already this year. While Stewart has been playing as the designated hitter for the club, Gardenhire is hesitant to use him in the outfield at the Metrodome, with the wear that the Fieldturf can take on injuries.

Third, of course, we're still waiting to hear what's up with Carlos Silva.
Problems with the knee are nothing new for Silva. Last season he dealt with a torn meniscus. He underwent surgery on the knee in late September, and said that the pain he felt Friday was similar to what he felt before. As the outing progressed, Silva said, he felt he couldn't push off his back leg due to some pain. He will undergo an MRI on Monday to see if the injury is serious.
That MRI was, by the way, LAST Monday, the 10th. And yet I for one have heard nothing. Have you?

And last but not least, Matt Guerrier and Rondell White are both still on the DL.

Now that you've digested all those injuries, allow me to present you with a little hope for the future:

Garza moves up

The Twins promoted righthander Matt Garza to Class AAA Rochester after he went 6-2, 2.51 in 10 starts at Class AA New Britain. It's a promotion worth noting because Garza could position himself for a late-season look if he does well.

Garza was the Twins' first-round pick in the 2005 draft, meaning he's rocketed through the system in just more than 13 months as a pro. He began this season at Class A Fort Myers, where he was 5-1, 1.42 in eight starts before moving to New Britain.

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Friday, July 07, 2006


Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is open and the crew is heading downtown tonight to see it. Needless to say, we are all beside ourselves with anticipation. And the Renaissance Festival is only five weeks away!

In honor of the movie, here's a fun little quiz--which Pirates of the Caribbean character are YOU?


TBL is (somewhat to her surprise) Captain Jack Sparrow. Savvy?

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Roster Move

Well, they've optioned Boof Bonser to Rochester. According to the press release, they'll bring someone up before Friday's game.

Who will it be? TBL's thinking Scott Baker, maybe?

Let the speculation begin!

Update, 7/6: Pat Neshek got the call and will be joining the team in Texas. This is his first major-league assignment. Congratulations, Pat!

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

At the Half

81 games. Halfway through the season. Sounds like a prime time for a round of "On Pace"! (If I remember, I may check back at the end of the season to see how the "pace" held up.)


Justin Morneau is on pace to hit 42 homers, drive in 142 runs, and steal 2 bases.

Johan Santana is on pace to strike out 262 batters, win 18 games, and make us all fall hopelessly, if platonically, in love with him all over again.

Joe Mauer is on pace to get 212 hits, hit 44 doubles, take 72 walks, and be mobbed by screaming teenagers behind Gate D.

Juan Rincón is on pace to notch 24 holds, give up 0 home runs, and appear in 76 games.

Jason Kubel is on pace to turn Shannon Stewart into a DH.

Kyle Lohse is on pace to be the primary cause of 1,427 ulcers.

Torii Hunter is on pace to score 98 runs, commit 2 errors, and hit into 24 double plays.

Joe Nathan is on pace to save 30 games and drink WAY too much coffee.

Michael Cuddyer is on pace to hit 6 triples and 4 grand slams.

Jason Bartlett is on pace to be hit by 8 pitches and get jerked around by the organization for 126 games.

Francisco Liriano is on pace to be Rookie of the Year.

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Week in Review, and Stuff

Okay, so I didn't get back mid-week. Sorry! I was having so much fun watching the Twins I didn't want to dull the high by thinking about it too much. But then I realized all the dust on the blog was making me sneeze, so here we are.

First things first.

VOTE FOR FRANCISCO LIRIANO! He's up for last man on the AL All-Star team, and, y'know, 'Cisco can pitch a little. You can never have too much pitching, right?

Now, what did the Twins do in the last week? Let's see...looks like they won, and then they kicked some butts, and then they took some folks to school, and then they opened a can of whup-ass, and then they utterly crushed the competition, and then they did some more winning. So, yeah, good week.

I repeat: Who are these people, and what have they done with my Twins?

And I add: Can they stay indefinitely?

But seriously, I love most of the moves they've made in the last month or so, especially with the position players. Jason Bartlett should have been our shortstop since Opening Day...2005. Tony Batista was an experiment, and not a bad idea in theory, but the experiment didn't pan out and that was obvious pretty early on. Castro's a great utility player, but both Punto and Rodriguez are younger, faster and cheaper. And Jason Kubel belongs in the major leagues. He definitely needed that stint in AAA, as spring training simply isn't long enough to come back after a year out injured, but I was thrilled that they brought him back as soon as possible.

I'm somewhat less confident about the pitching moves, but I can see where they came from.

Liriano belongs in the rotation. Bonser's had his ups and downs...the jury's still out on him. Still, we needed someone and he had more than earned his shot. I'd rather see Scott Baker in the bullpen than Kyle Lohse, but Baker's not making $3 million and I just have to think they're running Lohse out there in hopes that some other team will make them a decent offer before the trade deadline. I'm not sure what it would take to turn Lohse's potential into actuality, but the Twins obviously don't have that answer either.

I do wonder how much more slack Jesse Crain and Willie Eyre will be given. Exciting young pitchers, both of them, but going through extended rough patches. Very extended, in Crain's case, although the last couple of weeks he's seemed much more in command. But with Guerrier possibly back in Minnesota in a couple of weeks and five Rochester pitchers sporting ERAs under 3.00 (and the whole staff under 4.50), I can't imagine the leash is very long. Especially for poor Willie, who doesn't have Crain's advantage of a pretty darn good major-league track record prior to this season.

Well, that's about all I've got for now. The Twins open up a series in KC tonight with Johan "K" Santana on the hill. I know Liriano is fabulous and all, but it's still Santana whose changeup makes my knees buckle right along with all those batters'...

And just to keep those good feelings rolling, I'll leave you with a recap of everything that's happened since the last time the Twins lost a series:

vs. Baltimore: won 2, lost 1
vs. Boston: won 3
@ Pittsburgh: won 3
@ Houston: won 2, lost 1
vs. Chicago (NL): won 3
vs. Los Angeles: won 3
vs. Milwaukee: won 3

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