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Journeyman right hander Jason Marquis missed a huge chunk of spring training for the Minnesota Twins after his daughter was seriously injured in a bike accident in New York. He stayed with his wife by his daughter's side for a few weeks waiting for her to recover, and understandably did little in the way of baseball during that time.
He's back with the team now, but isn't quite in shape enough to immediately add himself to the rotation. His forecast seems to show him joining the rotation at some point around mid-April, since he came back in good shape and with his pitches all looking like they should.
The Twins plan to be careful with Marquis, who was unable to do many drills and didn't face other professional hitters. On Tuesday, Marquis threw on a back field to Twins minor leaguers as General Manager Terry Ryan, manager Ron Gardenhire and other club officials looked on.
"He came back in good shape," Ryan said. "It was encouraging. He threw 54 pitches; the majority were strikes. He used all his stuff. Now we'll see how he feels tomorrow."
The Twins will not need his services until at least April 15 against Texas with their rotation of Carl Pavano, Liam Hendriks, Nick Blackburn and Francisco Liriano holding down the fort until then.
The Minnesota Twins want Justin Morneau involved in games whenever possible, though ideally, he would be at first base where he's most comfortable and can be most effective. Unfortunately, Morneau has suffered plenty of injuries at first base, including concussions and concussion-like symptoms (which, as far as anyone knows, just means more concussions) over the last season or so.
Morneau will be involved right out of the gate in 2012, as the Star Tribune reports that he'll open the season as the designated hitter. He doesn't necessarily want to play there long-term though, and wants to play first base whenever possible:
"The way it's looking, with (Chris) Parmelee making the team as a first baseman, I think it's looking more toward DH than first base,'' Morneau said. ``It isn't necessarily something that I want to do but it's better in the long run in terms of being healthy and available to play every day. That's the biggest thing right now."
He goes on to say that they'll revisit it later in the season and see how he's feeling. It's all about whether or not he experiences more concussion symptoms and what his fatigue is looking like at that point. Fatigue can increase the effects of a concussion, so if Morneau has to be limited, then that's what's best for him and his career. Just having him on the field should be a big help for the Twins, regardless.
The 2012 Major League Baseball season is right around the corner for the Minnesota Twins, but before the festivities can begin, a pair of Grapefruit League games stand in the way.
The Twins will face the Tampa Bay Rays in a two-day series to wrap up Spring Training on Monday, with the second game schedule for Tuesday afternoon at the same time.
Looking to make a mark in the Central Division after a forgettable 2011 campaign, all eyes in Minnesota are set squarely on first baseman Justin Morneau, who has battled injuries over the last few seasons. Morneau, viewed by many as the single biggest key to the Twins' success this year, appears to be healthy enough to flash the skills that made him an AL MVP winner a few years ago.
Here's a look at Minnesota's schedule to close out Spring Training 2012:
Monday, April 2nd: vs. Tampa Bay, Port Charlotte, FL - 1:05 pm ET
Tuesday, April 3rd: vs. Tampa Bay, Fort Myers, FL - 1:05 pm ET
With four unexpected names making the trip north with the Minnesota Twins in a few days, now is a good time to chronicle the circumstances that led to their rise. No roster decisions are made in a vacuum, especially on opening day, and these are no exception.
The Minnesota Twins are likely to have their bullpen situation figured out, though not in the way that they'd hoped. Right-hander Kyle Waldrop has been considered one of the options for a remaining bullpen spot, but had some competition in Anthony Swarzak. While the latter was favored, Waldrop played well in Spring Training and had started to make a case for himself. Unfortunately, Waldrop will now be sent to the 15-day disabled list, according to Rhett Bollinger's MLB Blog.
Twins general manager Terry Ryan confirmed to reporters in Dunedin that right-hander Kyle Waldrop will start the season on the Major League disabled list with a strained right elbow.
This means, for now, the Twins will have to move on without him, limiting Waldrop's chances to progress and make it back to the bullpen once the roar of the regular season gets going. Waldrop had posted a 1.50 earned run average in six Grapefruit League appearances, and isn't going to let the injury bring him down. In the piece, he notes that he just wants to come back healthy and keep at it.
Waldrop's injury isn't a serious one, but it's enough to make him unreliable on the mound. The Twins don't have enough time to rehab him and get a precise return date, so the 15-day disabled list does make sense.
The Joel Zumaya saga has ended with a whimper in Minnesota. As reported by the Star Tribune on Wednesday morning, the Minnesota Twins have officially released the injury plagued right hander after he tore his UCL, ending his season before it began.
The Twins could always re-sign him next season but for this year he was dead weight on the roster as spring training started to wind down. After being released during yet another long injury, Zumaya might just decide to call it quits on his career, a long and frustrating but potential filled career. It's an incredibly sad potential ending to the 27 year old right handers time in MLB, having not pitched in a major league game at this point since 2010.
Zumaya was set to make $850 thousand with the Twins in 2012.
Manship was fighting for a spot in the Twins bullpen but had a rough spring, sporting a 5.19 ERA. Benson was probably the most impressive of the bunch, hitting .262 and flashing raw talent at the plate and in the outfield, Twins manager Terry Ryan, via Bollinger:
"The guy's got probably as much talent and skills as we've got," Ryan said. "He can run, he's got power, he can throw, he can play left, center and right, he can steal a bag, all that stuff. Now it's just a matter of fine-tuning. I would say strike-zone discipline would be the major area, because if you'll crack his numbers, we need more contact out of him."
The Twins plan to use Pedro Florimon as either the starting second baseman or shortstop in Double-A New Britain. Minnesota needs to cut 11 more players to get down to a 25-man roster by Opening Day.
The Minnesota Twins have certainly had some bright spots during Grapefruit League play this spring in which the Twins are 13-12 heading into play on Monday.
Perhaps most impressive has been the pitching of Francisco Liriana. In five starts, Liriano has pitched 18 innings, surrendering just four runs on 10 hits. Matt Maloney has also pitched well out of the bullpen, allowing five hits and no runs in 11.1 innings of relief.
Michael Holliman has surprised some with his spring efforts, recording nine hits in 19 at-bats while trying to earn himself a spot on the team as a utility player. Luke Hughes leads the team with 15 hits and 13 RBI, while hitting .385. Hughes, a second basemen, played 96 games last season with the Twins, hitting .223 with a .636 OPS.
With the Minnesota Twins in a transitional period, the opportunity for change is in the air and non-roster players might get a longer look in spring training. Brian Dozier is among a group of five that may have the best chance.
With only two weeks remaining unti Opening Day, Minnesota Twins officials say no decision has been made yet about whether Justin Morneau will play designated hitter or first base, according to Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
"I hope he plays in the field more," general manager Terry Ryan told 1500 ESPN on Thursday. "We're trying to get his bat going. ... What we're trying to do is make sure he's got his offense under control. ...
"Groundballs and fielding isn't a problem with him. He's very accomplished on the defensive side. But we are trying to make sure we get his bat going."
Morneau is hitting just .091 so far in spring training for the Twins. In the past two seasons, Morneau has been plagued by concussions and post-concussion syndrome.
If Morneau does play DH for Minnesota, the Twins have plenty of options at first base, including Joe Mauer, who has started two Grapefruit League games at first.
Dumatrait, 30, posted a 3.92 ERA in 45 appearances with the Twins last year. He had a 6.00 ERA in six innings this spring, while Deduno had a 3.00 ERA in three innings this spring.
As for the position players: Lehman didn't have a hit and only had five at-bats in six appearance in the Grapefruit League, while Carson hit .077 in 11 games. Chang was hitting .273 in 11 games.
The Minnesota Twins put together their second round of Spring Training cuts, and Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka was among them. Nishioka was a huge name signing by the Twins originally paid $5.3 million just to negotiate for his rights back in 2011, but he broke his leg in April which sent his rookie year into a tailspin. He only hit .226/.278/.249 last season and wasn't doing much better this season in Spring Training.
Nishioka was optioned down to Rochester in AAA, where he will try to improve on his .240/.269/.320 line from spring training and his mediocre defense in the infield, another area he struggled in 2011.
The other cuts made by the team included Jason Bulger, Luis Perdomo, Daryl Thompson, Esmerling Vasquez, P.J. Walters, Chris Herrmann, Dan Rohlfing, Aaron Bates and Wilkin Ramirez. The Twins now have 45 players on the team as Spring Training starts to creep closer to an end.
There's been some changing of opinion on the healthy of Minnesota Twins pitcher Scott Baker over the last few days. Is he a sure thing for the disabled list, or not? It seems ... not.
The Minnesota Twins are deep in the thick of Spring Training. They're looking ahead to the 2012 season and hoping they can improve on last year's dismal performance. On Friday, some news broke that made it seem as though the Twinkies could be following a slightly tougher time to start the season than they would perhaps like.
Minnesota Twins right-hander Scott Baker downplayed the severity of his latest bout with elbow tendonitis on Friday, but there's a strong chance he could start the season on the 15-day disabled list.
Pitching coach Rick Anderson said Baker will throw two upcoming bullpen sessions -- one on Saturday and another on Monday -- and if all goes well, he could be reinserted into the spring rotation next Thursday, March 25.
But with Baker's first regular season start scheduled for April 9 at Target Field, time is running out.
Baker is set to be a key part of the Twins rotation this season. In 2011, he posted an 8-6 record and a 3.14 ERA.
The Minnesota Twins trimmed their 66-player clubhouse by nine Thursday, marking the first round of spring training cuts.
According to 1500ESPN.com, a handful of players were optioned to Triple-A. Among them were pitchers Deolis Guerra, Lester Oliveros, Scott Diamond and Tyler Robertson, as well as outfielder Darin Mastroianni.
According to 1500ESPN, Oliveros getting optioned to Triple-A was something of a surprise:
Oliveros was considered by some in the organization as a likely candidate to break camp on the 25-man roster. The Twins like his fastball velocity (mid-90's) and were hoping he'd show improved command this season. Oliveros pitched in three Grapefruit League games this month, allowing one earned run on four hits in three innings, striking out four and walking nobody.
It's time to speculate as to which players on the Twins' 40-man roster might be worthy of a contract extension.
After a stellar start to his spring training, Minnesota Twins pitcher returned to some bad habits in the third inning Thursday afternoon, surrendering four runs in an 8-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
In the past, Liriano has suffered from an inconsistent delivery and rushing on the mound when he gets into any trouble. After retiring the first six Blue Jays, including three strikeouts, Liriano lost his composure, allowing four hits and hitting a a batter in the third inning. Via The Pioneer Press:
In the third inning on Tuesday, March 13, though, "I started rushing like I always do," Liriano said.
"I can't get mad at myself like that," Liriano said.
Liriano submitted a very good 2010 season, winning 14 games to 10 losses and registering an ERA of 3.62 in 31 starts. Last season, however, Liriano walked 75 batters in 134 innings and recorded an ERA above five.
For all Spring Training stats, click here.
Jeff Manship is a recognizable name among Twins fans. So why is he unlikely to make the opening day roster?
Spring Training stats don't mean a whole lot for most, but for players in the midst of a battle to make the 25-man roster they can mean everything. The Twins currently don't have any positions really up for grabs in the regular starting lineup, but there are a few reserve roles.
Projected second baseman Alexi Cassila currently leads the team in batting average amongst players who have at least 10 at bats at .438. He is also second on the team with a .971 OPS. Another 2B is playing well in a limited role -- Michael Hollimon. Hollimon has four hits in six at bats, including a home run.
At 6-5 the pitchers have done a fine job, although pitching should always be a strength in the spring since hitters usually haven't faced live pitching all offseason. Carl Pavano is the only starter really struggling a little, allowing 1.67 batters to reach per inning, but all eyes are on the middle relief and set up roles after Joel Zumaya's injury has put him on the DL for the season.
Anthony Swarzak has seen limited action and has given up a run in 2.1 innings; Lester Oliveros has not been sharp, either. One potential fill-in for Zumaya is Alex Burnett, who has a 4.50 ERA in the early going and more walks than strikeouts. Glenn Perkins is the other set up guy for closer Matt Capps. Perkins has been the best so far, with six strikeouts in four shutout innings.
For all Spring Training stats, click here.
The Minnesota Twins have signed reliever Glen Perkins to a three-year contract extension, according to MLB.com.
The deal, which was finalized Thursday, is worth a guaranteed $10.3 million and runs through the 2015 season; the Twins have a club option for 2016.
According to the MLB.com report, Twins executive vice president and general manager Terry Ryan was effusive about the lefty:
We are very pleased to reach this agreement with Glen. He has been a reliable reliever for us and has helped stabilize the back end of our bullpen in the setup role. When we were looking for someone to step up last year, it was Glen who seized the opportunity and pitched the way we knew he could, after selecting him out of the University of Minnesota.
Perkins, who was selected 22nd overall in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, is coming off a career year. He had a 2.48 ERA in 65 appearances and struck out 65 batters in 61.2 innings.
For more on the Minnesota Twins, check out Twinkie Town. You can also head over to SB Nation’s main MLB hub at Baseball Nation.
Minnesota Twins left fielder Ben Revere can be a polarizing figure in some circles, but everyone can agree on one thing: his speed will play a major role in how his season (and career) will go.
The Minnesota Twins generally break camp with thirteen position players and twelve pitchers. The number of catchers and -- surprisingly -- the number of outfielders that go north will have a big affect on whether that tradition holds in 2012.
The Minnesota Twins picked up a solid win in their first Spring Training outing, or as solid a win you can pick up in Spring Training. On Saturday, they hosted the Tampa Bay Rays at Hammond Stadium, and walked out with a 7-3 win. Carl Pavano got the start, as will be the case on opening day, and the Twins would go on to use multiple pitchers throughout. Pavano didn't have a great outing, surrendering three hits and two runs, both earned in two innings of play. He also gave up a homerun.
But the Twins locked it up from there, with Brian Duensing pitching two innings while allowing just one hit, with a strikeout. Matt Capps pitched an inning, and then it was Glen Perkins, getting the win as the Twins had a strong sixth inning, in which Ryan Doumit doubled in a fly ball to left field, which was followed by Sean Burroughs and Matt Carson walking to fill the bases with none out.
Mike Hollimon singled on a ground ball, which sent Wilkin Ramirez home, Burroughs to third and Carson to second. Joe Benson scored Burroughs on a sacrifice fly, and the inning came to a close when Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Drew Butera grounded out. They'd add insurance runs in the seventh and eighth innings, with Nishioka hitting a triple in the eighth, and scored by Chris Herrmann.
Nothing huge, but solid play all-around by the Twins to pick up their first win of spring training. Albert Suarez was the losing pitcher for the Rays, with the aforementioned Glen Perkins picking up the win. They've got a split squad game against the Rays once again on Sunday, and then they'll play the Red Sox on Monday.
The Minnesota Twins can officially put last season behind them with the start of Spring Training on Saturday afternoon. Minnesota hosts the Tampa Rays with the first pitch scheduled for 12:05.
Grapefruit League spring training play begins in earnest Saturday afternoon in the Sunshine State of Florida. The Minnesota Twins open the spring season on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. EST against the Tampa Bay Rays at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.
On Sunday, the Twins will have to split up their roster for two games, sending half their team to Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte to face the Rays again at 1:05 p.m. EST, while the other half will go to JetBlue Park in Fort Myers to take on the Boston Red Sox.
Minnesota finished 63-99 last season, but are optimistic that, given a healthy Justin Morneau (who is close to 100-percent) and Joe Mauer, they can compete for a playoff spot--especially with another wild card added to the postseason.
Plouffe played 14 games in the outfield and at first base down the stretch of last season and, with the offseason acquistion of shortstop Jamey Carroll, Plouffe is expected to see most of his time in the outfield. Via 1500 ESPN Twin Cities:
"I feel like I'm OK with it," Plouffe said about the position change. "I want to help the team. If being in the outfield or moving around is best for the team, that's what I'm all about. Ultimately we want wins. We don't want to experience anything like last year ever again. That's what it's about here."
Asked if he feels like he has unfinished business at shortstop, Plouffe said he feels "kind of at home now in the outfield, moving around."
Plouffe was called up from Triple-A permanently last season after catching fire at the plate. Last season with the Twins, hit .238/.305/.392 with eight home runs in 320 plate appearances.
It's not exactly news of the surprising sort, but the Joel Zumaya era is off to a familiar start. The newly-acquired reliever for the Minnesota Twins suffered an apparent elbow injury on Saturday as he faced batters for the first time in Spring Training.
Zumaya was scheduled for a practice session to face live batters for the first time in a Twins uniform, but after about 15 pitches against Drew Butera, he walked off the mound with head trainer Rick McWane. It's not guaranteed that it's an elbow injury or anything serious, but the Star Tribune reports that things could shake out that way.
Zumaya appeared frustrated in the clubhouse and declined to speak with reporters. Zumaya has had two surgeries on his elbow since fracturing it during a game at Target Field in 2010.
Zumaya's had a terrible history with arm injuries, but the weirdest had to be the much-talked about Guitar Hero incident a few seasons ago. Hopefully Saturday's injury won't be as bad.
Nishioka struggled to adjust to the position last season when he had ten errors in 60 games at shortstop so as the Twins prepare for the 2012 season, manager Ron Gardenhire is keeping his infield options open which and according to reports from camp on Friday, isn't opposed to trying Nishioka at third base.
Gardenhire doesn't want Nishioka to get discouraged but also wants to make sure the infielder keeps an open mind about the ways he can help the team win.
'I have to talk to Nishi about those things,'' Gardenhire said. ''I just want him to get going here in camp right now. As I said about Nishi, the year started off crazy for him, coming here for the first time, he was learning all kinds of things, a lot was thrown at him, he got hurt, which really set him back, and then he was hurt at the end of the year.
''He understands a lot more now about what we do and what we're trying to do; let's give him a chance to get back out there and play some baseball, and I told him that again today -- 'You're a really good baseball player. You can play.'''
After a brutally honest media session Friday morning in which Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau talked about the possibility of retirement if his concussion symptoms linger, Ron Gardenhire told reporters he's not worried about Morneau. Via 1500 ESPN:
Gardenhire added, "It would be silly for you to think he wouldn't be concerned about a concussion when he's had to deal with this for a year and a half. That would be kind of silly. I'm not worried about it."
"When he walked out on the field today, that's all I needed to see, to see he was out there with everybody else doing the drills," Gardenhire said. "That tells me he's ready to go. ...
Morneau, the 2006 AL MVP, has been dogged by injuries the past two seasons, playing in just 150 of a possible 324 games. The nine-year veteran and four-time All-Star has a career batting average of .283. In his 2006 MVP season, Morneau hit .321 with 34 homeruns and 130 RBI.
Justin Morneau hinted Friday at the possibility of retirement if he's unable to overcome the concussion symptoms that have plagued the Minnesota Twins first baseman the past few seasons.
Good news has emerged for 27 year old Minnesota Twins infielder Luke Hughes. After he sprained his shoulder in the Australian Winter League in early February, he received a report on Wednesday during spring training that an MRI had come up showing no structural damage to the shoulder. Still, he has been doing only groundball practice so far for the Twins, no hitting or throwing.
With Hughes being completely out of minor league options, this is a big spring training for him as he looks to try and make the team for good.
In 2011 he ended up with 317 plate appearances after a call-up to the big league club in April, hitting a mediocre .223/.289/.338 alongside seven dingers. Any serious damage in the shoulder along with those numbers would have been bad news for Hughes in Fort Meyers as he looks to get the call to the big leagues for a full season.
General manager Terry Ryan said there are no restrictions on Span, who suffered a concussion last June and has been experiencing symptoms from Vestibular Neuritis -- including fuzziness, spaciness and headaches -- since 2009. A doctor similarly told Span his concussion is a thing of the past. But the 27-year old noted that he has good days and bad days. (via 1500 ESPN)
Span called any lingering symptoms he might encounter, "manageable," and added, "Some days are better than others. But I have been smart about it. I know my body and its nowhere near where it was last year." ...
"I've been feeling good, man," Span said. "A lot of it is me being happy to be here, turning the page from last year and seeing everyone's faces. Turn the page this offseason. ...
"As far as I know, I'm here. I showed up today ready go." ...
Span said he expects to be on the field every day, but "I imagine that it would be day-to-day. ...
"I told (head athletic trainer) Rick (McWane) that if don't feel good a certain day or wake up not feeling good I'd go to him and tell him how I'm feeling. Today when I got here he just asked me what I want to do and I said I'm going to go out there and I'm feeling good. Everything we're doing is light anyway, so each day I kind of report to him and see how I feel."
Span hit .264 in 70 games last season with two homers and 16 RBI, but struggled after returning to the lineup following the concussion in August and September.
Justin Morneau hasn't been the most durable hitter in the Minnesota Twins lineup over the past couple of seasons, but the former AL MVP should be good to go this season. The first baseman suffered with concussion symptoms to go along with neck, wrist and knee surgery last year, but is apparently in good health for the start of Spring Training.
Morneau is scheduled to arrive in Fort Myers later this week and, according to general manager Terry Ryan, he should be cleared to practice as soon as he gets to Florida
."From everything I gather, he's looks like he's doing OK," Ryan said Sunday. "He's starting to swing the bat and all that stuff."
"We'll get clearance. But we have to have Justin sign off on it, too, so we can't do anything till he shows up. There's no reason think this is anything other than just paperwork, but we can't do anything until Justin Morneau signs off."
All of that news sounds swell. Hopefully his offseason went as well as it was supposed to go and Morneau's able to spend the majority of the season in the batter's box instead of the dugout.
The Minnesota Twins will begin Spring Training on March 3 in the Grapefruit League before the regular season opens against the Orioles on April 6th.
The Minnesota Twins announced that they will have 25 extra players that aren't currently on the roster in training camp when Spring Training opens up in Fort Meyers, Fla., next month. There aren't a lot of big name prospects, but the most familiar faces are probably going to be the special instructors in Florida to help out.
Twins announced Eddie Guardado, Tom Kelly, Tony Oliva, Paul Molitor, Rod Carew, Jim Kaat and Terry Steinbach will all be in Fort Meyers when training camp kicks off on Feb. 18 to help coach the following prospects:
There will be 10 non-roster pitchers, including left-hander Phil Dumatrait, who split the 2011 season between Minnesota and Triple-A Rochester. Other pitchers include Jason Bulger, Jared Burton, Samuel Deduno, Casey Fien, Luis Perdomo, Daryl Thompson, P.J. Walters and Brendan Wise.
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