Results tagged ‘ Fort Myers ’

Spring Training 2011: On The Fringe

With the Twins now in Fort Myers, FL, for Spring Training, they’ve been getting more media attention than usual due to issues like Morneau’s concussion comeback, Nathan’s Tommy John rehab, and the new Japanese SS whose name I’m too lazy to look up for spelling (probably should get on that).

However, there are three other areas I would like to comment on that perhaps slip our minds in the midst of the “bit stories”:

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1. Alexi Casilla has never been an everyday player for a full season.  Whenever he’s been given the opportunity to start, he’s droppped the ball (sometimes even in the literal sense).  Considering Gardy’s love of guys like Matt “The Next Punto?” Tobert or the newcomer Luke Hughes, Casilla still has a lot to prove and will not be handed the job by any means.

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2. Can “Valencia Mania” continue? A favorite example of mine of this case comes from 2000, when the Mets had an outfielder named Timo Perez (heck, he might be bouncing around somewhere yet) who, in August-September that year, looked like the next coming of Junior Griffey.  He then made a few World Series blunders, pitchers figured him out, and he’s been a fringe player since.  Pitchers now have a similar “book” on young Danny-Boy, so those fat pitches will be fewer and farther between.

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3. Besides a summer (June-July) that was out of control, Delmon Young was very average at the beginning and end of 2010.  What if that “Beast Mode” doesn’t occur again in ’11, or for nearly as long?  He’s always been a streaky hitter.

Keep an eye on these issues, as they could be every bit as important as “the big boys”.

Jose Morales

Morales.jpgThe last time Twins fans (besides those in Fort Myers this spring) saw Jose Morales, it was in the picture above.  Thought to be a capable back-up to Joe Mauer while coming up through the minor leagues, Morales was finally given an opportunity at the big leagues on September 8, 2007, when he started a game against the Chicago White Sox.  After going 3-3, Morales injured his ankle, left the game, ended up on the 60-day disabled list, and wasn’t heard from again until just recently, where he has been battling with Drew Butera to fill in for Mauer until Jo-Mo is ready to resume his everyday duties (whenever that may be).

Though the knock on the offensively-powered Morales has been his sloppy defense (Butera is the exact opposite, by contrast), he was chosen yesterday over Drew as the Twins’ second catcher pairing with Mike Redmond until Mauer gets his back healthy.

I don’t recall watching Morales in that late-2007 contest, so the first time he steps on the field in 2009 will be the first time I have ever seen him in action.  My guess is that he will catch whoever starts third (probably Kevin Slowey) for the Twins after two days of Redmond.

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