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Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/23/2021 8:35:44 AM   
TJSweens


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Spring training is here and hope springs eternal,....well, for a week or two anyway.

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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/23/2021 9:19:42 AM   
Mr. Ed


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Andrew Romine in on a minor league deal. Has a real shot at making the team, despite the fact he can't hit.

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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/23/2021 11:20:22 AM   
TJSweens


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Matt Shoemaker is latest patient for Twins' spin-rate doctor

The veteran righthander has used a split-finger fastball to great success at times during his career.

By Phil Miller Star Tribune FEBRUARY 22, 2021 — 5:40PM

FORT MYERS, FLA. – Having watched him create a shutdown bullpen out of matchsticks and Legos, having seen him unearth Cy Young potential in Kenta Maeda's right arm, it seems plausible that the Twins signed Matt Shoemaker this spring just to throw another quadratic-equation-shaped challenge at their Pitch Mechanic, Wes Johnson.

Basically, let's see if the spin-rate doctor can improve a pitch that has already fooled batters for two decades.

"I've heard only great things," Shoemaker said upon arriving in the Twins' spring laboratory on Monday, "which is why I'm so excited to be here."

The Twins are excited, too, given that the 34-year-old righthander goes through extended periods of, say, Walker Buehler-dom, where his split-finger fastball dives sharply into the dirt and lifts Shoemaker into baseball's upper class. That those thrilling interludes have been juxtaposed with an unusual length of time wearing hospital gowns is a problem perhaps out of Johnson's control.

But the splitter? It's already broken in and well-worn.

"The reason why I've been able to get a good grasp on it [is], I started throwing it when I was 14," Shoemaker said of the pitch the Twins expect will put him on the mound every fifth day this season. "I never had a great changeup, and so my dad and some other coaches, we were just messing around with grips, and that's how it started. You start messing with the grip, release points, seeing what the ball actually does, movement. Your body matures. You get stronger. And everything from that that point is [why it's] where it is today."

So where is it? Right where batters can't reach it. Shoemaker jammed the baseball between his index and middle fingers 145 times last season, or one-third of all the pitches he threw, and let it go with the same effort as his fastball. It traveled roughly 85 mph, according to MLB's Statcast, or 7 mph slower than his hard stuff, and spun about half as fast. The result: a diving action as it reached the plate, and often a lunging swing by a helpless hitter.

Fourteen-year-old Matt Shoemaker would have been amazed.

"It just kept evolving, with a further split, more depth on the ball," he said. "It's got a sharper break now. I can manipulate it certain ways depending on the situation, hitter, whatever it is."

Thus manipulated, batters swung and missed the pitch 34 percent of the time last season, and when they managed to make contact, they batted .143. That struck the Twins as well worth a $2 million gamble on a one-year contract; the potential for hitting a jackpot seems real.

"He definitely can manipulate the ball. He makes the ball move in ways that you're not really used to seeing," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said Monday after watching Shoemaker's first 40 bullpen pitches as a Twin. "There are a lot of guys with really good stuff, but when you bring something a little bit different, delivery and arm-action — you bend that ball in a pretty unique way, you're going to be OK."

OK is good enough for a fifth starter, which the Twins see as Shoemaker's floor. But this is a pitcher who posted a 3.04 ERA and won 16 games as a rookie in 2014, a guy who allowed just five earned runs in his first five starts for Toronto in 2019 before tearing a knee ligament during a rundown, ending his season. This is a veteran who could outpitch his contract.

Enter Johnson, the Twins' pitching coach, who already has some ideas for tinkering with his new project.

"I think this guy is primed and ready to have a good year. He's got good stuff and he throws strikes," Johnson said. Shoemaker posted a below-average 4.71 ERA last season, but Johnson noted that five of his six starts came against playoff teams, four of them against division champs Tampa Bay and Atlanta. "This guy knows how to get good hitters out. We're excited."

Yes, everyone is excited in February, before the freak accidents happen, before Shoemaker stumbles executing a rundown, or a nerve in his elbow becomes compressed, or he gets hit in the head by a line drive.

"It's frustrating, to say the least," of his five-year run of odd injuries. "I've had maybe three" that had little to do with pitching, he said, "and three of those, freak things, [now] we're done. [I'm] healthy, ready to go, and hopefully they never happen again."


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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/23/2021 11:41:18 AM   
Mr. Ed


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areas are marked in the berm in FLA for watching

So

Bizarre

https://twitter.com/LaVelleNeal/status/1364253725418795010/photo/1

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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/23/2021 11:46:19 AM   
Mr. Ed


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https://twitter.com/morsecode/status/1364237770428981248



https://twitter.com/MillerStrib/status/1364244067647975426/photo/1

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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/23/2021 1:53:28 PM   
twinsfan


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https://www.mlb.com/twins/news/twins-2021-opening-day-roster-predictions

MLB.com predicting Astudillo makes the opening day roster.

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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/23/2021 2:00:39 PM   
TJSweens


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quote:

ORIGINAL: twinsfan

https://www.mlb.com/twins/news/twins-2021-opening-day-roster-predictions

MLB.com predicting Astudillo makes the opening day roster.

I don't see it. Arraez and Astudillo is a terrible defensive utility combination.

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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/23/2021 3:27:13 PM   
Mr. Ed


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quote:

ORIGINAL: TJSweens

quote:

ORIGINAL: twinsfan

https://www.mlb.com/twins/news/twins-2021-opening-day-roster-predictions

MLB.com predicting Astudillo makes the opening day roster.

I don't see it. Arraez and Astudillo is a terrible defensive utility combination.



Absolutely.

Romine has a very good shot at making it.

Maybe Blankenhorn. Maybe Nick Gordon

Lewis has zero chance.

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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/23/2021 3:42:57 PM   
TJSweens


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mr. Ed

quote:

ORIGINAL: TJSweens

quote:

ORIGINAL: twinsfan

https://www.mlb.com/twins/news/twins-2021-opening-day-roster-predictions

MLB.com predicting Astudillo makes the opening day roster.

I don't see it. Arraez and Astudillo is a terrible defensive utility combination.



Absolutely.

Romine has a very good shot at making it.

Maybe Blankenhorn. Maybe Nick Gordon

Lewis has zero chance.

I think they have Lewis in that category of playing every day at AAA being preferable to a bench role here. I wouldn't be surprised if Gordon finally gets a shot. He can banjo hit every bit as good as Turtle is a better fielder.

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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/23/2021 3:53:59 PM   
Trekgeekscott


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quote:

ORIGINAL: TJSweens

quote:

ORIGINAL: Mr. Ed

quote:

ORIGINAL: TJSweens

quote:

ORIGINAL: twinsfan

https://www.mlb.com/twins/news/twins-2021-opening-day-roster-predictions

MLB.com predicting Astudillo makes the opening day roster.

I don't see it. Arraez and Astudillo is a terrible defensive utility combination.



Absolutely.

Romine has a very good shot at making it.

Maybe Blankenhorn. Maybe Nick Gordon

Lewis has zero chance.

I think they have Lewis in that category of playing every day at AAA being preferable to a bench role here. I wouldn't be surprised if Gordon finally gets a shot. He can banjo hit every bit as good as Turtle is a better fielder.


Lewis playing everyday would be better, but that wouldn't necessarily be their reason. More likely it comes down to service time.

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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/23/2021 4:02:01 PM   
Mr. Ed


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Trekgeekscott

quote:

ORIGINAL: TJSweens

quote:

ORIGINAL: Mr. Ed

quote:

ORIGINAL: TJSweens

quote:

ORIGINAL: twinsfan

https://www.mlb.com/twins/news/twins-2021-opening-day-roster-predictions

MLB.com predicting Astudillo makes the opening day roster.

I don't see it. Arraez and Astudillo is a terrible defensive utility combination.



Absolutely.

Romine has a very good shot at making it.

Maybe Blankenhorn. Maybe Nick Gordon

Lewis has zero chance.

I think they have Lewis in that category of playing every day at AAA being preferable to a bench role here. I wouldn't be surprised if Gordon finally gets a shot. He can banjo hit every bit as good as Turtle is a better fielder.


Lewis playing everyday would be better, but that wouldn't necessarily be their reason. More likely it comes down to service time.


Nerd theory is that Simmons is going to be the mentor for Lewis, who takes over at SS in 2022.

Would not mind Gordon getting an opp. Turtle should not be on the Twins roster. Period.

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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/23/2021 4:05:26 PM   
Mr. Ed


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http://twinsdaily.com/_/minnesota-twins-news/minnesota-twins/the-twins-should-make-alex-kirilloff-the-opening-day-left-fielder-r10402


Alex Kirilloff is 23 years old. He’s not a phenom who threatens to hit free agency at 27 and cash in beyond the Twins’ means. If he has a good spring training, he should be on the Opening Day roster.

Wait a minute

Top Prospect ISN'T a phenom?

HERESY!

but yes, he needs to be the starting LF

23 is not old, but he and lewis and others rot too long in the minors.
Jeffers is a prime example of what happens when the right guy gets an opportunity.

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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/23/2021 8:15:13 PM   
twinsfan


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Keeping Kirilloff in the minors for 15 games is the right decision.

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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/24/2021 9:16:51 AM   
TJSweens


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Donaldson talks about calf issues

Reinventing his wheels: Twins' Josh Donaldson works on efficient running style to minimize calf injuries

Twins' Donaldson devises efficient running style to minimize calf injuries


By Phil Miller Star Tribune FEBRUARY 24, 2021 — 12:20AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Anyone who has ever heard Josh Donaldson break down every last detail of his swing mechanics — from balance profile to head tilt to stride phase — knows how much he must relish solving the conundrum of his injury-prone calves.

Basically, the Twins third baseman intends to develop a better way to run.

"I've really used my foot and calf as kind of the gas for me to go. [Now I'll] really focus on trying to get more hip drive, using my hips to accelerate through the movements, to where it can take pressure off my calves," Donaldson said with the air of a physiology professor. "At the same time, it's difficult. … I've fallen into some bad patterns from prior injuries."

The Twins had their first full-squad workout Tuesday at the CenturyLink Sports Complex, with 71 of the 75 players present. Three players, including new shortstop Andrelton Simmons, have visa issues; lefthanded starter J.A. Happ is in COVID-19 protocols.

As players begin the five-plus week process of getting ready for the April 1 opener in Milwaukee, keen attention will be paid to Donaldson's regimen.

Having his first season with the Twins mangled by injury and limited to only 28 games, just two seasons after a similar injury benched him for three months, then finding himself sidelined for the team's brief postseason bothered the Twins' highest-paid player.

"It was tough to watch the guys. That's the first playoffs I've ever missed," Donaldson said, so he spent a solid month after it ended attacking the problem. He worked to restore the strength in his legs, while making sure to protect his mobility. He made sure the calves healed properly, and tested those new running mechanics.

He comes to his second Twins camp completely healthy again, but is wary of declaring himself healed.

"I wish I was a robot and I wish I could be 100 percent and tell you that I'm great," he said with a shrug. "But it's a sport, and a pretty fast sport. And sometimes things happen."

One way to make them happen less often might be to play him less often, or so manager Rocco Baldelli is believed to be contemplating. Baldelli is a believer that quality beats quantity, that a healthy player five times a week is more valuable than a hobbled one playing every day.

Even as Baldelli admired the shape and agility of his team's second-oldest player (behind 40-year-old Nelson Cruz) — "Josh looks great," Baldelli said of the team's defensive drills, "he makes challenging plays look easy" — he admitted he's discussed some options for keeping the 35-year-old healthy.

"We definitely have some very good ideas that will help," Baldelli said. "Josh is on board with everything that we're talking about."

Donaldson agreed, and said simply having a six-month season, rather than a nine-week drag race, will help. With only 60 games last year, each game was more important "so we were trying to push it." This year, he intends "to kind of build into getting game-ready," Donaldson said. "Your body has to get acclimated to it."

One thing he hasn't had to get acclimated to is fatherhood. Aubrey Neal was born in November to his partner Briana, "and it's been such a blessing for both of us." Hard to worry about a sore calf, after all, when your three-month-old "is going through some teething things right now," he said.

And if his home life and his baseball life are changing, his goal hasn't. Donaldson said he still sees greatness within reach of his team, even as they are just arriving in camp.

"Everybody is exuberant about being here. Everybody sees the potential we have as a ballclub," he said. "I mean, I feel great about the team. I believe in [pitching coach] Wes [Johnson], I believe in Rocco, and I believe in our front office."

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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/24/2021 9:42:14 AM   
Phil Riewer


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Bad News:

Star Tribune Sports Retweeted
Phil Miller
@MillerStrib
·
1m
Top prospect SS Royce Lewis needs knee reconstruction surgery on his right ACL, Twins announce.

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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/24/2021 9:51:18 AM   
TJSweens


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We just can't have nice things.

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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/24/2021 9:52:58 AM   
bstinger


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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/24/2021 9:53:03 AM   
Mr. Ed


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That sucks

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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/24/2021 12:14:06 PM   
Mr. Ed


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Lewis Thorpe got a big round of high fives after his live BP session.

No solid contact off him, and the stadium gun had his fastball consistently at 92-93, a good sign considering it was down to an average of 89.7 last year.


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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/24/2021 12:14:32 PM   
Mr. Ed


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The remainder of Twins spring training tickets sold out in 30 minutes today. Spring training season ticket holders had priority until today, when the rest were released to the general public.

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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/24/2021 12:16:07 PM   
Mr. Ed


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@dohyoungpark
On a related note: Andrelton Simmons still isn't in camp due to his visa issues. So I believe it's JT Riddle who has been taking infield reps at shortstop with the starters yesterday and today.


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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/24/2021 12:16:52 PM   
Mr. Ed


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It's obviously "best shape of his life" szn, but I'm not the only one up here who thinks Byron Buxton is looking seriously built.

We didn't recognize him on the basepaths at first because he's really filled out his upper half with muscle and doesn't look skinny anymore.


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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/24/2021 12:18:39 PM   
Mr. Ed


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Phil Riewer

Bad News:

Star Tribune Sports Retweeted
Phil Miller
@MillerStrib
·
1m
Top prospect SS Royce Lewis needs knee reconstruction surgery on his right ACL, Twins announce.



Lewis said he'd been feeling some soreness while doing offseason drills, and then he slipped on some ice during the recent storms in Texas to exacerbate it. Falvey said it's hard to know where specifically the issue started.

Falvey says there wasn't significant pain for Royce, who thought it was just a bruise or a tweak before they saw the MRI.


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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/24/2021 12:55:16 PM   
bstinger


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Why does it seem we always have guys with Visa issues. Is it common around the league and I just don't hear about it, or are our guys the only ones who can't navigate the system?

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RE: Twins 2021 Spring Training - 2/24/2021 1:51:25 PM   
ronhextall


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Should do Tommy John on Lewis while they are at it. Seems to happen to all the Twins.
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