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Good News on the Injury Front

By Travis Hines

The Twins had a great day Wednesday. Not only did they beat former Twin Carlos 'Big Chief' Silva (not that it's that big of accomplishment these days), but they also got positive news on the injury front as well. Mike Redmond, Scott Baker, and Joe Mauer all gave the Twins – and their fans – something to smile about on Hump Day.

Redmond's groin pull provided a real scare to the organization. I shiver to think of two weeks with Jose Morales and Drew Butera behind the plate. I think Morales will make for a nice caddy for Mauer in the coming years, but Butera? Please. This is a guy who hit .215/.303/.324 over nearly 1300 minor league at-bats. I understand that he can flash some leather, but those numbers scream career minor leaguer as a ceiling. But we will all be spared, apparently, from watching him hack away in the Bigs for now with it looking like naked guy's groin pull isn't going to force him to the disabled list. Which means I get to keep my sanity for the time being. Yay.

I'm about as high on Baker as anyone, and I cannot wait to see him get back to the team. He pitched a bullpen session Wednesday and remains on track to pitch for High-A Fort Myers on Friday. I really believe that Baker can emerge this season as a top-20 pitcher. He has the stuff, the mindset, and defense behind him to be a real force in the AL Central. I really hope Baker can stay healthy for the remainder of the season because a rotation featuring Francisco Liriano, Kevin Slowey, and Baker at the top has to be respected and considered as the best in the division.

Mauer took batting practice for the first time since going on the DL on Wednesday and also caught Baker's bullpen session. Quite a productive day for the All-Star backstop. The catch is that Mauer hasn't begun running yet, and that will be the real indicator of just how healthy he is. While I really think the 'soft' and 'injury prone' labels often given to Mauer are simply wrong, I do think it's obvious he just isn't a quick healer. I think that may be about the only thing the guy doesn't do well. And I can't hit a slider low and away, so I'll give him a break. The Twins cannot, however, win this division without getting 450 plate appearances from Mauer. I can really see his rehab sliding into next month, which could leave the team in a not-so-pretty spot in the standings. If they can tread water until he returns, they'll be in a fine position to be playing meaningful games in September.

I know it's only been three days of baseball, but I'm really liking the Twins' chances of taking the division this year. All offseason I was pretty down on our chances mainly because I thought standing pat with the bullpen (aside from the Luis Ayala signing – exciting!) was a mistake, but looking around the division I think they could have enough to get it done. Cleveland and Detroit's pitching are suspect. The White Sox are old. And the Royals, well, are the Royals. Again, it's only been three days and the team already has some serious injury concerns, but whatever. It's a lot more fun to be positive.

4 comments:

  1. RAWRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

    HINES IS A GAYLORD

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice article, my man. Good stuff, keep it up.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sweet dude, are you gonna be famous

    ReplyDelete
  4. I taught you how to write. Get luckier.

    ReplyDelete