Tagged: Boof Bonser

Yeah, He’ll Do That

  • Jim Thome hits 550th career home run

jim_thome2.jpgJim Thome is my least favorite player in the league.  Oh, it’s nothing personal.  He seems like a nice enough guy and everything.  He doesn’t show up opposing pitchers when circling the bases and rarely badmouths anyone (opponents or teammates) in the press.  He’s the type of guy who is quietly very good at his job, and I respect that.  But whenever he’s at the plate, Jim Thome is my least favorite player in the league.  He absolutely murders Twins’ pitching, but besides that, every good thing he does just helps the hated White Sox.  His 27 career home runs at the Metrodome are second only to Ken Griffey jr.’s 28 for the most hit by any opposing player, and with nine games remaining against the Sox at the Dome, it’s likely he’ll surpass Griffey sometime this year.  And (of course) it was he who killed our playoff hopes last year.  Really, the nicest thing I can say about him is that this might be his last season in a Sox uniform.

As much as I might hate Jim Thome, I can’t help but be kind of happy when he reaches another career milestone.  I am a baseball fan after all, and it is a bit thrilling to watch a guy put together a Hall-of-Fame career in my lifetime, even if it helps out the enemy in the process.  I’m just a lot happier when he does these things against someone else (like Dustin Moseley and Santiago Casilla).  And while I certainly wasn’t rooting for (God forbid) the Pale Hosers to win the World Series last year, I would’ve been secretly kind of happy if Thome got a ring.  With the almost-Ruthian numbers he’s put up in his career, I can think of few players in the league who deserve it more, and the distinct possibility that he won’t ever get one makes me a little sad.  I just want him to win it all with someone other than the White Sox.

  • Otherwise…

Pat Neshek and Boof Bonser are both doing well in rehab.  Bonser is actually ahead of schedule and might even be back with the team by September.  Boof wasn’t great as a reliever last season, posting a 5.88 ERA and 1.577 WHIP, but his very good 3.44 K/BB ratio and 9.5 K/9 rate suggests it might just be an issue of acclimating himself to his new role in the bullpen.  Of course, all of that is in question now that he’s had shoulder surgery and time will tell if he ends up more like Joe Nathan or Jesse Crain.  Neshek has begun playing catch from 60 feet, but won’t start throwing off the mound until the fall and isn’t expected to return to the team before next year.

You might’ve missed it, since it’s not like the story is getting much media coverage or anything, but the Yankees apparently have some sort of errorless streak going.  Obviously, this doesn’t necessarily mean they have the best defense in the league (they don’t), but it is a vast improvement over what they had last year.

Despite missing the first month of the season, Joe Mauer is currently leading AL catchers in All-Star voting.  I guess putting up historic numbers in your first month back from the DL will do that.

Howard Sinker asks “When did you become a fan?”.  I’ve already kind of answered that question, but I’ve pretty much been a Twins fan as long as I can remember (because the ’87 World Series is about as far back as I can remember).

Many Men Manage to Mash uh, Manageably

  • Twins score 16 runs against Rays

Thumbnail image for morny_homer.jpgJustin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer, and Jason Kubel all belted homers off of Rays’ starter Scott Shields en route to a 16-2 rout of Tampa Bay.  Denard Span, who has been struggling all spring, went 2-for-4 with a pair of hits and a pair of walks.  Even Nick Punto had a couple of hits and an RBI.  Punto has been hitting .435/.500/.652 this spring, and though I doubt he’s going to continue to be so productive during the regular season, I am hoping that this is a sign that his worst years are behind him.  I would be perfectly happy if he put up similar numbers to last year.

Scott Baker had his best outing of the spring, allowing two earned runs on five hits in five innings (one of which was a solo homer to Carl Crawford).  He recorded two strikeouts but only one walk, so it appears as though he had better command of his pitches.  Matt Guerrier bounced back from his awful appearance against the Red Sox in which he gave up two two-run homers, and pitched a scoreless frame.  Brian Duensing and Craig Breslow were also effective in shutting down the Rays.

  • No Surprises Here

pridie.jpgThere were five more players cut from the 25-man roster this morning, none of which were terribly surprising.  Jason Pridie was optioned to AAA Rochester, as there is no room on the roster for yet another outfielder.  Non-roster invitees Sean Henn, Bobby Keppel, Brock Peterson, and David Winfree were all reassigned to minor league camp.  Jose Mijares has survived the cuts so far, but i suspect this is because the Twins want him to continue working with pitching coach Rick Anderson some more before optioning him to AAA.  I would be extremely surprised if he actually made the team, considering the way he’s been pitching as of late. 

Boof Bonser and Joe Mauer will be placed on the DL, which would make room for two additional roster spots.  Whether or not the Twins will decide to carry extra pitchers or extra bench riders remains to be seen.  Right now, though, it looks like catcher Drew Butera, infielders Brendan Harris and Brian Buscher, and relief pitchers Philip Humber and R. A. Dickey are the top candidates to win the final roster spots.

Speaking of Mauer, the change in his medication appears to be working and he is able to run without pain.  It is now a matter of getting back into game shape, so it’s not likely that he’ll be on the DL for very long.  By the way, that same article has a nice story about former Yankee catcher Johnny Blanchard, who sadly passed away from a heart attack on Wednesday.

  • North Dakota is experiencing record flooding

sandbagging.jpgAbout a third of the residents of the Fargo-Moorhead area have been asked to evacuate their homes today due to the record flooding.  The President has already declared a State of Emergency for seven nearby counties, and the National Guard has already been deployed to help out with the relief efforts.  The river is expected to crest sometime tomorrow (the National Weather service now expects the flood waters to crest on Sunday), at about 43 feet.  This is higher than the record of 40 ft. set in 1897 and considerably higher than the 39.5 ft. in the recent 1997 flood, which caused some $3.5 billion in damages.  Let us please act like civilized humans for once and not let this turn into another Hurricane Katrina.

If you would like to help out the victims of the Red River flood, go here.

(image courtesy BBC News)

Sometimes it’s good to be a fan of a small-market team

alex-rodriguez-estates-a-rod.jpg
The uproar over Alex Rodriguez and his bum hip has made me realize how nice it is to cheer for a team nobody cares about.  Joe Mauer, Joe Nathan, and Boof Bonser have all had their share of ailments so far (some of them devastating), and yet the mainstream media has barely even noticed.  While ESPN has been covering the A-Rod drama nearly 24/7 and obsessing over what Brian Cashman needs to do to ensure that the Yankees make the playoffs, we here in Twins Territory have had to keep up with the progress of our injured players through the local papers (both of them).  The injuries to all of these players, like the injury to A-Rod, could potentially cost the Twins the season.  But at least I don’t have to hear about it.

There is one other benefit to having little media coverage of your team:  nobody cares if they lose.  It’s true; the Twins could go on a 20-game losing streak (God forbid) and ESPN would barely even mention it.  Could you imagine what it would be like if that were the Yankees or the Red Sox?  tWWL would be in full-on panic mode, with all of their analysts talking nonstop about what kind of fire sale the team needs to have.  They would spend hours agonizing over what went wrong, and calling for the firing of everyone in the front office.  In some ways I kind of felt bad for Yankee fans last year.  Every time I turned on the television, I had to hear about how they weren’t going to make the playoffs and that they were a laughingstock because they spent so much money to finish in third place.  I can’t imagine Yankee fans really enjoyed having that thrown up in their faces all the time.      

Oh, sometimes it can be difficult to be a Twins fan.  You often have to watch your favorite players walk away once they become too expensive.  But when you realize that Torii Hunter is getting paid $90 million to hit about 25 homers a season for the Angels, you appreciate the $7.2 million Jason Kubel even more.  After awhile you tend to think of your favorite players as your children.  It’s fun to watch them come up through the system and develop into well-rounded individuals, but eventually they have to grow up and leave the nest.  You wish them well, but you know that it’s in the best interests of everyone involved if you just let them go.

Besides, you always have more babies at home to worry about.

mp_main_wide_CarlosGomez452.jpgI am not trying to disparage large-market teams in any way.  Nor do I think the fans of such franchises should abandon their beloved teams and become Twins fans (though that would be nice.  The Twins could always use more fans).  I just don’t really want the Twins to ever have the sort of media coverage those other teams endure.  I realize that the sort of unlimited financial resources these franchises enjoy comes from overexposure by the mainstream media, and I admit that sometimes I wish the Twins had that kind of money.  Still, I don’t think I could take it if I had to hear about my teams’ shortcomings every time I turn on the friggin’ television.  Obviously I don’t need any help getting all worked up over nothing. 

  • Twins shutout Reds 3-0

Perk.jpgThis game wasn’t all that interesting, either, except for the fact that Glen Perkins has been pitching well.  I realize that it’s only spring training, but this is still good news.  Perk was very inconsistent last year, to say the least, with September being his worst month by far.  He didn’t make it past the fifth inning in any of his starts and was having trouble locating his pitches.  Considering that he is projected to be the fourth starter (Blackburn has knee issues and the Twins want to take a conservative approach), he’ll have to start pitching more like he did in August.

And Jason Kubel had an RBI single, extending the good spring he’s been having so far.

  • Joe Nathan Aching Shoulder Watch:

Nathan threw a full bullpen session the other day and reportedly feels fine, so I’m calling off the watch for now.  He even said it himself:   “I haven’t felt this good in four years”, whatever that means.  Also, Nick Blackburn’s sore knee apparently isn’t bothering him anymore.  The starting rotation doesn’t have much depth so this is obviously very good news.  While Philip Humber or R. A. Dickey could potentially fill out a spot if necessary, whether or not they could do so competently is another matter.  Anthony Swarzak and Rob Delaney look like very promising prospects, but the organization feels like they need more seasoning in the minors.  The same could be said about Jason Jones (who will probably end up being a reliever, anyway).  While I initially thought the Twins could probably get away with an eleven-man pitching staff, maybe there’s a need to carry twelve pitchers after alll.

Oooooh, I almost forgot.  Our old friend Dennys Reyes, aka the Big Sweat, has signed with the Cardinals for two years and $3 million, plus incentives.  Reyes was mostly used as a situational lefty during his time with the Twins, and he’s been a very good one at that.  The Cardinals had one of the worst bullpens in the league last season (or so I’ve been told), and this signing gives them some much-needed depth at a reasonable price.  He isn’t going to solve all their problems, though, since he tends to be shaky against righties and probably wouldn’t make a good closer.  

  • Wild defeat Sharks in OT, 4-3

This game is worth
mentioning because it is going to go down as one of the greatest in
franchise history.  The Wild were down 3-0 in the middle of the second
period, after playing so terribly throughout the first.  It looked as
though they were going to lose their fifth straight game and fall
completely out of the Western Conference playoff picture.  I was about
to change the channel when captain Mikko Koivu deflected a shot into the net for the first goal, which ignited the unbelievable rally.  Minutes later, defenseman Kim Johnsson found Pierre-Marc Bouchard all alone a the blue line, and he beat Brian Boucher over the shoulder for the second Wild goal.  There was no stopping the Wild after that, as they kept pressuring the Sharks until they finally gave in.

Of course, Boucher inadvertently helped them out with some sloppy goaltending (and bad ice):

Zidlicky was simply trying to clear the puck into the offensive zone and head off to the bench for a change.  He had no idea he’d scored until he saw his goal on the jumbotron.  I doubt the Wild would’ve been able to stage such a comeback if Evgeni Nabokov were between the pipes, but I don’t care.  This team hasn’t won a game since they beat the Blackhawks on Feburary 22nd at United Center.  I will take a win of any kind at this point.

The Captain saved the best for last, though, when he scored the game-winning goal with a mere 20 seconds left in overtime:

http://wild.nhl.tv/team/embed.jsp?hlg=20082009,2,963&event=S.J816

Yep, that’s about how I reacted, too.

The Wild are now one point away from making the playoffs, with about 19 games left to play.  I still don’t think they’re going to make it, but I’ll be happy if they just finish the season with a winning record.

2-0, Baby!!!

That’s right, the Twins are now perfect in meaningless games against opponent’s B-squads.   Today’s game against the Reds wasn’t broadcast anywhere, but it sounds like our guys played well.  The offense came to life, scoring 10 runs, and the pitching (with one exception) was stellar.  Okay, let’s just start the regular season right now, I don’t want to wait anymore!

Here’s the important stuff:

  • That’s no way to earn a spot in the bullpen, young man

humber.jpgPhilip Humber gave up four runs on four hits in his one inning of work, and plunked a guy on top of it.  None of these hits left the park, but this still isn’t very good news for someone who is competing for Boof Bonser’s former job.  Or wait, maybe it is.  Anyway, he hasn’t completely blown his audition yet.  Jason Jones didn’t inspire much confidence yesterday, though he didn’t give up as many runs.  R. A. Dickey, who’s also in the mix, pitched a scoreless inning against the Reds today, striking out three and giving up one hit.  By the way, if you’ve ever wondered how to throw a knuckleball, Dickey gives an instructional here.

  • The rest of the bullpen was just fine, though

Matt Guerrier put up a zero in his single inning of work.  I don’t know if he looked very sharp,matty_g.jpg but I’m going to guess that he was pretty good since he didn’t give up any hits or walks.  Craig Breslow also pitched a scoreless fourth, with one strikeout.  Jose Mijares is starting to look like he’s the real deal, pitching one scoreless frame and striking out two while walking one. 

Also noteworthy is the performance of two of the Twins’ most intriguing pitching prospects:  Anthony Swarzak and Armando Gabino.  Swarzak pitched a scoreless eighth, while striking out one.  He will most likely start the season in AAA, but should be first in line in case someone gets injured.  Gabino also pitched pretty well in the ninth, though he did give up a walk.  He’ll probably advance to AAA this year.

  • There’s the offense I was looking for

brian_buscher.jpgThe Twins had an offensive explosion this afternoon, tagging four different Reds pitchers with ten earned runs.  And these were not all bloop hits, either.  The Twins homered twice, one was a two-run shot by Brian Buscher, the other was a grand-salami by prospect Brock Peterson.  In all, eleven different players combined for ten runs on fourteen hits, though they only drew two walks,  And struck out six times, leaving nineteen men on base.  

I am not at all worried about what will happen to the Twins if Joe Crede turns out to be a bust because Brendan Harris and Brian Buscher have been tearing the cover off the ball so far. Both hadbrendan_harris.jpg very productive at-bats again in today’s game.  Buscher went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and Harris also went 2-for-3 with a double. However, it’s not just the spring training games that have sold me on the former third-base platoon partners.  Given how effective Buscher has been against righties (.297/.354/.411) and Harris against lefties(.295/.360/.440), the Twins will be just fine if they can utilize the two effectively.  Buscher is kind of a long shot to make the team now, with the signing of Crede, but if he keeps hitting like this the front office will have no choice (I prefer a deeper bench anyway, especially since there’s no need to carry more than 11 pitchers this season).

One of the Twins’ biggest question marks, Carlos Gomez, didn’t do anything. Instead, he went 0-3 in his first spring-training start and though he didn’t record a strikeout, he didn’t draw any walks, either. That is no way to earn a starting job, young man.

Yesterday, Glen Perkins pitched two scoreless innings and only gave up one hit.  Today, Nick Blackburn pitched two perfect innings.  I know this is a small sample size, and these are only spring training games, but it’s encouraging that the two most questionable members of the starting rotation are off to such a good start.  I would prefer to not have to worry about the starters this year. I have a feeling the bullpen is once again going to keep me from sleeping at night.

  • Boof Bonser’s agent isn’t very happy with the decision to delay surgery

Thumbnail image for boof.jpgBonser’s agent, Larry Reynolds, expressed frustration with the Twins’ organization and its handling of his client’s injuries.  He felt that surgery should have been performed much sooner, preferably right after the season was over.  This is not the first time the Twins have come under fire for their handling of a pitcher’s injury.  Armchair physicians everywhere were quick to question team doctors when they told Pat Neshek to put off surgery in favor of rehabilitation, and Neshek ended up having surgery anyway.

However, these two cases are very different.  The Twins knew that Neshek had a partially torn UCL, but felt that rehab would be a better option than surgery at that point.  Neshek got a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews (yes, that Dr. James Andrews), who agreed with the team doctors.  Neshek’s rehab was going really well until he started throwing off the mound, when he completely tore the ligament and was then forced to have surgery.  Whether or not Neshek should have had the surgery in the first place is certainly debatable, but at the time the partial tear in the ligament didn’t seem serious enough to require an operation.

Bonser, on the other hand, was much more difficult to diagnose.&n
bsp; He started having soreness in his throwing shoulder towards the end of the season, but an MRI and an X-ray failed to show anything serious.  The team doctors thought it was just tendinitis, and prescribed rest.  It wasn’t until Boof arrived at camp and started his throwing program that his problems started to resurface.  Even then, no structural damage showed up on a second MRI and so the team decided that exploratory surgery was necessary to diagnose the problem.   Unfortunately, the operation revealed partial tears in his labum and rotator cuff that will sideline him for the rest of the season.  In this case, the team probably did the right thing.  Unless a tear shows up during diagnostic testing, there is no reason to take such drastic measures.  It’s also possible that the injuries didn’t occur until after Bonser started throwing again (it would be very difficult to finish the season with a torn rotator cuff, after all). 

Even if the surgery had been performed right after the season was over, as Reynolds suggested, there’s no guarantee that Boof would be ready to pitch this season.  He would probably have to spend most of the season rehabbing his shoulder in AAA, not pitching out of the bullpen.  At least this way he should be ready by Opening Day of the 2010 season.

More Spring Training Notes: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

  • The bad news is…

boof.jpgThe Star Tribune is reporting that Boof Bonser is going to be out for the rest of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery today. Apparently doctors found a torn labrum and rotator cuff, which is odd since two different MRIs showed no structural damage.  More details will be released once a formal announcement is made.  This is a major setback for a guy who has the potential to be a dominant reliever (yes, you read that right).  Yes, Boof has had his problems, which I’ve documented here, but he does have that 96-mph heater.  And that nasty curve.  At least he did, we shall see how his arm recovers after the surgery.

Update:  It’s official, Bonser will be out for six months to eight months following surgery to repair a partially torn labrum and rotator cuff.  And the Twins have apparently ended their pursuit of Juan Cruz, so just ignore the paragraph below.  I guess you can’t have everything.

So where does this leave the bullpen?  Well, the Twins might step up their efforts to acquirejuan_cruz.jpg Juan Cruz in a sign-then-trade deal with the Diamondbacks.  Cruz would be a worthwhile investment anyway, even if the Twins had to sacrifice a draft pick by signing him as a free agent.  The farm system is pretty well stocked anyway, and they are going to receive a supplemental pick when Dennys Reyes signs with another team.  The hard-throwing righty is a strikeout machine, and he’s put up very good numbers everywhere he’s pitched. *sigh* They’ll probably go out and get Odalis Perez instead. 

Otherwise, it gives Philip Humber, R. A. Dickey and Jason Jones the chance to compete for the final spot.  Humber probably has the best stuff of the three and therefore has the best chance of earning the job.  Dickey is a knuckleballer, and although Ron Gardenhire has expressed a desire to have such a pitcher in the Dome, I would be extremely surprised to see Dickey make the active roster.  The catching staff doesn’t have much (if any) experience with knuckleballers, and have had trouble handling him.  Jason Jones is an interesting prospect who was plucked from the Yankees organization during the Rule V draft, but he isn’t quite major-league ready (the Yankees don’t seem very interested in him so he’ll probably remain a Twin even if he doesn’t make the team).  Jones is a soft-tossing righty who is supposed to be a control pitcher, but walks way too many batters to earn that designation.  He would benefit from more seasoning in the minor leagues, where the coaching staff works closely with young pitchers to develop pinpoint control. 

  • The good news is…

joe_mauer.jpgJoe Mauer took light batting practice yesterday and didn’t feel any pain in his back or abdominals afterwards.  And by ‘batting practice’ I mean he hit 25 balls off a tee.  Mauer’s recovery has been slow so far, but has been progressing steadily so it’s very likely that he’ll be ready for Opening Day.  This is obviously great news, since his bat is so valuable in the lineup.

By the way, the most unintentionally funny quote about Joe comes from his buddy, Justin Morneau. When asked about the prospect of the catcher being signed to a long-term deal, the other half of the M&M boys said: “I told Joe if he ever leaves me, I’ll never speak to him again.” 

The Twins play their first exhibition game tonight against the Red Sox, and Glen Perkins is supposed to start.  The lineups are posted here.  I’m not going to be able to see it, since I don’t have MLB.tv or the MLB Network, but I’ll get to listen to it on the radio.  Whatever, I’m just glad that baseball is back.

  • Get excited, Vikings fans

Your long search for a decent quarterback is finally over.  The Wilfs’ solution to the problem is to bring in…wait for it… Sage Rosenfels.  Yay.  Sadly, he probably would be the second-best QB in the division, behind the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers.  Unless of course, the Lions’ brain trust decides to do something crazy like draft Matthew Stafford or something. 

Enjoy your new football team, Los Angeles.

Somebody must really hate the Braves

Griffey.jpgIt’s not as though this is bad news for the Braves.  They don’t really have much use for Griffey in the first place.  Although he still hits well, he is a shell of his former Gold Gove-caliber self in the outfield.  The Mariners are a much better fit for the future hall-of-famer, since he can DH and won’t have to worry about playing left field every day.  But that’s not the issue.  The issue is that these premature leaks to the media make the Braves front office look like idiots, and Braves fans are understandably upset.  Nobody wants their favorite team to be a laughingstock, and that’s precisely what Atlanta has become in the past few months.  

It wouldn’t be so bad, except that this is the second time this season that someone leaked news that a player was going to sign with the Braves before a deal had been actually reached.  There was the whole Rafael Furcal fiasco earlier in the offseason, when GM Frank Wren actually publicly accused the shortstop and his agent of dirty dealings.  To make matters worse, former ace John Smoltz apparently hates the Braves now, too.  But, hey, at least they still have Tom Glavine.  And maybe Chipper will end up staying too.  Even after all of the unpleasantness.

Either someone within the organization is trying to make Frank Wren and John Schuerholz look bad, or someone from the Mets or Phillies organization is behind this. 

  • Stop torturing me!

This Juan Cruz thing isn’t going to happen.  I can’t imagine that Arizona would sign Cruz, onlyjuan_cruz.jpg to turn around and trade him to the Twins for some prospects.  Stop making me believe that the Twins might actually go out and get some quality relief help!

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just the money that prevents the Twins from signing Type A free agents such as Cruz.  It’s the fact that they also have to surrender a first-round draft pick to the FA’s former team that makes signing top-tier free agents unappealing.  For an organization that depends so heavily on its farm system, losing out on a draft pick to sign an expensive player that might not even work out in the first place is simply too much of a risk.         

Also, the Twins have either resumed contract talks or are very close to a deal with Joe Crede, depending on who you choose to believe (my money’s on the former, sorry La Velle).  I have expressed reservations about signing Crede before, but I will be happy if the Twins can get him for less than the $ 7 million he reportedly wants.  He will be right-handed power bat Twins fans have been dreaming of if he’s healthy.  But therein lies the rub: he hasn’t been healthy the past couple of seasons.  And the Twins have not exactly had the best of luck when it comes to acquiring a competent third baseman.  At least Crede is no Mike Lamb or Tony Batista, though.

Update:  The Star Tribune is reporting that Crede has agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million deal.  I am working on an entry about it right now, be patient.  I have other things to do besides blog.  Like look for a job.

  • Not good news

Boof Bonser his still experiencing pain in his throwing shoulder and is having an MRI on Monday.  He’s been shut down in the meantime.  Let’s hope it’s nothing more serious than tendinitis.  The Twins are going to need his arm in the bullpen, since they’re not going to sign Juan Cruz!!!

Bobby Korecky is the odd man out

  • Korecky is claimed off waivers by Arizona

bobby_korecky.jpgIn order to make room on the 40-man roster for Luis Ayala (who is now officially a Twin), Bobby Korecky was placed on waivers and subsequently claimed by the Diamondbacks.  It’s unfortunate that the Twins had to lose the right-handed reliever without getting anything in return, but obviously they were going to have to trade or release somebody to make room on the roster for Ayala.  Even after losing Korecky, the Twins are carrying an ungodly 12 pitchers on the active roster.  And they are still looking for bullpen help.

Other than a brief call-up last spring, Korecky has spent his entire career in the minor leagues.  He wasn’t terrible during his short stint in the bullpen last season, but he wasn’t exactly brilliant either, surrendering nine runs on nineteen hits in a mere sixteen relief appearances.  I realize Diamondbacks fans aren’t going to get excited about a thirty-year old career minor leaguer, but Korecky hasn’t had much of a chance to show what he can do, either. The Twins have always had a lot of bullpen depth, and there just isn’t a lot of room on the roster for a soft-tossing righty.  Instead, the guy who was thrown in as an afterthought in the Eric Milton trade spent most of last year as the closer for the Rochester Red Wings.  He was a pretty good one at that, posting a 2.91 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 5.28 FIP, and recorded 26 saves for the Twins’ AAA affiliate.  At least Wings fans are going to miss him, anyway.

On a more interesting note, Korecky was the first Twins pitcher to get a hit as the DH in an American League game since the rule was implemented in 1973.  He hit a single in the Twins’ twelve inning victory over the Texas Rangers on May 19, 2008 (and recorded his first major league win, too).

It was obvious with the signing of Ayala, and the fact that both Boof Bonser and Philip Humber are out of options, that Korecky had little chance of making the team out of spring training.  It’s unfortunate, too, as he does have the potential to be a decent middle reliever.  Hopefully he’ll find a permanent home with the Diamondbacks.

  • Speaking of Boof….

Apparently Bonser is still having problems with his shoulder.  He was supposed to start throwing today, but the inflammation in his shoulder still hasn’t subsided and Boof is adamant that he can’t pitch through the pain.  An MRI on the shoulder revealed no structural damage, so it looks like the chubby right-hander is suffering from a bad case of tendinitis.  The team doctors have decided to keep him on his throwing program for now, hoping that the problem will work itself out.  He is scheduled to throw again today, so we will see…  

  • The Twins are reportedly out of the running in the Joe Crede Sweepstakes

The Twins and third-baseman Joe Crede have apparently reached a stalemate in contract negotiations.  The front office refuses to accept Crede’s reportedly $7 million price tag, and Crede is refusing to accept a lesser deal.  If he does indeed want that much money, I think the Twins would be wise to pass on him at this point.  Although they could really use his bat in the lineup, his injury history is certainly cause for concern. I doubt Crede’s surgically-repaired back would hold up on the Dome’s rock-hard turf, so the Twins are probably better off sticking with the Harris/Buscher platoon for now. 

Besides, Justin Morneau doesn’t think the Twins need another third baseman.

  • The End of an Era

Touch and Go records is downsizing, according to Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune.   Given the current state of the economy, they’ve decided they can do without their distribution services and most of their staff in general.  This isn’t entirely unexpected news, since a lot of indie labels are struggling right now, but it makes me sad that the label that produced a lot of my favorite music growing up might shutter its doors completely by the end of the year.  

For those unfamiliar with the label, here is some of their best work: