Minnesota TwinsManager: Ron Gardenhire
Stadium: Target Field
2008 Record: 88-75 (2nd in AL Cent)
Team Page | Roster | Schedule
-- Buster Olney
HITTER TO WATCH:
Danny Valencia has a long swing and doesn't make enough contact, but he has power and plays a capable hot corner, so he could replace Joe Crede when the latter suffers his annual back injury.
PITCHER TO WATCH:
Lefty Jose Mijares struggled this spring but has the raw stuff to pitch in the seventh or eighth inning in more than just a specialist's role.
-- Keith Law, Scouts Inc.
How many games will the Twins win in 2009? Is Justin Morneau the best first baseman in the American League? Is Joe Nathan the top closer in the AL? Register your vote.
The Twins believe in Jason Kubel, and they gave him a huge contract. So you know he'll get the at-bats. If he can connect against lefties, he may have the breakout season that makes him worth every penny.
Injuries are always concerning, but even more so with a catcher, a position that lends itself to physical abuse. If Joe Mauer is healthy, he's among the catching elite. But will he be healthy? We'd rather not risk it.
INJURY TO WATCH
This ranks up there with the most unusual of baseball injuries. Then again, Joe Mauer has a history of complicated and unique injuries. Mauer underwent surgery last fall to address a kidney obstruction, with the hope that it would remove the back pain he had been experiencing late in the season. After some initial relief, the symptoms returned and prevented him from running at all this spring. Further testing revealed inflammation at Mauer's right sacroiliac joint (where the spine meets the pelvis). The finding in and of itself is highly unusual, especially in the absence of trauma, even more so following an offseason of rest and recuperation from surgery. The Twins insist that new medication should be enough to address the problem, but inflammation is generally a symptom, not a source, meaning the possibility of recurrence exists. Mauer will start the season on the disabled list, and the team has not issued a timetable for his return.
-- Stephania Bell
30 Questions: Is Francisco Liriano a fantasy ace?
PRESEASON POWER RANKINGS
No. 9 overall
No. 11 overall
No. 7 overall
No. 14 overall
No. 7 overall