Ladies and gentlemen, we have liftoff. The Twins have started their first week solidly, going 2-2 in their first four games and being competitive in all of them. It is unfortunate that Cole De Vries is already on the DL, however, especially after the medical staff was so sure that his forearm strain was minor. That means that we will get to see Pedro Hernandez on Sunday, the other half of the return from the Francisco Liriano trade. All you really need to know about him is that he's a soft-tossing, control lefty.
You may remember from last season that I was keeping track of Brian Dozier and the evolution of his batting stance. It was pretty clear that he wasn't comfortable at the plate, and he kept trying to find his rhythm to no avail. This season, he has once again changed his stance, and he's revamped it in a way that's completely different from anything he did last year.
Here's Dozier from his two-run triple from yesterday's game. First, he holds the bat up high, similar to Jhonny Peralta. Second, right before the pitcher delivers the pitch, Dozier brings his bat down to his shoulder, perhaps as a timing mechanism in his swing. Finally, he's at his hitting position as the pitch comes to the plate.
It's too early to tell if this new swing has helped Dozier, but we likely will have an idea once this month is over. Oh, and if you wanted to see the old collection of stances with this new one (I'm going to use the middle panel above)...
- I feel very fortunate that April Fool's Day occurred over my school's spring break, because I easily could have seen some of my students playing pranks on me. A.J. Burnett wasn't so fortunate, although I'm sure this was more a case of bad luck than someone playing a prank on him. In his Opening Day start against the Chicago Cubs, Burnett reached down to grab the rosin bag, only to have it burst in his hand and shower him with rosin (video is below). Almost makes you want to scream "April Fool's!" in his face, right?
- Over the past few years, we had been treated (?) to Brian Wilson and his crazy-big, obviously dyed black beard. However, Wilson is without a team this year after having Tommy John surgery last year and his former team, the Giants, failed to tender him a contract. Do not be disappointed, though, as Wilson has apparently passed the torch on to Josh Reddick to become this year's Beardo Weirdo. Behold.
- We're all aware of Anthony Swarzak's "roughhousing" incident that occurred over TwinsFest which resulted in a broken rib. Well, if you're going to be out for one thing, you might as well get everything fixed up, and that's exactly what Swarzak did, getting four wisdom teeth removed on Wednesday. You say, "Pics or it didn't happen"? Well, your desired pic of the great Sasquatch Hunter is below.
I wonder, if Swarzak is now missing his wisdom teeth, will he start believing that other things exist as well, such as the tooth fairy, Santa, and Sid Hartman knowing how to use a digital recording device?
- Finally, I'm a big fan of Jeff Sullivan's work ever since he joined FanGraphs, as he always looks at the questions people aren't necessarily asking, but are interesting anyway. For example, during the offseason he did an entire series on the extremes of home runs hit, such as on the fastest pitch, slowest pitch, highest, lowest, etc. He continues that trend with what appears to be a weekly feature, and that is what he dubs "The Worst of the Best." He will have two articles every week that focus on the worst pitches and the worst swings, determined by those pitches that were furthest from the center of the strike zone, and the swings that were at pitches furthest from the strike zone, respectively. Rumor has it that Sullivan was also considering a fielding post, but scrapped it after realizing that Pedro Florimon was going to occupy four out of the top five spots.