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A word - one word - about Spring Training

It's Opening Day today, a day on which the thoughts of a nation turn to baseball.  Specifically, if you're in Minnesota: "How can it snow this much on Opening Day?  It's baseball season, dangit!"

Not everyone, however, has been paying particularly close attention to the goings-on down at Spring Training.  So below, I've summed up each player's spring effort in one word, in the hopes of answering the question: "What kind of spring did (player) have?"


Joe Mauer: Typical.  The Twins catcher hit .349, drew more walks than anybody but Justin Morneau, posted an OPS of 1.081, and generally indicated he's ready to begin the year.

Mike Redmond: Restful. Redmond played in only 12 games and batted only 32 times, careful of conserving as much gas in the tank as possible.

Justin Morneau: Worrying. The Twins slugger had an ugly second half last year, hitting .243 / .318 / .384 with only seven home runs, and his spring wasn't much better.  Morneau hit .200 / .283 / .319 in 60 AB, with only one home run.

Nick Punto: Abysmal.  Punto continued to show that he'd be as effective batting with a piano leg, managing more strikeouts (seven) than hits (six) in 48 at-bats, and ending the spring hitting .125.

Brendan Harris: Effective. Or, at least, better than Punto; Harris hit just .224 and struck out four times as often as he walked (12-3), but compared to Punto, this looks like All-Star material.

Adam Everett: Expected.  The Twins knew what they were getting with their new shortstop: marginal hitting (.268, or 11-for-41), and good fielding (only one error in 49 chances.) He also acquired a nickname ("Killer") from Mike Redmond, always an important part of the spring for any new Twin.

Mike Lamb: Sarcastic.  Burnished his reputation as the Twin with the driest sense of humor (upon being asked what Everett's nickname with the Astros was, Lamb said, "I think it was 'Adam.'") and also managed to hit .372, though he made a couple of errors at third base.

Matt Tolbert: Big-league. The Twins loved his approach to the game; as Ron Gardenhire said, "There's nobody who is going to outwork that young man."  Combine that with his .289 average (and Brian Buscher's .143 mark), and Tolbert is your new backup infielder.

Delmon Young: Workmanlike. Young hit .286 / .299 / .413, and though he struck out too much (12 times in a team-leading 63 AB), he hit a couple of home runs and showed he was ready to be part of the every-day Twins lineup.

Jason Kubel: Kubel-esque. He has promise (two home runs in 52 AB) and downside (he hit just .231).  As always with Kubel: who knows what he'll do?

Carlos Gomez: Exciting. He hits homers, he steals bases (ten in 11 attempts!), he gets bunt singles, he runs into the wall catching fly balls in meaningless games, his accent kind of makes him sound like Marlon Brando in The Godfather - what's not to like about this kid?

Craig Monroe: Kubel-esque. You wondered if either Monroe or Kubel would separate himself and effectively decide the DH spot during the spring; Kubel didn't, nor did Monroe (.265, 8/2 K/BB ratio, but two home runs.)

Michael Cuddyer: Forgotten. While Gomez wowed in center and Young, Kubel, and Monroe competed in left, Cuddyer quietly hit .339 in right, leading the team in doubles and RBI during the spring.


Livan Hernandez: Pointless. He got knocked around (1.50 WHIP, 6.38 ERA) and his spring highlight involved kicking the ball to first - but everybody knew he'd be in the rotation come Opening Day anyway.

Boof Bonser: Comfortable. Bonser sweated less this spring, thanks partially to offseason weight loss and partially to being virtually guaranteed to be in the rotation.  Ended up with a 1.28 WHIP and a 3.86 ERA, in just 14 innings.

Nick Blackburn: Successful. Blackburn allowed just 15 baserunners in 16 innings, posted a 2.25 ERA, and consequently made the rotation.

Kevin Slowey: Active.  Slowey threw 23.2 innings and started six times (only Hernandez, at 24 IP in six starts, had him beat), and was given every chance to make the team. He ended up giving up enough runs to post a 4.94 ERA, but also led the team with 25 strikeouts, and was solid enough to keep a spot in the rotation.

Scott Baker: Sick. Baker caught the Flu of Death and ended up throwing just four innings in the entire spring.  He's on the Opening Day roster, but will have to prove he can go more than fifteen minutes at a time without throwing up to actually get into a game.

Brian Bass: Lucky. The Twins decided Phillip Humber needed more time in AAA, they decided Francisco Liriano needed a couple more starts in the minors, and Glen Perkins couldn't get the baseball past anybody - and suddenly, Bass (2.76 ERA in 16.1 IP) was on the team.

Joe Nathan: Mid-season.  Nathan threw 12 innings, struck out 15 batters, allowed less than a baserunner per inning, and gave up only two runs.  He's ready to go.

Pat Neshek: Dominant. 11 IP, two hits, zero walks, zero runs given up, nine strikeouts.  Yeesh.

Dennys Reyes: Festive. Reyes pitched one inning in ten games, blew a save, gave up twelve hits but only three runs - in other words, an entertaining but solid spring.

Matt Guerrier: Middle-relief. Bad WHIP (1.78, 12 H and 4 BB in 9 IP) and bad ERA (5 ER), but that's probably what you can expect from a middle reliever in the spring.

Jesse Crain: Returning. After a lost year last season, Crain came back with a decent-if-shortened spring, allowing three runs in seven innings of work.

Juan Rincon: Middling. Too many walks (six, along with six strikeouts) in ten innings, but four earned runs in ten innings isn't an awful spring.