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State of Play: Monday, January 30

Here's what's making Twins news over the past few days:

  • Joe Mauer and Denard Span both say they feel great. This comes on the heels of Justin Morneau talking about how great he feels. If The Black Knight had been a baseball player, he wouldn't have claimed it was just a flesh wound or shouted about how he was invincible; he would have just talked about how good he felt and how he's changed his workout / diet / treatment plan and is pretty confident that he can have a good year.
  • The Twins will retire Tom Kelly's #10. I hope that Kelly gets to give one of his famous mumbly interviews at the ceremony. And that the ceremony is hosted by Dick Bremer so that Kelly can call him "Richard" for no real reason again. And that Kelly will re-enact the time he had to go out to left field and yell at a nearly all-student Metrodome crowd to quit throwing things at Chuck Knoblauch.
  • Your Opening Day starter is Carl Pavano, assuming he doesn't get hit by lightning due to the jinx of naming an Opening Day starter before winter is half over. Thankfully, Trevor Plouffe will not be your Opening Day shortstop, which makes it much less likely that Pavano murders an infielder for playing awful defense. The righthander depends on the defense for outs, not on strikeouts, and with the comical infield defense the team put on the field last year, Pavano spent most of the year stalking around behind the mound and looking for all the world like a man who wished he could stab a shortstop to death.
  • Ben Revere is trying to improve his arm strength. Apparently, this year he'll be ditching his old throwing method, which involved dribbling the ball to the cutoff man on the fourteenth hop, and then turning his back and pretending that the wind was in his face.
  • Ryan Doumit says that he's a dead-pull hitter. I'm looking forward to seeing Doumit clash with the coaching staff, battle to hit the ball the other way, ride the pine because he won't accept the organization's word as gospel, get frustrated, go to Boston, and hit eleven million home runs for the Red Sox.
  • In winter ball news, Francisco Liriano made a couple starts in the Dominican series. In Game 4, he actually pitched very well, going four innings and allowing just one unearned run on two hits, while striking out five and walking two. Liriano also started Game 8 of the series yesterday, a potential clincher for Leones del Escogido. He pitched 3.2 innings, but gave up five runs (three earned) on six hits, including two home runs, and took the loss. But he struck out four and only walked one. So it's still hit or miss for the lefthander, who's 0-4 in the Dominican playoffs.
  • In other winter ball news, Alexi Casilla is back from the Dominican, where he was a raging success. Let's hope - let's cross our fingers - that this translates back to the majors.