This morning, Francisco Liriano tried to bare-hand a comebacker, at which Rick Anderson and Tony Oliva shouted "No, Frankie!" He could have jammed a finger, but he didn't. Joe Mauer was taking a little time at first base. Ryan Doumit was in the outfield. Joel Zumaya felt "something" in his arm yesterday. None of these things are particularly surprising.
This morning's question is: what would surprise you? At the end of March, what storylines could you see that would make you raise your eyebrows? Here are five of mine.
Joel Zumaya makes the team
I think all of us hoped he would. I'm not sure how many of us expected he would. And after what happened yesterday it would surprise me to see him healthy enough, and for him to have garnered enough trust from the coaching staff, to make the trip north.
Sean Burroughs makes the team
It'd be such a great story if he did, if if he does it also means that Luke Hughes or Tsuyoshi Nishioka are beginning the year in Rochester. Or that someone else was hurt seriously enough to miss time. Hughes is out of options, so sending him to triple-A may not be a chance the Twins are willing to take, and to get Burroughs on the roster at all someone would need to be removed from the 40-man roster. Of any of the non-roster invitees he seems the most likely to be given a real shot, but a few things would need to happen first.
Justin Morneau is the everyday first baseman
Yes, this would surpirse me. Don't get me wrong, this is exactly what I would like to see happen. And it's plausible that he plays quite a bit of first base while also being the team's designated hitter two, three, or four times a week depending on how he feels. But everyday? That's be a surprise. A good one.
The Twins don't take three catchers
We've been told that Rene Rivera is still in the mix for the third catcher spot, but he's not on the 40-man roster. J.R. Towles is also in the mix (this guy has actually hit .295/.394/.465 in his minor league career...how is he so terrible in the majors?), but of course he's not on the 40-man either. Drew Butera is. If the Twins go with a five-man bench (and as a result, an eleven-man pitching staff) this would seem more feasible, considering the potential versitility of the bench options, but with a traditional four-man bench this would be a huge surprise. Still, we know how Gardenhire doesn't like to gamble with losing a catcher. And considering how much we hear about Doumit being the team's designated hitter, the team will likely carry Butera, Rivera, or Towles north.
The Twins sign another player
This could be on the pitching end, be it a reliever to take the pressure off of the unknowns in case Zumaya can't pitch or a starter. It could also be on the position player side. Here I'm primarily thinking first base. If the Twins find out early that Morneau won't be able to play as much first base as they think they'll need him to, could they bring in Derrek Lee? Ross Gload and Xavier Nady are both this availably, but they don't seem to have the same chance at being as productive as Lee could be.