Another beautiful day in Fort Myers, Florida, it was 73 when I got up this morning and it was a sunny albeit muggy 81 degrees when I left the ballpark to go home to hit the swimming pool. No day is complete without me making some comment about the Twins star import from Japan. In the picture above you see Tsuyoshi Nishioka and his interpreter Ryo Shinkawa trying to get back into the Twins minor league complex workout facility after a half hour or so of easy jogging on one of the practice fields. As is normal, it was just Nishioka, Shinkawa and his personal trainer. Nishioka continues to work out on his own most of the time, you just never see him with his teammates until spring training officially begins. Star Tribune reporter extraordinaire La Velle E. Neal III had a quick interview with Nishioka and we asked La Velle what Nishioka had to say, La Velle laughed and said that Nishioka told him “that he doesn’t see himself in a utility role”. That is funny, I don’t either and maybe that is why no one is answering the door when Nishioka and Shinkawa pound on the door to be let in. Maybe the Twins are hoping he just goes away. Last year Nishioka was driving a big black Escalade SUV, this year he is driving a shiny white Porsche that you can see in the pictures that I took today along with the rest of my 2012 spring training pictures.
I didn’t see any pitchers doing any throwing today, maybe they are all saving themselves for this week-end when they need to officially report for training camp. The number of players working out continues to grow every day but I still see no sign of Justin Morneau who in past years (not in 2011) was always an early arrival in Fort Myers. I also have not seen Jamey Carroll, Danny Valencia, Denard Span, Josh Willingham, Ben Revere, Carl Pavano or Gardy for that matter. I am sure we will see the many of them on Monday.
One guy I really like is catcher JR Towles. The man is working his butt off out there very day, you never see him standing around chatting, he is always doing something. The last couple of times I have been out here I have seen him fielding grounders at 1B, 3B and shagging flys in the outfield. I really hope that the Twins give this guy a legit shot to make this Twins team as a back-up catcher.
Let’s see what else happened today? Oh, I had a foul ball hit to me, actually it rolled up to where I was standing. The ball was stamped ”official minor league baseball” and I had no use for it so I gave it to a youngster that really enjoyed getting a baseball. The ball put a smile on his face and that little boys smile made my day. I sure hope that stamp on the ball that said “official minor league baseball” is not a sign of things to come for the Minnesota Twins this year. And so another day at the ballpark is in the books.