Today was my first opportunity to observe all those pitchers and catchers since they started official workouts yesterday and I will tell you, there are a lot of guys out there fighting for a few open slots. Lots of pitchers were getting there throwing in and Joe Mauer was among the catchers on the receiving end. Nice to see Joe getting after it this early in camp, something he has not done for several years. There are so many pitchers out there that the Twins were even using Hammond Field as a workout area which is not something they do very often. It was nice to see Eddie Guardado out there as a spring training instructor. It was pretty much the normal stuff this morning with pitchers fielding practice taking place on several fields and some infield practice going on for some of the early reporting position players. Heck, even Tsuyoshi Nishioka was out there taking ground balls but he wasn’t getting the special attention he received from Gardy and TK last year. Last year there were so much Japanese press coverage they out numbered the Twins players, but this year, not hardly any at all.
I wandered over to the minor league fields where coaches Steve Liddle, Scott Ullger, Tommy Watkins, and Tom Kelly were doing some infield work with Jairo Perez, Nick Lockwood, Max Kepler, Steven Liddle and a couple of others. It was interesting to watch as TK gave some of the finer points of playing 1B to a young Max Kepler who is an outfielder by trade but has been learning to play 1B too. The Twins value flexibility and the more positions you can play, the better chance you have to move up in the Twins organization.
One of the things I noticed now that spring training is officially underway is that the barricades are a few feet further away from some of the practice fields than they have been in past years. The rosters that the Twins used to give away to the fans to track the players are now $1, but that money goes to the Twins Community Fund. Although I have not seen anything official as yet, the rumor has it that parking will now be $10 versus $5 for all Twins spring training games. Wow! with the price of gas shooting up, that is all we Twins fans need now is to pay double for parking from last year.
I have always liked and respected former Twin pitcher Jim Kaat and I follow his blog called Kaat’s Korner and I was both surprised and a bit disappointed that he said that he would be helping out his buddy and neighbor, Boston pitching coach Bob McClure of the Boston Red Sox at their spring training camp this year. I am not disappointed he is helping his friend, I am disappointed that it is those dang Red Sox he is helping when he could be lending a helping hand to his old team the Minnesota Twins. Come on over Jim, we could use your help.
I took some new pictures today that you can view by checking out my 2012 spring training pictures on the right side of the page.