I was lucky enough to spend a couple of hours at Hammond Stadium this morning as the Twins pitchers and catchers continue going through their paces and prepare for the season ahead. I spent some time watching coach Terry Steinbach work with a bevy of catchers as they spent time practicing the “pitch out” and how best to get into the proper throwing position to get that runner before he reaches the next base. There was no goofing off, the players listened to every word and when Steinbach’s expectations were not met he wasted no time stopping the drill and pointing out the issue and how to correct it.
The hitters don’t report for a couple of days but the injuries and medical issues have already started. Jason Bartlett who is fighting to make the team sprained an ankle the other day that has slowed him down but he seems to be fighting through it. Matt Guerrier is coming off surgery and the team is limiting him on what he can throw and it sounds like he might not be game ready until the second week of March. Darin Mastroianni‘s ankle still is not 100% and he is not participating in any early drills but he told me the other day that he hopes to be ready to go in about 2 weeks. Pedro Florimon had an appendectomy earlier this week so he will be on the sidelines for 2-3 weeks. Minor league pitcher and spring training invitee Edgar Ibarra has been sidelined with Hepatitis B and is not participating in any drills until he recovers and of course we all know about the struggles GM Terry Ryan is fighting through.
I had a chance to spend a few minutes with Max Kepler today and he is looking good and enjoying everything about early spring training and is anxious for the hitters to report and for spring training to get officially underway. Sounds like Max is going to focus on the outfield more this year now that his arm injury is behind him. I was able to ask him a couple of questions and you can listen to them here.-
The improvements to the ballpark itself, primarily the new concourse that encircles the stadium is going gangbusters and by all reports it will be finished soon. When I first saw it earlier this month I thought they had no chance of getting it done in time for ST games. It still in not open to the public and workers are still busy with the finishing touches but it will be a very nice addition to the ballpark. The new agility field on what used to be part of the parking area is also nearing completion but I still don’t know what an agility field is. To me it looks like a fenced in pile of dirt with sod on it. But what do I know.
The complex is starting to get cleaned up a bit from all the construction debris and equipment and landscaping is taking place in various parts of the complex. It will be interesting to see how fans will react to the new parking lot that is located behind the softball fields and will either be a long walk to the ballpark or a shuttle ride. I wonder what the shuttles will be like?
What up with Anaheim owner Arte Moreno? He has a gold mine out there and he still isn’t happy. Sounds like he wants the right to develop 155 acres around Angel Stadium and he wants to pay $1 to lease the land for 66 years or he will start looking for a new stadium in another city. What a jerk, hope the city doesn’t let him get away with that crap. You can read more about this here.
I took a few more pictures today and will try to get them uploaded to the 2014 Spring Training Pictures link on the right hand side of the page as soon as I can.