The weather has been cool, wet and windy here in SW Florida since the calendar rolled over to 2016 but the last few days have been sunny and in the mid 70’s here and the population of Twins players and Twins wannabees is growing by the day. I stopped by the CenturyLink Sports Complex again yesterday and was surprised at how many players had already shown up and how many fans were out watching the players go through their paces.
The players that show up this early come and go, some show up every day and others show up now and then. Miguel Sano was out here on my first visit but I have not seen him the last two times I have been out here. Yesterday I saw Max Kepler for the first time this spring and he said that he just arrived the day before. I was shocked when I first saw Max because he was not the baby-faced player I had gotten used to seeing, he was sporting a beard and mustache or maybe I should say he was trying to grow a beard.
Byung-ho Park is working out every day but he does not seem to have the same crowd of press members following him like Tsuyoshi Nishioka did when he first signed with Minnesota. Park and Nishioka appear to have taken totally different approaches to their integration into the Twins organization, when Nishioka was here and working out prior to spring training he worked out on his own with his interpreter and seldom if ever joined the rest of the players. Parker is just the opposite, he works out with the rest of the players and he is willing to spend time with the fans signing autographs, something Nishioka didn’t seem to be real excited about. I don’t know if Park will make the team but in my eyes he is already way ahead of Nishioka when he joined the Twins and spring training hasn’t even officially started.
I continue to be amazed at how many fans mention how great the CenturyLink Sports Complex and the Minnesota Twins organization is as compared to the Boston Red Sox and JetBlue Park, their spring training home. The Twins allow their fans to wander all over the grounds and inter-act with the players and the Red Sox are all about security and limit access to everything and everybody. It is not just the fans that have this opinion, it is members of the local press here also.
Pitchers and catchers report this week-end, I can’t wait. The Twins were much improved in 2015 so you would think that there would be fewer questions and fewer roster spots up for grabs this year but I don’t think that is the case and it all revolves around Miguel Sano. Can Sano play right field? If not, all kinds of options can come into play. I have all kinds of questions. Is Byung Ho Park ready for MLB? What if Byron Buxton does not win the CF spot? Do you buy he has to prove the job belongs to him or does he have to prove he can’t handle it? What about the bullpen? Are the Twins still looking for a proven left reliever? Is Glen Perkins healthy? Are Oswaldo Arcia, Danny Santana, and Kennys Vargas still in the Twins plans? Max Kepler and Adam Walker are coming fast, will they start to call Minneapolis home this summer? When will Jose Berrios join the Twins starting rotation? Did the Twins make a good move in giving up Aaron Hicks? So many questions and so little time to get them answered, you can bet that Twins spring training this year will be one of the most exiting ever.
When I was out at the ballpark I once again took some pictures that you view in the 2016 Spring Training pictures link on the right hand side of the page. I hope you enjoy them.