By Joe Christensen
I’m cranking out copy for our season preview section today, as the Twins take their lone off day of the spring, but wanted to give you a few leftover thoughts from the past week:
(*) Brendan Harris is batting .176 with a .222 on-base percentage. I think second base would be his if he would start hitting. Nick Punto is batting .172 with a .250 OBP. Time for somebody to step up over the next week.
(*) I wrote for last Sunday about the gamble the Twins are taking on Mike Lamb at third base, noting the career fielding percentages at third base for Nick Punto (.968), Michael Cuddyer (.941) and Lamb (.923). But I should note here that Lamb has impressed me defensively this spring. He has decent hands and seems to catch the balls he gets to.
(*) Joe Nathan’s agent, Dave Pepe, is in Fort Myers, and we’re keeping our ears open for any news about a possible contract extension. The guess here is we’ll have a pretty good idea by week’s end whether Nathan will be a Twin beyond 2008 or whether he’ll become one of the top names to watch on the trade market.
(*) Nathan, by the way, is dominating hitters again this spring, with a 1.50 ERA and nine strikeouts in six innings. And then there’s Pat Neshek’s spring line: 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K. Matt Guerrier (6.43 ERA) and Juan Rincon (4.50 ERA) have struggled a bit, but Neshek and Nathan have the back of the bullpen looking very strong.
(*) Always interesting to read a national expert’s take on the Twins after they pay a visit to Fort Myers. Peter Gammons was in camp recently and was immediately drawn to Delmon Young, later noting that Harris will start at second base with Punto serving as the utility infielder.
(*) Finally, we have launched our Twins video player card series, with Joe Mauer and Mike Lamb. Be sure to check them out. And the reason I especially liked our Haiku video is it gave a fun glimpse at some of these guys’ personalities that goes beyond what people see in standard interviews.
UPDATE: Scott Baker threw a 12-minute bullpen session today with no problem and should be ready to pitch in a game again soon. He had been out since March 8, with a strained right lat muscle and the flu.